One of the best applications of blogging as journalism is to provide coverage of niche topics that are of deep interest to a particular community, but would never get much coverage in a publication that has to appeal to a mass audience.
And that includes sport. A team representing Great Britain is doing remarkably well at a European championship that doubles as a qualifying tournament for the 2008 Olympics, but you probably won’t more than a few nibs about it in the papers.
The tournament in question, of course, is the European Baseball Championships 2007, which is on this week in Barcelona.
What? You hadn’t heard it was going on?
Enter niche media. For the that rare thing, the fan of European international baseball, several games are being carried live on the French online video site StadeoTV, and the games of the tournament’s second stage, which starts tomorrow, will be broadcast live on Eurosport 2 (that’s on Sky Channel 411).
In the meantime, the best place to follow the tournament is a specialist blog. And, of course, that blog exists. The European baseball blog Mister Baseball has been doing a great job covering the tournament.
And there are plenty of great stories to report. The tournament is a qualifier for the Beijing Olympics. Becasuse of teh IOC’s decision to scrap baseball from the 2012 Olympic programme, it is the last chance for any of the participating teams to reach the Olympics.
With everything to play for, the Great Britain programme changed its recruitment strategy and redoubled its efforts to find baseball players with British passports beyond the tiny number who play in the Europe’s semi-professional leagues. The recruitment drive, which unearthed several of her Majesty’s subjects playing professionally in North America, seems to be paying dividends. Great Britain, usually a marginal team in European competitions, have won three of their four games so far and are sitting atop their group with only one game to play in the round-robin stage.
GB’s only defeat so far has come at the hands of Italy — one of only nations who have won this competition since 1969. (Italy and Holland usually face each other in the final. Holland usually wins.)
Great Britain’s final first-round game, against the winless Ukraine, is now underway. The only news of the game’s progress will be on the web.
Update: Great Britain won today 9-0, and have therefore won the group. All eyes will be on tonight’s game between Spain and France. The winner will be second and the loser third. In the biggest shock so far, perennial power Italy will finish fourth and therefore not be going through to the winners’ bracket.