Europe's first games in 2020: Czech Baseball ExtraLiga set to open

Europe's first games in 2020: Czech Baseball ExtraLiga set to open
On Friday, 22 May, opening day will be celebrated in the Czech Republic, representing the first top-tier European baseball/softball league to open its season this year.

The 2020 Czech Baseball ExtraLiga opens on Friday, 22 May.

"I'm happy, opening day is among us," said the Czech Baseball Association (CBA) President Petr Ditrich. "All of the players and coaches are excited."

The 2020 ExtraLiga will be the first top-tier European league to open since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. The league will impose some precautionary measures. The only 'import' players allowed will be the ones who are also permanent residents in the country.

"We will see what the actual quality of Czech baseball is," commented Scotty Mulhearn, a 33-year old utility player and the manager of Kotlářky Prague. He played in the independent Pecos League in the USA and in the Australian Baseball League.

"The majority of the teams will count only on Czech players. There will be a lot of room for young prospects," added Mulhearn.

The ExtraLiga defending champions Arrows Ostrava will open the season against the Draci Brno, the Czech team with the most international experience.

"We can expect more runs scored," said Czech National Team veteran pitcher Boris Bokaj, one of the coaches on the staff of the Arrows. "I don’t expect a significant decrease in the quality of baseball."

This is the rest of the programme of the opening day:
Olympia Blansko-Technica Brno
Eagles Prague-SaBat Prague

Saturday, 23 May:
Kotlářka Prague-Tempo Prague
Draci Brno-Arrows Ostrava
SaBat Prague-Eagles Prague
Nuclears Třebíč-Cardion Hroši Brno

Sunday, 24 May:
Tempo Prague-Kotlářka Prague
Cardion Hroši Brno-Nuclears Třebíč

The regular season will run through Sunday, 12 July.

The top six finishers will advance to a round-robin that will promote the top four to the semifinals. The winners of the semifinals will play for the title in the Czech Series.

The Czech Republic is one of Europe's leading baseball nations and currently sits at 16th in the WBSC Baseball World Rankings.