Maybe you've seen Major League Baseball in America played on television, with those big stadiums, colourful uniforms, pitchers throwing the ball at 90 mph and batters hitting it 400 feet!
Well, in Britain, we don't have the big stadiums -- though we do now have our own dedicated baseball centre at Farnham Park near Slough, opened in July 2013 -- and pitchers and batters here are not quite so scary. But we do have baseball clubs all around the country with adult teams (primarily men but women are also welcome) and with youth teams at different age levels. These teams play in leagues that range from social and recreational to very competitive, and most clubs will welcome new players and teach them the game.
There are also Regional and National Academies for youth baseball players, open to anyone aged 10-25 who wants to attend. You can find dates and details in the Events section on the BSUK website or on the Academy Page.
The 2014 baseball season has now started, so the emphasis is on playing rather than recruiting or training. But many clubs still run open training sessions where new players are welcome, and these are listed below.
We will add to this list as we get more information, so re-visit this page from time to time.
The following clubs are running open training sessions where new players are welcome in the lead-up to the 2015 season.
GUILDFORD MAVERICKS BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL CLUB will be running a Baseball for Beginners course aimed at players new to the game or those with little experience. The course will begin on 30 April and will consist of six weekly sessions running every Thursday from 7:00-8.30 pm at the club’s ground at Christ’s College, Larch Avenue, Guildford, Surrey GU1 1JY. The cost will be £15 for all six sessions, which are open to men and women over the age of 16 (under this age, please contact us about our junior sessions). To register your interest in the Baseball for Beginners sessions or for more information, please email the club or contact Michael Burdett on 07798 927072.
KENT MARINERS BASEBALL CLUB is looking for players of all abilities to join them for the upcoming season, playing in the BBF's Single-A South Division. The team has begun indoor training on Sundays from 6:45-8:15 pm at Aylesford School Sports College, Teapot Lane, Aylesford, ME20 7JU to prepare for the pre-season Herts Spring League in March and then the regular BBF season beginning in April.
Indoor training sessions are focused on the basic mechanics of catching, throwing and hitting. Anyone interested in attending can sign up through the club Facebook page or contact the club through its website: www.kentmariners.co.uk.
EXETER SPITFIRES BASEBALL TEAM from the South West League will begin indoor winter training on Friday 16 January from 7.00-9.00 pm at West Exe School, Hatherleigh Road, Exeter, Devon EX2 9JU. Sessions will run every Friday evening at this time and will cost £4.
All equipment and coaching will provided and the Spitfires welcome both male and female players of all ages and abilities. For more information, please contact the Spitfires at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
TONBRIDGE BASEBALL CLUB will begin winter training from Sunday 11 January 2015, with an afternoon session from 3.30-5.30 pm at on the Rowans Astroturf at Tonbridge School Sports Centre, London Road, Tonbridge TN10 3AD (you can find the entrance here: http://bit.ly.1Axqeg1). After a week's break, sessions will resume on Sunday 25 January and run for the following eight weeks. For more information contact Tim Baretto on: email@example.com or look on the club website: http://www.tonbridgebaseball.com.
THE LEICESTER BLUE SOX are running female-only softball sessions for girls and women that started in February, youth baseball sessions for boys and girls aged 9 to 16 that started in in March and teeball sessions for boys and girls aged 4 to 8 starting in April. For more information about any of these opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIRMINGHAM BANDITS BASEBALL CLUB will begin pre-season indoor training on Sunday 18 January at Moseley School, Springfield Road, Birmingham, B13 4LR (Satnav postcode B13 9NY). Further indoor sessions will be held on 25 January and 1 February before outdoor training begins at Marston Green Recreation Ground, Bickenhill Road, Birmingham, West Midlands B37 7EL on Sunday 8 February. These sessions will continue on every Sunday until the start of the league season.
Indoor sessions will run from 11.00 to noon and will cost £3 per player to cover the cost of the venue hire. Outdoor sessions will run from 10.00 am to noon in February, extending to 10.00 am to 1.00 pm in March, but there will be no fee for these sessions as these are included in standard membership. Subject to final confirmation, a Baseball for Beginners course will run alongside the outdoor sessions starting on 8 February.
All sessions are suitable for players whatever your level of experience, and all equipment is provided. For more information contact Duncan Hoyle on: email@example.com.
NEWTON AYCLIFFE BASEBALL CLUB will hold open indoor baseball training sessions every Tuesday evening (during term time) from 7.00-9.00 pm in the main Sports Hall at Woodham Academy, Washington Crescent, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham DL5 4AX. All players, including beginners, are welcome. For further details contact Mike Holton on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
MANCHESTER BASEBALL CLUB is running indoor training on Sundays from 2.00-4.00 pm at the Platt Lane Complex, Yew Tree Rd, Manchester M14 7UU. All players, including beginners, are welcome. For more information, contact John Eaton.
LEEDS BECKETT UNIVERSITY BASEBALL TEAM is training on Thursdays from 5.00-6.00 pm at Leeds Beckett University, Sports Office, Headingley Campus, Leeds, LS6 3QS. All players, including beginners, are welcome. For more information, contact Dale Bottomley.
HORSHAM JUNIOR BASEBALL CLUB is always ready to welcome boys and girls aged 5-16 at all levels of ability. For more information about our fun training sessions and games, please email the club's membership secretary, Hazel Dean or call on 07519 847 295.