About two months ago you could read here that the future of the Euro League Baseball does not look as bad as you might think. Today the league confirmed this in a press release.
In the press release, ELB president Wim van den Hurk stated that the league will continue in 2017. Finally the Dutch Baseball Federation agrees on combination teams and individual teams to participate. The French federation and Czech federation are committed to send combination teams. The intention is to play the 2017 season with 6-8 teams: Munich-Haar Disciples, Regensburg Legionaere, Draci Brno, Amsterdam Baseball, team Prague and a team France. There are still talks ongoing with Rotterdam (with Neptunus as a back bone) and some Italian teams.
The winner of the 2017 ELB will receive the Gregory Hallman trophy. The familiy of the late Greg Hallman permitted the ELB to link Greg’s name to the cup. Greg Halman was a very talented Dutch player in the Mariners’ organization, whose career ended prematurely after he was killed.
In the press release Wim van den Hurk gives credit to the teams that continued to play in the ELB in the inaugural season. Due to the bumpy start because of the stubborn attitude of the CEB and the Dutch federation, companies that were interested to partner up with the league hesitated to join. With more clubs that will participate it may be easier for potential partners to make that decision to join the league financially.
Despite the positive news, there are still some bumps in the road.
The KNBSB (the Dutch Federation) wants the words Euro and League scratched from the name of the name of the ELB. Furthermore they want the games to have a status of exhibition games instead of a regular competition. According to co-founder Jan-Maarten Kops, a lot of talks will be needed to settle these issues as the founders do not like the idea of exhibition games.
Regarding the name change, there still is an issue with Major League Baseball. MLB has objected to the name ELB because it might be confusing. Talks about this issue are still going on.
And there is one major issue regarding the participating (Dutch) players. They want a guarantee that they can participate in the ELB without being excluded from the regular European Cups.
But nevertheless both parties have grown together, something that was unthinkable a few months ago.