Federation Focus: Baseball and softball strike deal to boost development in Costa Rica

Federation Focus: Baseball and softball strike deal to boost development in Costa Rica
The two governing bodies have different histories and will maintain their development programmes. As the two presidents Adrian Alfaro and Robestro Castro say, they have a relationship like brother and sister.

The WBSC Federation Focus for the month of April is about one country, Costa Rica, and two federations: the national governing bodies of baseball and softball.

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The baseball and softball federations of Costa Rica presented a joint development project.

"These federations are like brother and sister," commented Adrian Alfaro, the president of the Costa Rican Baseball Federation. "We are doing a joint effort to boost the development of both baseball and softball. It's a team-work to implement development programmes. If the COVID-19 restrictions don't limit us, we plan on reaching 10,000 boys and girls in different schools."

"We have a very good relation with Adrian Alfaro, who is a softball player," added Roberto Castro, the president of the Costa Rica Softball Federation. "We are working as team, together with the Ministry of Education. The two federations have their own development programmes. Hopefully, the joint effort will guarantee more resources."

The Costa Rican Baseball Federation (FCB, Federación Costarricense de Beisbol) was founded in 1975, but baseball's tradition in the country is much older. Carlos Zecca (1922-2008), a native of the country, is the president with the longest tenure in the history of the International Baseball Federation. He was elected in 1953 and left office in 1968, after seeing baseball showcased as a demonstration sport in two editions of the Olympic Games: 1956 in Melbourne and 1964 in Tokyo.

"The younger generations don't know much about Don Carlos," said Adrian Alfaro. "Baseball in this country owes him a lot, including two editions of the Baseball World Cup and Antonio Escarré Stadium. There's no doubt that our goal is to follow Don Carlo's steps and revive his great success."

Alfaro has been just elected to his second term. Costa Rica currently is No. 78 in WBSC Baseball World Rankings.

"I am optimistic about the future of baseball in Costa Rica. Still, I keep my feet on the ground. The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't helped. We activated the selection process for the U-8, U-10 and U-23 National Teams and didn't quite reach the target on participation. This is not going to stop us."

Baseball5 and Women's Baseball represent a key to the development plans. "We just introduced these two disciplines. They both attract the interest of the Ministry of Education. We are trying to build stronger relations with universities."

Costa Rica introduced men's softball in the 1960s. An independent Costa Rican Softball Federation (FECOSOFT, Federación Costarricense de Softbol) wasn't founded until 2011.

Roberto Castro, who had been active on the board of the baseball federation and at the time was serving as the president of the Central America Softball Confederation (CONCASOFT), has been the only president so far. Born in 1954, he has also served as the vice president of the Pan American Softball Confederation (CONPASA) and is a Technical Commissioner with a lot of international experience.

"We had only eight slow pitch teams and four fast pitch teams when I was elected president," commented Castro."Today we have five leagues: men's and women's fastpitch, men's and women's slow pitch and master's or over 50 years of age. Over 30 clubs are involved."

He added: "Softball originally was only seen as a recreational activity in Costa Rica. We made it competitive. Hopefully, we will have our Women's National Team compete in the Central American Games."

"We are looking at the WBSC for support," said Castro on a final note. "We need help to educate our coaches and game officials."

"We are inspired by WBSC leadership," added Adrian Alfaro. "I do believe that support from the world governing body can make our shared development plan thrive."

Global Game