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Baseball and Softball in Georgia

When we talk about Georgia’s western political orientation, we should in the first place load this ideological stance with related content. And the most relevant content of this nation’s political orientation is our westernization in every possible respect and direction. Knowledge of the English language is foremost among the merits that make us sound western, but it is not everything, although we are doing quite well in terms of our linguistic qualification. The adoption of the most characteristic western manners and the most well-known western traditions would be helpful too, including the sporting ones. For instance, playing cricket would make us look very British and playing baseball and softball would have us feel like real McCoy Americans. As a matter of fact, this is one of the ways the nations of the world are getting to know each other more closely.

Georgians have already tasted both baseball and softball. We even have a federation of these sports which is trying its very best to give our people a sensation of being into this outstanding American pastime. I remember like yesterday something which happened back in 1989 when I was in America on one of my journalistic stints, working as correspondent for the NBC affiliate television channel in Atlanta, Georgia, called 11-Alive. The station once gave me an assignment to create a story about my first ever baseball match. Incidentally, that day I signed more than 200 baseballs for the fans. The feeling was absolutely unique, especially because I then started dreaming of having it transplanted onto our soil. What a delight that it eventually happened thanks to the efforts and enthusiasm of Gela Chikhradze and Ramaz Goglidze – the two Georgian gentlemen who managed to bring the wonderful baseball seed to our Georgia from the American Georgia. The seed was sowed and it bore fruit although it still needs a lot of nurturing yet for it flourish into a real healthy and full-grown baseball tree.

Last Saturday, the Congress of the Georgian Baseball and Softball Federation was held, with a very impressive turnout, to elect a new president and to introduce certain necessary changes in rules and regulations. The event was a real success, especially because, for the first time in history, a genuine baseball player was elected President of the Federation – unanimously! Davit Khrikadze, a famous baseball player of recent times, one of the best in the USSR, used to play for the national team of the Soviet Union. He is currently a well-known businessman and public figure who promised Congress participants he would breathe new life into baseball and softball in Georgia. I am more than sure he will do his utmost to keep his word.

The annual report which was presented to the Congress by the Secretary General of the Federation, Giorgi Datunashvili, reflected all the highlights of Georgian baseball and softball that deserved attention.

The Georgian baseball and softball teams have successfully played in Europe and America, all thanks to talent and enthusiasm because of the paucity of funding. But nobody wants to be pessimistic among the brave players and their fans. Well-known coaches Gia Kemoklidze and Nugzar Kapanadze are always poised and ready to give more impetus to the new-born sports in Georgia, doing this with love and with their weathered professionalism.

It is so fortunate that American ambassadors in Georgia are great fans of Georgian baseball and softball: they never miss the opportunity to attend a match, especially the already traditional spring and autumn friendlies between the American Marines and the Georgian national team.

Somebody might ask– why baseball and softball? These sports are elegant and enticing; one needs to possess all the following features taken together to perform well – physical strength, talent and smarts. On top of all that, the baseball-softball combination is unisex meaning the whole country can play it. To cut it short, Georgians fit perfectly in both these sports and vice versa, both fit well in our sporting life. As the new Federation President Khrikadze noted, baseball and softball are actual Georgian sports. Don’t laugh at this – he is right!

Nugzar B. Ruhadze

15 December 2016 18:49