Black Sox looking to catch new players

by Gazette Reporter
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BASEBALL club the Dublin Black Sox have kicked off a recruitment drive…

Formerly of Clondalkin, they are now based in Shankill and are on the lookout for anyone interested in taking part in the sport ahead of the new season.

They play out of Shanganagh Park, and are part of a little-publicised Irish baseball league that has been in place since the late 90s.

There’s plenty of Irish interest on the ground, as well as an abundance of players from traditional baseball hotbeds the USA, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Chris Mason, who plays with the Black Sox, was keen to tell GazetteSport of the inclusiveness of the sport in Ireland, in terms of welcoming a broad array of players and when it comes to ability.

“There’s space on the teams for anyone who wants to play regularly. One of the teams we played last year had an 80-year-old playing for them, and he plays in the same position as me. He was getting some great balls, I don’t know how he did it!”

Mason’s interest in baseball dates back to fuzzy images on NBC as a kid, though it took him a number of years to get involved in the sport outside of watching on TV. “It’s a young sport, and doesn’t get a lot of support in Ireland,” he tells us.

“The adult league is open to anyone aged 16+, and a lot of people come in having to learn simple things. Throwing, for example, is something you have to learn. You need someone to show you how to throw properly. It can be a little jarring to play a new sport, and people don’t always stick with it, but a lot of people transfer in from sports like hurling and cricket. There are parallels.”

“The game is spreading in Ireland,” he continues, “We have two divisions now, North and South. It’s all part time and amateur, so we often play two games on one day.”

“The rules are just the same as Major League baseball, and we’re working with Dublin City Council to get things set up as well as possible. We can supply bats and gloves; the club have invested a bit in that kind of stuff and there’s always equipment to use. All you really need is a pair of football shoes or trainers.”

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