Category: Europe

Stockholm and Leksand to Finals

Opening pitch in the Swedish semi-finals 2014, Stockholm vs Sövlesborg

Opening pitch in the Swedish semi-finals 2014, Stockholm vs Sövlesborg

Stockholm and Leksand won their respective Swedish Baseball Elite Division semi-finals last weekend. But while Leksand easily finished off Sundbyberg, Stockholm just narrowly came out ahead of Sölvesborg in the best-of-three series.

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Stockholm Hosts European Cup Qualifier

Magnus Pilegård leads off for Stockholm

This week Stockholm is hosting a qualifying tournament for the 2014 European Cup. Besides the Swedish champs, the other teams taking part are from Moscow, Vilnius, and Bern:

Opening Day saw Moscow drubbing Bern 12-1, while Stockholm defeated Vilnius 6-1.

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Stockholm Still Undefeated after Weird Weekend


Defending champs Stockholm remain undefeated after the second weekend of the 2014 Swedish baseball season. Stockholm easily defeated Göteborg in both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader, 10-0 and 11-2.

Game 1 was a truly weird experience after Göteborg took out starting pitcher Jason Norderum in the fourth inning, after he had held Stockholm to just 1 unearned run and no hits. His replacement, losing pitcher Mathias Johansson, had an interesting variety of arm angles, but was extremely wild.

How often does one see a batter hit by a pitch TWICE in the same at-bat? Stockholm’s Matt Merrifield was hit by a pitch from Johansson, but the umpire ruled that Merrifield had either not done enough to get out of the way, or actually put himself in the way of the ball. Two pitches later Merrifield was hit again, and that time was awarded first base.

Merrifield was then hit again by a pitch on his next at-bat.

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Goodbye ESPN America, but why did you erase my recordings?

WBC 2013 tickets (edited)

After Christmas I prepared for the 2014 MLB season by watching my recordings from the 2013 World Baseball Classic. This was fun, following the progress of the Netherlands to the semi-finals….but about a week ago I discovered that all of my recordings had been deleted.

This my iptv supplier Telia apparently did because the recordings were from ESPN America, which no longer exists. Why the disappearance of the channel should result in deleting recording files on a harddisk they do not explain, except to say they can’t actively access my harddisk and erase files.

Yet that’s what they did.

ESPN America apparently pulled the plug on August 1, 2013. I didn’t even notice, which perhaps just shows that the channel itself no longer filled a role, at least for baseball fans.

Major League Baseball arrived on European TV screens in 1997 when Britain’s Channel Five started broadcasting the ESPN Sunday Night game live, in the early hours of Monday mornings European time. To explain the game to viewers more familiar with cricket they offered a pair of entertaining and knowledgeable hosts, who introduced the programs and talked during the America commercials.
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Stockholm Clinches First Place

Stockholm clinched first place in the Swedish Elite Division for 2013 by taking an away doubleheader from second place Karlskoga Saturday. But it wasn’t just that they won, it was the way they totally overpowered (demolished) last year’s champions, at their diamond.

Stockholm took the first game 14-1, called in eight innings because of the mercy rule.

Game 2 was called after 5 innings, with Stockholm ahead 22-0.

Stockholm has won the Swedish Championships two out of the past three years, but Karlskoga is no pushover. They won last year’s championships, and at the beginning of the day Saturday were just one half game behind Stockholm in the standings.

This coming Saturday Stockholm plays two games against fifth place Alby, games which are less than vital as Stockholm now has a 2.5 game lead over second place Karlskoga. But Saturday’s other doubleheader is very important for Karlskoga and their opponents Leksand, as Leksand is just a half game behind Karlskoga and the outcome of those games will determine who finishes in second and third place.

The top four teams go on to the play-offs. Sundbyberg is in fourth place currently and plays two games against last place Göteborg on Saturday. Should Leksand lose two, and Sundbyberg win two, they might switch places in the final standings.

Even if the four teams in the play-offs are already determined, the final standings are important, because they determine home field advantage in the play-offs (which open on August 24)

Why no baseball in the IHT?

Where is the baseball coverage in the “International Herald Tribune”, which is supposed to be the newspaper for Americans abroad?

We’ve been subscribing to the IHT ever since we arrived in Strasbourg eight months ago. We didn’t subscribe in Sweden because: 1) We subscribed to Swedish newspapers, 2) the IHT was not home delivered there, but arrived a day late in the mail, and 3) I could read it at work (although I usually didn’t).

It’s been a good paper, but I ‘ve noticed there’s been very little coverage of baseball as Spring Training ends and the new season begins.

This is a weird transition, as the last Spring Training games were played yesterday, but the 2012 regular season actually started last week when the A’s and Mariners split two games in Tokyo.  The morning after that second game I checked the IHT sports section. Not a word about baseball. It might have been too late for the second game (which I had watched live via about 20 hours previously), but there was plenty of time to report

on the first game of the season. Yet, not only no article, no box score or even standings.

Instead there was major coverage of European soccer and rugby (the one sop to American sports was an article about March Madness basketball).

The IHT has always been the daily for Americans in Europe, ex-pats, tourists, and business travellers. If you care about soccer, you can buy a British newspaper. Even today, with Spring Training just ending, not a word about baseball, but an entire page devoted to soccer, rugby, and a bit about golf.

One hopes when the MLB season resumes now the IHT will remember who it is writing for.