My heart is breaking, as much as I love baseball and America. For reasons, I can not explain, there is something about Paris, that I am drawn to. It has been a lifelong dream to visit and to live there. I once met a French family at a shop where I was working, and I asked “if I ever get to France where should I go?” I will never forget what she said.
” You must go to Paris, i know it sounds cliche, but television and movies do it no justice. It is the most beautiful city in the world. There is magic in the streets and that magic becomes apart of you as your walk the streets”
I know today you will see horrible images of this beautiful city. I think about the French women’s words and I thought I would share a positive article of Paris and France and Baseball. Parlez-vous Baseball was published last year. Nothing will make me stop dreaming my dream.
I have a confession. As much as I love America’s pastime, I also love everything French. I guess you could call me a Francophile. In 1999, when a new pitcher named Jeff Zimmerman came to the Rangers, I was excited as always. When I heard that he had played baseball in France, I stopped dead in my tracks. I could live in France and have baseball! Cue me at the airport with a glove in one hand and a beret on my head. OK, back to reality, Miss Baseball. I have often thought of traveling to France, and I am telling you, when this blog takes off, I will do a whole month worth of blogs about the French leagues. Until then, I can only hope to write about the history and some very exciting current events going on in France.
Let’s start with a history lesson. The French national team began playing in the 1920s and started competing in 1955 finishing, dead last at 5th place. In 1994, the French team made it to the World Cup, (They have one for baseball, who knew?) where they lost to South Africa and ranked last again, in 16th place. They have made it two other times, and not one win.
When it comes to the European Baseball Championship, France was in 21 games and made it to 3rd place in 1999, and in 2012 finished 8th but lost to South Africa again.
Now to the present. The French national team has named Eric Gagne new head coach to prep for the 2014 European Championships, where they finished 6th this year. With that finish, they are now able to be in the World Baseball Classic in 2017 (a huge tournament that only comes every 4 years). So that is all about Team France.
Now let’s talk about the Division Elite, the French pro league. It is made up of 8 teams that play 28 games on the weekends. A quick French lesson: We would say in America the Kansas City Royals or the Texas Rangers. In France, they would say Royals de Kansas City or Rangers de Texas. So when I show you the teams’ names, I am using the French language. So the teams are Cougars de Montigny, Barracudas de Montpellier (where Jeff Zimmerman played), Paris Universite Club, Pantheres de Pessac, Rouen Baseball 76, Lions de Savigny-sur-Orge, Templiers de Senart and Tigers de Toulouse.
Well, there’s not much, is there? Well, this is a little league, and honestly, they need some fandom from Miss Baseball! If you have the chance to go France, take me with you! (Looking around, who said that?)
Check out the Division Elite. Until then, ’cause it’s Un, Duex, Trois strikes you’re out at the old French ballgame.
*Miss Baseball is not that smart. She used several resources for this article: http://www.ffbsc.org, Wikipedia.org/wiki/Division_Elite, webdoc.france24.com/baseball-in-france, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/29/sports/baseball/baseball-in-france.