The 2014 European Championship starts on Friday with the first round in Regensburg, Germany and Ostrava, Czech Republic. 12 national teams will battle for the crown in European Baseball. Italy is the defending champion, having won the tournaments in Germany in 2010 and in the Netherlands in 2012. The Dutch team, record title holder, however wants to change that and is eager to return to the top.
Germany, France, Spain and the Czech Republic hope to crack the top two and hope for the surprise, while also trying to remain in the race for the second round. This is the goal for all teams including Great Britain, Russia, Greece, Croatia and Belgium. Nonetheless, only the best three teams from each pool advance to the final round, which will be played in Brno. The rest has to settle for the consolation phase in Trebic and Blansko (all three in the Czech Republic).
Group A: Italy, Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, Great Britain
Group B: Netherlands, Czech Republic, Spain, Greece, Croatia, Russia
The number of European prospects playing in professional leagues in North America and Asia is on an all-time high. The majority got approval to play in the 2014 European Championship with the exception of the still active Major Leaguers. With that this year’s tournament in Germany and in the Czech Republic is probably going to be the strongest in event history.
Baseball fans not being able to go directly to the games, still will be able to follow the tournament. All games will be available through live play by play on www.baseballstats.eu. Additionally all games of the first round in Regensburg will be broadcasted online with five cameras at www.baseball-em.de by Legionaere TV. All games of the Czech Republic will be on Czech TV. RAI is going to show Italian games from the second round. Dutch television is scheduled to show games of the Netherlands on the final weekend in Brno, if the heavy favorite advances that far.
Official Tournament Website
Official Facebook Account of the Confederation of European Baseball
Official Twitter Account of the Confederation of European Baseball (#eurobaseball14)
Photo by Walter Keller