2019: "The biggest year in int'l baseball, softball history"
End-of-the-year address WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari:
Dear Baseball and Softball Leaders,
WBSC Partners, Media Representatives and fans around the world:
This past year was the biggest year ever for the international game and National Team competitions, both from a historical point of view as well as from a total number of events, with players taking away some of the best memories and experiences of their careers.
Over the last 12 months, the flagship Premier12, five World Cups and four dedicated qualifying tournaments for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were staged. This was the highest amount of demand ever placed on our international federation, and it was an honour, duty and absolute pleasure to serve the National Federations, thousands of athletes as well as fans and media across the globe.
While data and reports are still being gathered, it's likely safe to say that last month's WBSC Premier12 broke social media records as the most-engaging international baseball tournament ever staged. Samurai Japan, the "home team" of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, captured the Premier12 crown, underlining their ranking as the best National Team baseball programme in the world. While 2015 Premier12 champions Korea were not able to defend their crown, the 2008 Olympic Baseball champions were able to earn a ticket into the Tokyo 2020 tournament, where they will have the opportunity to defend the Olympic gold medal. Mexico's Premier12 bronze medal win/first-ever Olympic qualification has been described by media as "the biggest win in Mexican baseball history."
Mexico will also make their Olympic Softball debut at Tokyo 2020. Congratulations to USA Softball, Italian Baseball Softball Federation, Mexican Softball Federation, Softball Canada and Softball Australia for leading your country and athletes to the Tokyo 2020 Games.
On behalf of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, I would like to thank and recognize all those who helped and contributed to the growth of baseball and softball around the world in 2019.
I would also like to recognize our Local Organizing Committees, WBSC Board Members and Commissions, the Continental Confederations, the National Federations, the athletes, the coaches, the umpires and the WBSC office and staff for their tireless dedication to growing our sport around the world.
This record year -- 2019 -- sets the stage for bigger and better success for our sport in 2020.
Riccardo Fraccari WBSC President