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Saturday, April 05, 2014

Fred Claire: New Zealand could be field of dreams

“Weird Culture Weird Custom”

New Zealand needs to get a team operating in the Australian Baseball League, says an American World Series-winning executive tasked with developing the Kiwi game.

Fred Claire, who has been involved in baseball in the United States for over 30 years, hopes to bring an upward swing in the growth of the game in New Zealand.

His passion, knowledge and energy for baseball is surpassed by few others. He wants baseball to succeed, here and internationally.

Claire will be involved in growing the game in New Zealand where he recently signed up as a special adviser to Baseball New Zealand’s CEO Ryan Flynn.

“I’m willing to help in whatever way I can. I’ve spent a lot of time in the game so I start from a very basic platform,” he told Sunday News.

... For baseball to grow in this country, the plan is simple - develop it at the grassroots level.

“It’s growing from the involvement of young players. I think there are opportunities for young players with careers in the game,” he said.

“It’s a great game for the youth. I saw the growth of baseball in Australia . . . and even now baseball is not at the top rock of Australian sports, but it’s growing.”

In order for baseball to grow at a grassroots level in New Zealand, Claire believes it’s crucial the sport gets more interested people involved. The game needs to be introduced to more youngsters so that more programmes and fields can be established, with capable people in place to encourage them.

“As the sport grows in New Zealand and more youngsters are playing there is no doubt about one thing, the scouts will be there and will have an awareness of that talent. Scouts go where the talent is.”

Repoz Posted: April 05, 2014 at 02:21 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 05, 2014 at 05:35 PM (#4680061)
Bill James on Al Spalding: "[H]e was intent upon spreading the game of baseball to every corner of the earth where a man might have two nickels to spend on a bat or a glove."
   2. JRVJ Posted: April 05, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4680071)
I am a big fan of Rugby Union (though as a Latin American, I mostly support Argentina's Pumas).

There's NO WAY that NZ will ever be anything other than a Rugby Union nation, organized sports wise (they're also BIG into sailing and all sorts of other outdoor sports).
   3. Flynn Posted: April 05, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4680073)
Well, considering they've qualified for the World Cup twice, won the Rugby League World Cup in 2008, are a Test cricketing nation, and have one of the best fast-pitch softball teams in the world, I think there's a chance baseball could find a niche.
   4. JRVJ Posted: April 05, 2014 at 06:40 PM (#4680080)
I don't doubt that there are Kiwis that play shuffle board too. But to be a true baseball nation? (a non-legacy sport, as opposed to Soccer, Rugby League and Cricket)

I don't think so.

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