WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari: Celebrating World Baseball Softball Day, a milestone in our global journey
10/05/2024 3 Minute Read

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari: Celebrating World Baseball Softball Day, a milestone in our global journey

World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari reflects on the inaugural World Baseball Softball Day and the remarkable progress achieved over the past decade as one united organisation.

World Baseball Softball Day is a momentous occasion for the entire global baseball and softball community. This day not only signifies a celebration of our beloved sport but also marks the 10th anniversary of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), following the successful merger of the International Baseball Federation and the International Softball Federation in 2014.

Throughout the years, baseball and softball have transcended borders and cultures, weaving themselves into the fabric of communities worldwide. Our commitment to fostering the growth of our main disciplines on a global scale remains unwavering. As one united global governing body under the WBSC, we take pride in the remarkable strides we have made together.

World Baseball Softball Day is a testament to the unwavering dedication of players, coaches, officials and fans worldwide. It's a day to celebrate the passion and camaraderie that bind us together, regardless of geographical or cultural differences. In the years to follow, 10 May will forever serve as an opportunity to celebrate our sport and unity. 

Looking back over the past decade, we have witnessed the triumphant return of baseball and softball to the Olympic stage at Tokyo 2020. And we will again see our sport return to the Games in Los Angeles in 2028. This will undoubtedly be a special moment, and one we can all look forward to.

Moreover, we have introduced world-class events like the Premier12, alongside innovative tournament formats and new age brackets, making our sport more inclusive than ever before. This year, the Premier12 will enter its third edition, while the first ever ePremier12 will also take place in Japan, bringing new eBaseball stars head-to-head on the global stage. This showcases the forward-thinking and innovative mentality that the WBSC has embraced.

Softball continues to flourish. With the introduction of the Two-Stage Softball World Cups format last year, the discipline’s biggest event has been opened to more teams and host cities, elevating its excitement and competitiveness. 

One of the most remarkable aspects of this milestone is the celebration of new innovations that have expanded our family and made our sport more accessible. Among these innovations stands Baseball5, a dynamic urban version of our beloved game. With its simplicity, versatility and accessibility, Baseball5 has opened doors to new communities across the globe.

Notably, Baseball5 has reached refugees and displaced people, including those as the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan. The start of this year marked the first anniversary of the project, which has enabled these children to experience the joy of sport. Most recently, I attended the third edition of the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) Hope and Dreams Sports Festival, where I witnessed once again the profound impact of Baseball5 on the lives of these children. 

Our aim remains for a Refugee Team to participate in the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026, where Baseball5 will make its debut.

As we celebrate World Baseball Softball Day, we also shine a spotlight on the #PLAYEVERYWHERE documentary, a testament to the power of innovation and inclusivity in our sport. This documentary not only showcases the evolution of Baseball5 but also highlights the values of team spirit, friendship, diversity and fun that define our community.

I have mentioned innovation as one of the main driving forces for our organisation. The WBSC is leading the way in eSport, being among the pioneer federations in the Olympic Movement with our successful participation in the Olympic Virtual Series and the Olympic eSport Series. We also hosted the first ever Virtual Cup, with more then 8,000 participants around the world, opening more oportunities for younger generations to be involved in baseball and softball.

The WBSC is also offering new opportunities in the Paralympic sphere, with new competitions like Blind Baseball International Cup, and promoting disciplines like Wheelchair Softball and Baseball5 for people with intellectual disabilities.

As a united body, we've made strides off the field as well, with our Strategic Plan 2022-2028 guiding our efforts. This has included a resolute commitment to good governance, transparency, sustainability and the global growth of baseball-softball. We strive for a better WBSC, contributing to a stronger and more cohesive world.

I am honoured to be celebrating World Baseball Softball Day alongside friends, colleagues and the entire global baseball and softball community. Together, we continue to write the next chapter of our journey, guided by a shared passion for the game and a commitment to shaping its future for generations to come.