Baseball in Iran
Although there are many cities and villages in Iran that have been playing games similar to Baseball for more than 100 years, Baseball in its current international form first started its operation in the format of a committee under the management of Mr. Mohammad Bagher Zolfagharian in 1990. Three years later, through the efforts of Mr. Zolfagharian, Iran baseball committee expanded and became a federation.
After many trips, by people determined to expand baseball in Iran, to different regions of the country in search of talent and in an effort to establish teams, the first ever Baseball tournament was held in Kerman in 1996. Although this tournament was held with only three teams that existed at the time, it was the turning point in Iran baseball. After this tournament more teams were established and the number of teams and players grew. This national tournament was held every year since then until 4 years ago when it was replaced by National Club Championship League.
Along with the above mentioned tournament with the exception of a few years, another tournament was held in winter in the warmer southern region of the country featuring the top four teams of the national championship.
As it was mentioned, since 2010, when amateur baseball clubs were established in Iran, teams which were supported primarily by the government, established their own clubs and started competing in two conferences. The North conference consisting of 6 teams, and the South conference consisting of 5 teams. Every year clubs in each region compete with the top two teams of each region facing each other in playoffs.
Women Softball in Iran
During these years, Iran national baseball team has also been competing in Asian tournaments. Iran national team participated in Asia cup in India (1999), Dubai youth tournament (2001), Asia cup in Pakistan (2005 & 2012) and it has been able to win the silver medal in Dubai youth tournament in 2001 and the bronze medal in Asian cup in 2012. Iran national baseball team has also travelled to Georgia to play friendly games against Georgian national team.
Along with baseball, women softball started its operation in Iran in 2002 and it held its first national tournament in 2006 with 4 teams competing. The national softball tournament was held every year since then until 2012 when it was replaced by National Women Softball League Club Championship. Currently there are 12 softball teams competing in Iran with 5 more poised to join.
Although women Softball has not been as active outside Iran, they did participate in the Asian youth tournament held in Malaysia. Iran national softball team also invited Global Sports Softball team (a team consisting of former coaches and players in the U.S) for 3 friendly games and several softball clinics in 2007.
Iran Baseball and Softball New Management and its Goals
In mid-2013, Mr. Alireza Adib took over as the president of Iran Baseball and Softball. Since his appointment, Mr. Adib's focus has been on development of baseball in cities not familiar with this sport and also starting baseball in grass root levels. To do this, he has been negotiating with schools and university to convince them to add baseball to their sports curriculum with some success. Coaches have been sent to cities all around Iran to hold clinics and baseball exhibitions to introduce baseball to cities and even villages not previously exposed to this sport. Through his efforts, the first ever youth tournament will be held this year in Iran.
He has taken steps to find sponsors to insure a more cohesive league with increased number of games per year for our clubs and more international exposure for our Baseball and Softball teams.
The Problems We Are Facing and Invitation for Co operation
Unfortunately, the efforts to develop baseball and softball in Iran have been hindered due to the political climate and Iran's international trade limitations, in addition to lack of domestic production of baseball and softball equipment in Iran. Progress has been slow due to the fact that there is simply not enough equipment for the thousands of interested young boys and girls who we believe should be our main target. Therefore, we would like to ask for the International Baseball and Softball Federation's and other countries interested in developing baseball and softball in the region's co operation to solve this problem.
Although Iran has already built the only field specifically made for baseball in the region, we would like to welcome investors, interested in the development of baseball in the region to co operate with us in building more fields around the country. We believe Iran, based on its all year warm climate in the southern regions (virtually, no winter in the south) and it's mild weather in the north can be a great place to hold Asian tournaments along with our neighbor, Pakistan which at the moment is the only option for the games in the region.
We also extend an invitation to all countries with established baseball organizations to help us with their experience and expertise in the form of education, development, investment, etc. We are especially interested in help in establishing a professional league organization and we would welcome any help or advice from countries with established pro leagues.
Currently 11 cities in Iran have baseball teams with 8 more cities in the process of establishing a team.