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Eagles struggle in inaugural season


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#1
jlurban

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The announcement of the NPF's newest team, the Beijing Shougang Eagles, was met with much fanfare and enthusiasm three months ago.  But the team has struggled competitively on the field (see the separate topic Why Are the Beijing Eagles So Bad?).  With a current record of 2-35 and with only a few weeks left in the 2017 season, it is in grave danger of finishing with the worst regular season record in the history of the league (that dubious distinction is currently held by the Carolina Diamonds at 6-32).
 
But regardless of its final win-loss tally, its very existence has been historic.  As the NPF's first international team, it represents an initial step in the league's overall plan to include the world's best players in its lineup.
  

News release from the NPF website, posted 4/11/17:

 

National Pro Fastpitch Announces Addition of Chinese Team Beginning With 2017 Season

 

NASHVILLE – National Pro Fastpitch announced the addition of a sixth affiliate team that will begin participation when the 2017 regular season launches June 1. The team, Beijing Shougang, is managed by the Chinese Softball Association (CSA) and will be made up of players currently in the national team pool for CSA, along with a select few American team members. 

 

Although the team is managed by CSA, its eventual permanent home location for NPF competition will be located in the United States and announced at a later date. This season, Beijing Shougang will play all “home” games in current home venues of the other five affiliate NPF teams. 

 

This move is an unprecedented and outstanding step forward for Chinese Softball and a ground-breaking experiment for the Chinese softball team.

 

“We hope that participating in NPF competition will accelerate the skills advancement of our players in the near term,” explained the CEO of Beijing Shougang Sports, Qin Xiaowen. “Looking ahead, the company plans to invest in the future development of professional baseball and softball and promote the development of other related projects in China.”

 

The 2017 schedule which was announced earlier this year has been adjusted and revised to accommodate even competition between the six teams. That schedule consists of 150 regular season games, 50 for each team, broken down to 25 home and 25 away games. 

 

The roster for Beijing Shougang is expected to be at maximum capacity of 26 players with the majority of those players being Chinese and identified in the CSA pool of athletes training for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, where softball will once again be on the slate of medal sports. The team expects to add a handful of American players that will compliment the existing Chinese roster and enhance the team’s competitiveness for NPF competition, specifically in the area of pitching. 

 

“This is a landmark move for the league and one we are extremely proud to announce,” commented NPF Commissioner, Cheri Kempf. “It continues to be a priority of the league, to include the world’s best players and to impact the growth, development and popularity of this incredible game on a global scale. This addition, on top of the involvement of Softball Australia, which was announced earlier this year, speaks loudly to our goals and commitment to doing that.”



#2
MammaZord

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The Shougang Eagles are coached by Teresa Wilson. She was the coach of the aforementioned Carolina Diamonds. Looks like she coached the Diamonds the season after their abysmal 6-26 season in 2011. I can not seem to find the Diamonds record for 2012. Either way, I am sure it is not easy coaching teams that are so so bad. 



#3
In-the-stands

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"But regardless of its final win-loss tally, its very existence has been historic.  As the NPF's first international team, it represents an initial step in the league's overall plan to include the world's best players in its lineup".

 

An interesting quote. On any given day a well oiled 18U travel team could have beat the Eagles. How then does this move represent the "world's best players"?  The FACT and it is now a fact, is that is doesn't. What it represents is a combination of poor foresight, bad planning, greed, disastrous marketing and poor leadership.

 

From a fan perspective, to add insult to injury, the league now sees fit to add a second Chinese team, a development one at that, which apparently will prove to be even poorer than the Eagles. Perhaps a well oiled 14U team will beat them.

 

This does not represent the best of the best, not even close. You would see better quality ball watching a bracket game at Sparkler in Denver than paying money to watch these two teams.



#4
SpartanIlliniCub

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So now a league without its defending champ and its biggest start will have a less competitive, watered down product.    And there is no guarantee even these international teams will stick around if softball is out of the Olympics after Tokyo 2020.  Things are looking pretty darn bad for the NPF for the 2018 season and for the future after that...






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