St. Petersburg International Baseball
Monday, December 6, 2010
CONTACT: Elizabeth Herendeen, Marketing and Communications Director, 727-893-7465 or Elizabeth.Herendeen@stpete.org
PLAY BALL! MAYOR FOSTER ANNOUNCES FORMATION OF
ST. PETERSBURG INTERNATIONAL BASEBALL
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (October 4, 2010) – Mayor Bill Foster is pleased to announce the formation of St. Petersburg International Baseball, an international baseball program that will include a spring league, and both a summer and fall series, all playing and practicing in St. Petersburg's spring training facilities.
The spring league is the first phase in this three part program. National teams from the Netherlands and Canada will play against each other and against Major League Baseball spring training squads, including the Tampa Bay Rays. Games will be played at Al Lang Field and are scheduled to begin February 26, 2011. The schedule is expected to consist of 15 to 20 games.
Australia is committed for the summer series and also plans to compete in the 2012 spring series. Details on the summer and fall series are still in development.
The creation of this new international program is a fulfillment of one of Mayor Foster's "Foster Forty,” a document introduced during his mayoral campaign outlining forty ideas and action items his administration would focus on.
"I envisioned St. Petersburg as an international baseball city,” said Foster. "We already enjoy an expanding international visitor base. This baseball league will add a unique new dimension to our tourism activities, and give our residents an opportunity to enjoy international ball. I am grateful to Canada, the Netherlands and Australia for their enthusiasm and participation.”
Greg Hamilton, Head Coach and Director of National Teams for Baseball Canada commented "With the likes of Larry Walker, Justin Morneau, Jason Bay, Matt Stairs, Russell Martin, Ryan Dempster, Jeff Francis and Eric Gagne having played for the Canadian Junior Olympic baseball Team, we are very excited about this wonderful opportunity to showcase our future major leaguers.”
Robert Eenhoorn, Director of Baseball Operations for the Netherlands' Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association added, "I am very excited about the opportunity that the city of St. Petersburg and Mayor Foster are giving us. This will be a boost for Dutch Baseball and will be a tremendous help for us to achieve our goals and future ambitions. Being able to play a Major League organization under the Florida sun will be very motivating for our organization, players and fans. We hope this will be the start of a long term relationship with the city of St. Pete and we will do everything in our power to represent Dutch Baseball in a way that is expected from us nowadays.” Eenhoorn played for MLB's Yankees and the Angels in the mid 1990s.
Brett Pickett, General Manager of Baseball Operations for Australia Baseball is equally excited about the new program. "Australia is looking forward to training and playing games at your excellent facilities at Al Lang Field and Walter Fuller Complex. We are excited about these opportunities and hope to build a long-term relationship with the city of St. Petersburg and the State of Florida.”
Schedule and ticket information will be available soon. Details will be posted on the city's website, http://www.stpete.org/, as it becomes available.