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British baseball

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British baseball

Baseball used in an international match between Wales and England in 2006

British baseball, sometimes called Welsh baseball, or in the areas where it is popular simply baseball, is a bat-and-ball game played primarily in Wales and England. It is closely related to the game of rounders, and indeed emerged as a distinct sport when governing bodies in Wales and England agreed to change the name of the game from "rounders" in 1892. As a traditional bat-and-ball game, its roots go back much further, and literary references to baseball and rounders date back many centuries.

Differences between the British and North American games

The sport differs in a number of ways from the internationally known game of baseball.

  • Delivery of the ball – The ball is thrown underarm. As in cricket the delivery is known as bowling. In baseball it is delivered overhand, sidearm, or underarm and is called pitching.
  • Number of players – There are 11 players in a team with no substitutions allowed. Baseball is played by nine players at a time, and while substitutions are allowed, a player who leaves the game may not re-enter it.
  • Number of innings – (Note that British baseball uses the cricket terminology of "innings" as both singular and plural, while baseball uses "inning" for the singular.) In British baseball, each team has 2 innings. An innings ends when all 11 players are either dismissed or stranded on base. A regulation game of baseball consists of 9 innings, and each team's half of an inning ends when 3 outs (dismissals) are recorded.
  • Bases – the bases are designated by poles rather than bags.
  • Bat – the bat has a flat striking surface, where in North American baseball it is entirely round.
  • Scoring system – In British baseball a player scores a run for every base he/she reaches after hitting the ball. He or she will not subsequently score when moving around the bases on another player's hit. The equivalent of a home run scores four runs. As in cricket a bonus run can be awarded for excessively-wide deliveries. In baseball, a player scores a run only on a successful circuit of all four bases, whether on his own or another player's hit, or by other means such as a walk or stolen base.
  • Field of play – The ball can be hit (and scored off) in any direction, where in North American baseball it has to be hit in the zone bounded by the lines to first base and third base.

Despite these similarities with cricket, the game is much more like baseball in style and operates on a near identical, but smaller, diamond. There are also many similarities to rounders, which is often considered a transitional game between cricket and baseball. The basic concepts of British baseball cross-blend the basic concepts of cricket and the more standard versions of rounders.

International Baseball Board

The international match between England and Wales in 2006
The English (EBA) team
The Welsh (WBU) team

The modern rules of British Baseball were codified in 1892, when the term 'rounders' ceased to be the sport's official name. During the same time, the South Wales Baseball Association was established to govern the sport which was popular in Cardiff and Newport.[1] The first recognised international match was held between England and Wales on 3 August 1908 at the Harlequins Ground in Cardiff, Wales winning 122 – 118.[2] Playing in the 1908 international were three former players from Cardiff RFC, the local rugby union club, one of whom, Viv Huzzey, was also a former Wales international and professional rugby league player.[3]

The International Baseball Board was founded in 1927 and is the international governing body. The only members are the English Baseball Association and the Welsh Baseball Union.

Men's representative teams from England and Wales still meet annually in an international match. The centenary international was also held in Cardiff in 2008 with Wales winning. As well as the full international, a similar game is held for 'B' teams and for juniors.

Popularity

The game has maintained a strong following only in two areas – Merseyside in Northwest England and South Wales, especially Cardiff and Newport.[4]

By 2006 participation levels in Liverpool had slumped considerably to a point where only four clubs remained active – All Saints, Anfield, Breckside and Townsend. The game in Wales is in a much healthier state and playing participation in the women's game has actually grown in recent years.

Ticket for a match at Cardiff Arms Park

Local league and cup competitions have been organised in both countries for many years and an annual international match between England and Wales has been held since 1908. A crowd of 10,000 watched the 1948 match played at the Cardiff Castle grounds. Internationals were also held at Cardiff Arms Park and Goodison Park, Liverpool. Crowds have declined in the last quarter of a century but the England-Wales match can still draw 1,000–2,000 spectators.

Particularly, the game is often played during physical education classes in high schools and primary schools, as it allows the inclusion of a high number of pupils at once, and can quickly and easily be played.

Notable players

Several players who became notable in other sports have played British baseball. In Wales, these include association football players Terry Yorath, Nathan Blake and Phil Dwyer, and rugby's Terry Holmes, Mark Ring, David Bishop,and Wigan Rugby League legend and record points scorer Jim Sullivan. In England, the most famous sportsman to have played British baseball was Everton and England football star Dixie Dean.

Among those who achieved fame as British baseball players were Welshman Ted Peterson MBE, whose international appearances stretched from the 1930s to 1960s, and Irish-born Richard Paddy Hennessey, renowned for his fast bowling.

In popular culture

The sport is the subject of a song, "The Baseball Song", by The Hennessys, from their album Cardiff After Dark.

Notes


-- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p
  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^

References

  • Martin Johnes, 'Baseball, class and community in south Wales, c.1880–1950', International Journal of the History of Sport, 17,4 (2000), 153–66.
  • John Arlott, ed. (1975). The Oxford Companion to Sports and Games. Oxford University Press
  • Andrew Hignell and Gwyn Prescott, eds (2007). Cardiff Sporting Greats. Stadia

External links

British Baseball

  • BBC Southeast Wales: Baseball
  • Welsh Ladies Baseball Union
  • Welsh Baseball Union
  • Welsh Baseball on the Web

Club websites

  • Grange Albion baseball club
  • St. Michael's Old Boys

Video

  • Guide to Baseball on YouTube Part 1
  • Guide to Baseball on YouTube Part 2
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