WBSC President: Exciting future ahead for Baseball5 after inaugural World Cup

WBSC President: Exciting future ahead for Baseball5 after inaugural World Cup
16/11/2022
World Baseball-Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari reflects on the huge success of the first-ever Baseball5 World Cup in Mexico and the discipline’s bright future ahead.

As the inaugural WBSC Baseball5 World Cup came to a close in Mexico on Saturday, I was struck by just how special and important this milestone event was. It was a moment we had been building towards for a very long time, since Baseball5’s launch in 2017.

Held in the iconic and historic El Zócalo in the heart of Mexico City, it was the ultimate setting for the world’s 12 best mixed-gender Baseball5 national teams to come together and compete for the urban discipline’s first-ever world title. My congratulations of course go to Cuba for claiming this historic honour after beating Japan in the final but I applaud all the teams in the way they played throughout the tournament, putting on competitive, entertaining games whilst at the same time making fun and fair play the essence of the tournament.

Fast-paced, dynamic and with huge youth appeal, Baseball5 took the crowd in El Zócalo by storm. With three fields for competition/warm ups and another three for fans to play, it was fantastic to see so many people experiencing Baseball5 for the very first time. It demonstrated just how accessible and easy to learn this innovative and modern sport is. There is no need for specialist equipment or a dedicated pitch to be built, nor is any experience in baseball required. It is sport in its purest form, creating tremendous joy and bringing people together.  

I am thrilled that, for the first time ever, we had three teams from Africa competing in a WBSC World Cup event – Kenya, South Africa and Tunisia. All three teams played unbelievably well, showcasing great athleticism and sporting excellence, and their pride in playing for their respective country and flag was clear for all to see. For Tunisia in particular, it marked the country’s World Cup (baseball, softball or Baseball5) debut and, incredibly, the team progressed all the way through to the Super Round.

For sure, the athletes have been the heroes of this competition. Their performances wowed fans in Mexico and beyond and perfectly encapsulated the urban, young spirit of Baseball5. They have also been the Baseball5 World Cup’s loudest ambassadors by sharing their fantastic experience across social media.

I must also note the exceptional professionalism of our hosts, Mexico. From the Government of Mexico City to Mexico’s National Commission for Physical Culture and Sport (CONADE) and the Mexico City Sports Institute, they have exceeded our expectations and made the first ever Baseball5 World Cup truly unique. It has been the WBSC’s pleasure to work with the organisers to provide this magnificent stage for the athletes to perform on.

The platform that has been built at this fantastic event, will serve as a launchpad to accelerate the globalisation of Baseball5. Already there are qualifiers taking place for next year’s inaugural Youth World Cup while Baseball5 will feature in the All African Beach Games and the Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games in 2023.

I’m also looking forward to seeing many of the athletes that made this World Cup such a great success return for the qualifiers of the next edition, which will be staged in 2024 before Baseball5 makes its debut at the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026.

As you can see, Baseball5 has a very bright future ahead with many historic milestones on the way. But success in sport is never achieved alone. The global baseball softball community has now witnessed the triumph that is Baseball5 so now is the time to further embrace this burgeoning discipline and continue its drive forward to allow as many people across the globe to experience all that Baseball5 has to offer.