This past week at a conference held by FIBS, ideas and projects about the 2014 season are already on the minds of those looking to build upon a new and prosperous future for the Italian Baseball League during these difficult economic times. The Federation’s President, Fraccari, was animate about a couple of key facts in regards to measures that were put into place a year ago that were designed to help minimize operation costs throughout the league. An overall analysis made from the cost saving measures saw an average savings of around 50% in only a year’s time (2012 to 2013). Measures, which include roster restrictions, games played per week, travel costs, and game taxes all helped make this 2013 season a successful, and cost effective one. With the operation costs reduced to a minimum the boundaries of the Italian Baseball League saw an expansion from 8 teams to 10, allowing clubs like Reggio Emilia, Ronchi dei Legonari, and Mastiff Grosseto to partake in the top level of play.
Cutting costs in 2013 also had its down falls, as the league suffered in terms of quality of play and image of the sport on a national level. The two games a week schedule instead of three cut down on the frequency of play, but at the same time cut down on cost with both travel and energy. Those organizations that benefited the most from this year’s structure were those that were able to play their young talent, helping them grow by playing at a slightly less competitive but still quality level of ball. Many of the young Italian ballplayers that were given an opportunity proved that they have what it takes to compete against quality foreign players currently competing in the IBL, as well as the proven Italian’s like Vaglio, Desimoni, Mazzanti, Chiarini, Corradini, ect..
Now as the 2013 season comes to an end, it will be a collective effort between the decision makers in the league to begin to organize 2014. Money saving will most likely still be the name of the game, however, do expect an improvements across the board. The rules currently in place with the number of Italian ballplayers and foreigners will most likely remain the same, as well as the option to have an affiliated club in the IBL2 division, allowing for the free movement of athletes between the two club’s combined 40 man roster. Another idea on currently on the table for the IBL is be the possibility of dividing the season into two phases, as well as the movement of players from team to team between the two potential parts of the season. Also expect the season to conclude before the beginning of the Italian soccer season in an effort to maximize an audience in a country whose national pastime is the game of soccer. Finally, there will once again be no penalties for finishing at the bottom of the standings, meaning there is no risk of being booted from the league (dropping down a level) as the rules once stated back in 2009.
More information on the 2014 season will be coming to light in the coming weeks with any proposed change to the league expected to be made around the framework spoken about above.