By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WHILE there were talks to get all of the leagues back under one umbrella, Freedom Farm founder Greg Burrows said a conscious decision was made to rejoin the Bahamas Baseball Association.
The move came after the dismantling of the Bahamas Baseball Federation, an organisation that Burrows helped to form more than two decades ago to provide an alternative to the BBA.
“When this move came about to bring all of the leagues back under the BBA, we were the last ones to make a decision, but it was a no brainer for me as the leader to rejoin the BBA,” Burrows told The Tribune over the weekend in Grand Bahama.
“We felt that it was in the best interest of the sport to rejoin the BBA, hence Freedom Farm is here to play in the Nationals. Baseball, in my mind, is the fastest and the largest and most successful sport in the country today and so we wanted to ensure that we do our part to further push the sport along.”
After skipping the trip to Grand Bahama last year to participate in the Nationals, Freedom Farm returned over the weekend and made their presence felt at the Emera Baseball Complex.
They won the 14-and-under division and had teams competing in the final of the 8-and-under, 10-and-under and 12-and-under divisions. The latter three divisions, along with the 16-and-under, were not completed because of the rain.
But the BBA made a decision to award Freedom Farm the gold in both the 8-and-under and 12-and-under divisions as they were the respective pool winners. The other gold medals went to the Junior Baseball League of Nassau in the 10-and-under and Grand Bahama in the 16-and-under.
Grand Bahama also outright won the 18-and-under gold.
Burrows, whose Freedom Farm dominated the competition the last time they played two years ago, said they intend to hold the BBA’s feet to the fire and will be watching them carefully how they move the sport forward.
“I don’t see no reason for us to revert to forming another body as we did when we formed the federation,” he pointed out. “All of the principals now have to be adults and the ego that a lot os us, including me, are set aside for the management of the association.
“More of our fight is at the league level where we want to have bragging rights as to which organization is the best. But I think all of the leaders of these leagues want to see the sport go forward and that is why we are all here today.
“Our presentation of our kids have been stellar and if that is the only separation, then that is pretty good. But as far as the management of the association, they have to now prove to us as leaders that they can handle the affairs of the sport at the top.”
Don’t look for another split, but Burrows said he and the other leaders who had formed the federation, will be ensuring that the sport is properly governed.
“We have all come together for the good of the sport and we hope that when the election is called and we are all given a chance to cast our vote that we will be able to put a cohesive team in place that will comprise of all of the leagues that are actively involved in the sport,” he stated.
“This can’t be a family thing. If you want a family thing, then start your own thing. This have to be nationally based and so we expect that the entire country will be involved in the decision making process as executives whenever the elections are held.”
As one of the architects, Burrows said they will also be watching to see how quickly the Bahamas Government will move on completing the new national baseball stadium that was started under Deputy Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis and the Progressive Liberal Party before the Free National Movement took over.
“There is a lot of opportunity for us to take this sport to much a higher level and this government and the BBA can do a lot with that when that stadium is completed,” Burrows stated.
“Somebody said how we are going to pay for the stadium, but I want to say that the baseball games are not supposed to pay for the stadium. In my mind, we have a responsibility as a country to develop these facilities for our young people to develop their skills.”
Looking at the talent that was on display over the weekend in Grand Bahama, Burrows said its incumbent on the government to provide the venue for the players to be able to enhance their skills as they advance from the junior to the senior ranks and ultimate to join the more than 20 players in the professional ranks.