As France moves forward with its multi-stage COVID-19 defconfinement, there are signs too that the long lockdown on French baseball may also lift — finally.
For the semi-pro D1 league, cancelled outright in 2020 and already delayed twice this year, that could mean the return of real-live baseball games starting in just a few weeks.
The sport’s governing body in France, the FFBS, hasn’t made any official announcement yet, but it did quietly update the 2021 D1 schedule in recent days to suggest that Opening Day will now take place on Sunday, June 13.
Eleven clubs, divided into two pools, will compete in this year’s D1, with a 10-week regular-phase of the season that concludes on the weekend of Aug. 21/22.
For now, the schedule doesn’t include precise dates for the playoffs or finals stage of the season, but the FFBS did just announce via Facebook that the Challenge de France, traditionally a mid-season tournament (for the league’s top eight teams), will take place beginning Sept. 2.
France’s national women’s softball team, in the meantime, is already taking the field — starting today! — for a three-game friendly series against Team Spain. The action is taking place in Sant Boi, across the border in Catalunya.
The French men’s baseball team will have a change to play as well in the too distant future, when the 2021 European Baseball Championships, in northern Italy, kick off Sept. 12.
As Le Baseblog reported earlier, Les Bleus are grouped with Israel, Great Britain and the winner of a qualifier tournament set to take place this summer in Moscow. Even more encouraging is that it’s now been revealed exactly when and where to those opening-round games will take place.
The Euro schedule, made public just today, has Team France playing its first game (on Sept. 12) against Great Britain. The game will take place in the mountainside city of Avigliana, with first pitch at 8:30 p.m.
The squad will play again the next day, against Israel, in the same venue but starting at 4 p.m. And on Sept. 14, Les Bleus have a morning game (10:30 a.m. start) against the winner of the Moscow tournament, which will feature the national teams of host Russia, Switzerland, Belarus, Turkey and Slovenia.