As the coronavirus seems to be on its return, the baseball situation in the main European baseball countries is very different per country. In this blog post, I try to sum up the situation per country.
The VBSL (Flemish Baseball and Softball League) has announced that practice may take off on May 18 again under conditions that still need to be mentioned. From there, it is still two and a half months away until games may be played (August 1) under conditions that will be named later. Of course, it all depends on how the virus will develop.
Recently the Czech Baseball Association announced that the Extraliga season will start later this month. After a lot of insecurity and changing situations it was not clear for a long time when and if baseball could be played again. But now the date of May 22nd has been set.
Two days ago, the FFBS (Féderation Française Baseball et Softball) announced that the 2020 season is over before it even started. Even though contaminations and deaths are going down, the measures that are taken will be looked at per region. So it could very well be that for example in the region of Île de France (the region around Paris) clubs may get permission to play games again while in the area around La Rochelle measurements need to be upheld. In this way, it is not possible to play a proper competition.
Germany: Even though the website of the German Bundesliga Baseball states that games have been postponed until further notice, But news items state that sports matches with attendance will remain forbidden until the end of August. Playing games without fans is out of the question according to the DBV (German Baseball and Softball Federation) as the cost of playing games without fans are simply too high for many clubs.
Italy: In Italy, nothing is engraved in stone yet but there are steps into the direction of starting the baseball season. About three weeks ago, the FIBS (Italian Baseball and Softball Federation) and the SerieA1 clubs met in a video conference and decided to start the season on June 14, pending the development of the situation in Italy. Eventually, the start of the season will be pushed back to July 12.
Even though nothing is engraved in stone either, the situation for Dutch baseball looks rather gloomy. Two days ago, the Dutch government announced measures that prohibit games of contact sports until September first. The question is if baseball is a contact sport. In some cases it is. But even if it isn’t, it still is difficult to keep the required distance of 1.5 meters, especially at home plate where the batter, the catcher, and the umpire are cramped in a small space. So far the KNBSB (Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Federation) did not make a decision on canceling or postponing the season as it is trying to lobby to regard baseball as a non-contact sport. And perhaps, the federation is still puzzling on how to play a (short) season in a bit more than six weeks if September first will be the rule.