By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
DESPITE the rumbling over who holds and deserves the sanctioning rights for international baseball in the country, the Bahamas Baseball Federation is pressing on with its National Baseball Championships.
The federation, which was embattled with the Bahamas Baseball Association over the governance of the sport, will host their 15th annual nationals in Grand Bahama at the EMERA Caribbean Baseball Complex.
Teams from the Grand Bahama Amateur Baseball Association, Grand Bahama Little League, Legacy Baseball League, Eleuthera Junior Baseball League, North Abaco Baseball League and the Junior Baseball League of Nassau will make up this year’s package.
Conspicuously missing once again is Freedom Farm.
But while there’s been a biggest issue to deal with, federation president Theodore ‘Teddy’ Sweeting said they are still committed to providing the highest level of competition for the young players to participate in at the nationals.
“There is a lot that has to unravel and to see exactly where baseball will be headed over the next year,” he said. “It’s difficult to speak on it because everybody is trying to see the benefits of what has transpired will bring to the sport.
“We’ve had a lot of success at the structure of the federation with governance by the leagues. I think it’s a wait and see process of how the agreements will unfold by those who made those decisions.”
Sweeting said he’s still looking for all of the fractions to come together for the betterment of the sport because there’s nothing wrong with the growth and development of baseball in the country nationally.
“The issue is internationally and trying to receive international benefits, international travel to these tournaments that are controlled from the governing body, the IABF,” he pointed out.
“That is where it all lays. I know we had garnered the complete respect of international baseball from the governing body and the international body because it looks at development and not the structure.”
Through the BBF and its national tournaments, Sweeting said they have been able to accomplish their goal, while there are others who are waiting to see how their affiliation with the BBA will benefit them internationally moving forward.
“We’re trying to put the chariot before the horse. The decision has to be made on whether these individuals will allow the membership or the leagues that provide the opportunities for the young men to play to lead them and govern them,” Sweeting stressed.
“That’s the question. So until that is realize, we’re still in the same situation because you are allowing leadership to make the determination that they are going to lead you, but you have not had the opportunity to allow the leagues to make that determination.”
Under the structure that currently exist, Sweeting said there’s no way that they will be deterred from their commitment to continue to showcase the players in the national tournament.
This year’s tournament will begin on Friday at 9 am in all of the divisions, inclusive of in the Coach Pitch, Minor (9-10), Major (11-12), Junior (13-15) and High School (16-and-over).
The opening ceremonies is scheduled for 7 pm when the federation will honor retired Major Leaguer Antoan Richardson along with three others, including Mario Ford, who will all receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The tournament will continue on Saturday at 9 am and wrap up on Sunday at 9 am as well when the champions in all of the divisions will be crowned.