Facing the Euro 2012 championship, a football tournament awaited by Poland, other sports experience some hard time. The advertising campaign related to ticket sale has begun in the city, and the new Polish stadium reminds everyone about the dominance of football. One may ask: “Is there any place for other sports?” Of course there is, for many different sports, frankly speaking. The sports one can enumerate from memory are: pétanque, rugby, American football, or baseball, up to now, still “Made in America.” In fact, the baseball season is to begin shortly in the USA and also in Warsaw. The capital city has three teams appropriately classified in the first, the second and the third league. The best level is represented by “Centaury” Warszawa. This team plays in the “Ekstraklasa” and is the crème de la crème of Polish baseball, along with seven other teams.
Warsaw is represented in the second league, referred to, strangely, as the “first league,” by a very dynamic team, “Schaby” Warszawa. “Pasikoniki” occupy the third place. In the new season schedule, there is no place for the Warsaw derby, as each club represents a different level.
But how has it come to this? How come this “US” sport, popular mainly due to movies, has been rooted in Poland?
According to the www.baseball.pl website, the Polish league was established in 1984. However, there are documents which indicate the existence of a Polish baseball team before the Second World War in Vilnius, Lithuania. Polish baseball and football federation was established in 1978 and the first meeting in the polish pitch took place in 1983, when the opponent was the Dutch team “Foresters” from Heilo. Baseball is a distant relative of a Polish sport called “palant,” whose varieties existed also in France, as “theque” and in Finland, as “pesapolo.” Since 1984, the championship of this discipline took place every year. The golden age of Warsaw baseball were the 1990s, when the team “Skra” Warszawa won three Polish championships and participated in numerous European tournaments. After that, the team ceased to exist and the trophies were handed to the sports museum in Wawelska Street.
Baseball is one of those rare sports which have their “ladies’” version with its own name and separate rules. You do not call it “women’s baseball” – it is called “softball” and you play it in a smaller field and with a bigger ball. In the capital city of Poland there is a first-league softball team, “Diamonds,” couched by Christopher Sweeney.
The 2011 season is about to start in a few days, although Warsaw does not have proper areas for the game. The nearby town of Piaseczno, since 2005, has had the area in accordance with the norms, but due to the last year’s unfortunate weather, this area is now in a terrible condition.
With new energy and, what is more important, with a lot of passion, Warsaw baseball players are to start off the new season. Don’t miss the first pitchers!
Baseball and softball teams:
-Centaury Warszawa: www.centaury.pl
-Schaby Warszawa: www.schaby.com
-Pasikoniki Warszawa: www.pasikoniki.waw.pl
-Diamonds Warszawa: www.softball.pl
Tłumaczenie: Mateusz Pazdur