Great Britain Looks Forward To Bahamian Partnership Again for WBC
Great Britain manager Liam Carroll is optimistic at the prospect of Bahamian baseball players joining his organization once again as it prepares for another World Baseball Classic Qualifier.
Major League Baseball announced details for the event as teams begin the process of qualifying for the fifth edition of the event.
Twelve teams separated into two pools will compete at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona in March.
The top two finishers in each pool will advance to complete the field of 20 teams in 2021, making it the largest event in WBC history.
Great Britain will compete in Pool two, March 20-25. The remainder of the group includes the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines, and Spain.
Pool one will be hosted March 12-17 and includes Brazil, France, Germany, Nicaragua, Pakistan and South Africa.
“I attended the first WBC qualifier in Germany in 2012 and had the good fortune of watching Antoan Richardson and Albert Cartwright play so when I became the manager for the 2016 qualifier I just figured maybe there were more players from the Bahamas and oh my goodness was I right,” Carroll said.
“What’s happening in the Bahamas is absolutely incredible and we were fortunate to have several more players play in Brooklyn. Now ahead of this opportunity in Tucson, we know we are going to have some great players from the Bahamas but we really want to explore this relationship and build some bridges here with a tremendous group of people.”
With Richardson and Cartwright on the roster, Great Britain went 1-2 during the 2013 Qualifier played in Regensburg, Germany, where it debuted in the WBC.
Their tournament highlight was a 12-5 win over the Czech Republic.
At the 2017 Qualifiers in Brooklyn, New York, Richardson and Cartwright were joined by Ali Knowles, Jazz Chisholm, Kyle Simmons, Todd Isaacs, Reshard Munroe, Byron Murray and Champ Stuart.
That team finished just one game shy of WBC qualification when they suffered a 9-1 loss in the final.
“It’s a huge opportunity and when you look at MLB’s presence around the world the two things you really look at are the World Baseball Classic and MLBs London Series where started with the Red Sox and Yankees in 2019 and this year we will get the Cubs and Cardinals”.
“These opportunities will really put Great Britain Baseball on the map and I think it can do the same for the Bahamas. Playing at another level will inspire future generations to play baseball to represent Great Britain or the Bahamas in a WBC down the line,” Carroll said.
“There are so many options for kids, we need to make baseball more attractive with facilities. The flipside to that is, look what you can achieve with anything – I think we have a lot to learn from what’s going on in the Bahamas.”
“You don’t have to have the most amazing facilities but can produce some phenomenal players. I think it goes both ways in understanding what’s possible but if we can qualify for the WBC, get a little bit more money and build some better facilities the game develops across the board.”
Bahamian players are eligible to compete for Great Britain once their parents were born in the Bahamas while it was still a British colony, prior to Independence.
“The mission of Great Britain baseball is to inspire to develop and to perform. Its opportunities like the WBC that allow us to check all three of those boxes but really for me in terms of my why and my motivation, inspiring future generations and developing future generations is really my heart,” Caroll said.
“I think we can work collaboratively to bring children in the Bahamas, in England, Scotland and in Wales better opportunities in the future.”
Each qualifying pool will feature a nine-game double elimination round with the top two teams from each pool advancing.
The winners from each Qualifier will advance to the World Baseball Classic tournament, scheduled for March 2021.
Those four teams will join the 16 countries — Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela — that received automatic invitations based on their performance in the 2013 tournament.
At the time of his WBC debut in 2013, Richardson said that while the Bahamian players were grateful for the opportunity to compete internationally with Great Britain, the ultimate goal was to play for team Bahamas in the near future.
“It was a fortunate situation for us with the loophole of our parents being born in the Bahamas while it was still a British colony before independence, so that made us eligible to play for Great Britain,” Richardson said.
“This is strictly because the Bahamas does not have a team entered and that is something that we as players feel the need to change in the near future.”