The dream of having a real World Champion for Baseball is closer then it has ever been before. For the first time ever the European club Champion (Unipol Bologna) will partake in the Asia Series from the 15th through the 20th of November in Taichung, Taiwan, making it a truly historic mark for the sport of baseball. The European Champion will now join and face off against the champions from the NPB, KBO, CPBL, ABL, and CBL leagues.
“This is an amazing opportunity for European Baseball as a whole, and in particular for the European Champs out of Bologna, Italy,” explained Riccardo Fraccari – FIBS (Italian Baseball Federation) and IBAF (International Baseball Federation) President. “Only a few months ago this was just a vision for the future, and now it has worked itself into a reality. It’s an amazing feat that this respective international series has extended an invitation to European Baseball community.”
The Asia Series was first played back in 2005 and featured four teams, the champions from the Japanese League (NPB- Nippon Professional Baseball) Korea (KBO- Korea Baseball Organization) and Chinese Taipei (CPBL- Chinese Professional Baseball League), while the fourth participant was a team made up of Chinese national team players who played under the name, “China Stars”. That year’s sponsor of events was a Japanese videogame company by the name of Konami, a sponsor that kept the tournament up and running till 2009. In 2009 and 2010 the Konami group withdrew their sponsorship funds from the event forcing the tournament to reduce its participants to two teams, the league champions from Korea and Japan. However the tournament was back on track in 2011 and with a new country’s participation, Australia with their champ out of the ABL (Australian Baseball League), as well as the champion from a newly born league out of China, the CBL (China Baseball League). Each year that this tournament has taken place the champion out of the Japanese League has taken the title all but once, 2011. That year it was the Samsung Lions out of the Korean league that took home the trophy, however last year that very same trophy went to the Yomiuri Giants out of Tokyo, returning back to the island country of Japan.
"We’re very honored to have been invited to participate in this years Asia Series," said the president of Unipol Bologna Stefano Michelini. “Fraccari did a wonderful job with pushing this opportunity forward for us, without him it would have been virtually impossible. With everything now becoming a reality for this organization we can proudly say that this will without a doubt count as one of the most important feats in the rich history of this ball club. The competition is going to be tough, but we will do everything possible to make sure that we represent European Baseball to the best of our abilities when we head to Taichung, Taiwan next month.”
Each baseball organization participating in the Asia Series are guests of the organizers. All expenses included between travel, logging, etc. are included as well as prize money based on final placement in the tournament.
Past Asia Series winners
2005 Chiba Lotte Marines (Japan), 2006 Nippon Ham FIghters (Japan) , 2007 Chunichi Dragons (Japan), 2008 Saitama Seibu Lions (Japan), 2011 Samsung Lions (Korea) , 2012 Yomiuri Giants (Japan)