Baseball! A game played and loved by millions of Americans!
It is a little known fact that an estimated 60 million people play baseball worldwide.
Dozens of countries around the world play the "All American Pastime" and are excelling at the sport. Here in New Zealand, one of the world's last major sporting countries to realise its passion for baseball, interest is rapidly swelling. Player numbers have grown from 600, five years ago, to be in excess of 6,000 throughout New Zealand in 2019. Christchurch is no exception!
The Canterbury Baseball Club was founded in 2004 with a baseball diamond constructed at Avonhead Park. It was the formation of the Eastside Cardinals in 2011, soon followed by the Southern Astros, in 2012, that prompted the Canterbury Baseball Association to be established in 2013. Since then, we have seen steady growth with the establisment of the Christchurch Redbirds (2016) and Selwyn Baseball (2017) clubs. Teams vie for diamond time, and victory, at Avonhead Park each Sunday in Senior grade as well as U11, U13, U16, U19, and Kiwi-ball grades.
We are striving to continue to develop the great game of baseball here in Canterbury. Plans are underway to develop more diamonds throughout the city to be able to cater for the growth we know is on the way. With Men's Baseball and Women's Softball recently being admitted back into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, we expect a renewed interest in diamond sports throughout the land.
Opportunities abound for our young people within the sport of baseball with the possibility of a college schollarship or even a professional career for the elite.
I look forward to fostering and encouraging the growth of the sport in Christchurch. With the help of Baseball New Zealand and the many dedicated local volunteers, we will develop Canterbury into one of the leading baseball development centres in New Zealand.
The redevelopment of the city after the 2010/11 earthquakes offers us the ideal opportunity to expand baseball throughout the city and surrounding regions.