How do clubs in the region want to make the sport better known

Marginal sports compete for members and attention
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How baseball teams in the region want to spread the word about the sport

The Mönchengladbach Blackcaps and Wassenberg Squirrels both play in Major League Baseball, the two teams met in the derby this weekend. After the coronavirus-related break, clubs in the region are trying to make their fringe sport more popular.

Baseball is one of the four most popular sports in the mother country USA: Unlike American football, which has also been a sensation in Germany for years, baseball in this country only leads to a mysterious existence and is one of the absolute marginal sports.

Two teams from the region compete in the Division Two League. On the one hand there are Blackcaps from Mönchengladbach and Wassenberg Squirrels. Two teams are facing the same challenges after the corona break – and they want to master them in a very similar way in order to prepare for the future. Black berets and squirrels have been hit hard by the prolonged turmoil caused by the epidemic. Blackcaps not only had new coaches, they also had many player-side departures, but they also managed to gain new players. At the moment, they are also in talks with two players who should help the newcomers in their development.

With the squirrels from Wassenberg, there was a balance between entrances and exits. Three former Blackcaps players have joined the Squirrels and form a reinforcement to the team, with Patrick Grabowski taking over as Blackcaps coach Michael Schmitz, who will serve only as assistant coach and player. Something similar happened at the Wassenbergers, where Felix Trulley passed the puck to Manuel Schlicke for work reasons and also wanted to be available as an assistant coach and player. The fact that coaches in the lower leagues are also on the field and actively involved is a common practice here.


    Both teams use women in a male-dominated sport.

Both teams use women in a male-dominated sport.
Photo: Yes/Knappe, Joerg (jkn)

What is special about the lower leagues is the fact that female players can – in fact, should – play in this sport, which is otherwise dominated by men. Players are regularly used by Blackcaps, and even by Squirrels there are five. Wassenberg president Peter Dohmen would like to create an all-women’s softball team if enough players are found. On the Gladbach side, they are currently busy rebuilding and therefore haven’t thought about it yet in that direction.

Both clubs used the extended break to improve their infrastructure. The Black Cabs have built new caches. The squirrels even got a new location, which has not yet been released to play due to some minor flaws. After all, the training can already be done at the new facility, which will also receive a digital scoreboard for the foreseeable future, Domain explains. The facility in Orsbecker Feld (at the B221/L junction 117) will officially open in Phase Two on June 18 against the Blackcaps.

In terms of sports, both teams must find each other first and have one success or the other, as the Blackcaps did last weekend in the derby against the Squirrels with 14:13. It was an eye level game with a change of leadership. In the end, the Fitusstadt team achieved a lucky victory after initially defeating the Duisburg Flying bats (2:9). Wassenberg is currently losing 2 to win (12:4 against SG Marl/Bochum). They are fourth in the table, one place behind the Black Cabs.

To recruit new players, both baseball teams go the same path: go to schools and teach some classes. The basic concepts of baseball are then presented here, which students must then do in order to get a feel for the sport of football. If a few of them showed up at regular training sessions, who might have found baseball fun and scored, then a lot has already been gained. Here, too, it is word of mouth among the students that is important to ensure that there are more young people in this marginal sport.

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