8/7/19

It's a Long Road(trip) to Tipperary

6 comments
fans entering park prior to a Mets game

PARDON ME, LADDIE...
IS THERE BASEBALL IN IRELAND?

Having just made my inaugural visit to the Land of the Sod, Ireland, quite enjoyable I must say, despite having to drive on the wrong side of the car and road, I left wondering:

Is there baseball in Ireland?  

I drove with my wife all over the Emerald Isle, and saw nary the faintest trace of baseball anywhere.  We did have some rugby players in our hotel, though, there for some tournament or other.  But no baseball.

In my Irish-American family growing up, I had 5 brothers and a father who, along with myself, were all mostly-to-extremely avid baseball fans.  And my uncle used to go to Mets games in the 1960's with 6 packs of Schaefer, so there were other family fans as well.  

My cousins were SF Giants fans, and one of them told me he was, as a kid, captured in a photo of the last Giants game played at the Polo Grounds, walking off the field towards center field after the game. 

With so much family interest in baseball, and of course great players of Irish descent like Jeff McNeil, I wondered if any reverse osmosis was occurring, where the baseball ardor of Irish descendants living in the USA would seep back across the pond, so to speak.

Well, according to Wikipedia, below, the answer as to whether there is baseball in Ireland is "yes".

"Although the existence of baseball in Ireland is not widely known, the game has been played there since the early 1990s. What began with a few friends playing pickup games on football and rugby fields in Dublin and Greystones, soon grew into a small league.[2]
Ireland played its first game in international competition in 1996 against the Czech Republic, losing by a score of 23-2.[3] Since then Ireland has gone on to win a bronze in 2004 in Germany, a silver in Belgium in 2006 at the European Pool B Baseball Championships and the gold in Ireland in 2018 in the European Pool C Baseball Championships. Ireland's national team, although only ten years old, has won at least one game in every tournament it has entered including 1996, in Kingston upon Hull.
In the years since, baseball has spread throughout Ireland.
The game is currently played in AshbourneCavanShankhillDublinGreystonesBelfastCork and Kerry. Youth baseball is also played in Portstewart and Portrushin Northern Ireland.
The Irish National Baseball Team won its first bronze medal at the 2004 European Championships in Germany. In August 2006, the Irish National Baseball Team won the silver medal at the European Championships held in Antwerp, Belgium. They also competed in the European championships held in Vienna in Austria, Stockholm, Karlovac, Abranches, Antwerp, Barcelona and Ljubljana.
In 2018, the Irish National Baseball Team won the gold medal at the European Baseball Championship tournament held at the International Baseball Centre in Ashbourne, County Meath. By winning, the team advanced to the next round of Olympic qualifying in 2019.[4]
The Emerald Diamond, a documentary film released in 2006, chronicled the history of baseball in Ireland and the Irish National Baseball Team."

Well, if the Mets keep on winning, Irish eyes will sure be smiling here in New York.  We just need our fine Mets lads to keep on Dublin, not to mention homering.

Anyway, some photos from Ireland:

First, the clocktower that Pete Alonso will someday clear with a blast:


Second, a possible location for a Mets minors team in Ireland:


Third, image of entry gates to new Mets park in Ireland:


Fourth, no place like home for home games for the NY Leprechauns:


Fifth, me, just before doing a church fundraiser (well, no, not really, but I had you there for a second, didn't I?)


6 comments:

Mack Ade said...

Excellent visit to my sister homeland (I am a Black Irishman from the north).

Reese Kaplan said...

And despite my Jewish surname, my mother's maiden name was Cooney and I have at least 25% Irish blood.

I panicked for a minute when I thought of Tom in a fundraising concert. All I had were those defective 3M earplugs...

Tom Brennan said...

Even the shower cringes when I sing in it, Reese.

I did publish that picture on Facebook when I got back, and some of my "FB" friends were congratulating me on it - then I told them it was fake news LOL.

I wonder if a good business venture would be to put automatic pitch batting cages in Ireland. Who doesn't like to hit once they try it?

Mike Freire said...

Nice article and photos, Tom.

I, too, am 25% Irish (only the good parts, of course)!

Tom Brennan said...

I am, from what I understand, 75% Irish - my mother's side, her mother was adopted but supposedly half Irish, half German.

On her Irish side, my mother's great-great uncle was supposedly the archbishop of NYC (Archbishop Corrigan) and interred in St Patrick's Cathedral.

Mack Ade said...

I am 25% Church of England Northern Irishman.

The rest is German which I not proud of.

Mack's Mets © 2012