The Slovenia Times

I Love This Game



However, the first wave of interest subsided as early as 1928 and it took nearly 50 years, before the game appeared again in 1974 - in the very same place where it had emerged before - Split. In the 1980s, there were two leagues in Yugoslavia, and Slovenia was represented by eight teams. Some of them still form the backbone of Slovenian baseball today. The first Slovenian baseball club was set up in 1975 at Jezica, to the north of Ljubljana, and they are still playing today, although to begin with the players encountered many difficulties. The biggest one was probably the lack of equipment as half of the team usually played without gloves. It also took quite some time before the players became completely acquainted with the rules. In the 80s, a new wave of enthusiasm appeared for the sport in Gorenjska, in both Kranj and Skofja Loka, where baseball is still played today. Also at this time baseball camps were organized at Planica, under the famous ski-jumping hills. The camps were attended by players from all parts of former Yugoslavia and coached by Italian coaches. A new beginning Altogether there are approximately 300 registered players in Slovenia. The game was given a boost after independence in 1991, although there was no particular reason to account for this. The fact is that despite many difficulties the number of players is growing and the clubs are still running. As with all non-mainstream sports, the clubs face financial problems, there are no proper grounds, and things are often left to enthusiastic individuals. However, some teams are doing their best to keep in touch with international trends. Slovenian clubs regularly play against Croatian, Hungarian and Serbian teams, two European club championships were held in Ljubljana in 1991 and 1992, and established coaches occasionally give lectures in Slovenia, while Zajcki baseball club have even trained in the USA and Cuba. In 1994, the first book on baseball in Slovene was published. It was written by Viktor Bencan, who graduated from the Faculty of Sport in baseball. The national baseball league consists of six clubs: Mecarice (Koper), Kranjski Lisjaki (originally from Kranj, but who now play their matches at the old barracks in Skofja Loka), Golovec, Jezica, Zajcki (Ljubljana) and Novo Mesto. This year's finals were played between Zajcki and Jezica but the result had not been decided when we went to press. Zajcki were leading 2-0 in the series. Zajcki are the most successful Slovenian team in recent history. They have been national champions seven times, including 5 times in a row between 1994 and 1998. In 1984 they won the Yugoslav national championship. Their home ground is OS Polje (Polje Elementary School, Polje 356, on Zaloska cesta) in east Ljubljana. In 1991 and 1992 they came third and second respectively in the European club championship. However, we should bear in mind that only Italy and The Netherlands have professional baseball leagues.


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