National officials in Seattle Friday for host city evaluation
The Mariners didn’t make it to the playoffs again this year, but they’re not the only team working to bring a World Series to the Puget Sound area.
The Emerald City Softball Association, Seattle’s Gay softball organization, is bidding to host the 2008 Gay Softball World Series — and officials from Gay softball’s national governing body will be in Seattle on Friday and Saturday reviewing venues and facilities proposed for the event.
More than 4,000 players, coaches, umpires, and spectators would be expected for the weeklong tournament, tentatively proposed for August 23-30, 2008.
The 2008 Gay Softball World Series would be one of the largest sports events ever held in the Puget Sound region — bringing even more athletes to the area than the 1990 Goodwill Games, organizers said.
“We have a lot of pride in our region,” said bid chairman Frank Pichinini. “Hosting this event will give us the opportunity to show off the great area we live in.”
Site reviews from the national organization are the final step in the bid process prior to the formal bid presentation later this winter. Although Seattle is the only city bidding for the event, delegates from member leagues of the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) will still vote to approve Seattle’s bid at its winter meetings next February in Phoenix.
The tournament would be held at several softball complexes throughout South King County, with Seattle becoming the hub for opening and closing ceremonies, plus other special events and nighttime activities throughout the week.
Seattle last hosted the Gay Softball World Series in 1995, which at the time was the largest event in its history. Organizers hope to repeat that claim for the 2008 World Series, which will be the 32nd annual competition.
By 2008, more than 200 teams will be expected to compete. New cities continue to join NAGAAA on an almost annual basis, most recently the Gay softball leagues from Oklahoma City and Palm Springs.
NAGAAA, an international association of Gay and Lesbian softball leagues, has 56 member leagues in 35 cities. The best teams from each league advance to the Gay Softball World Series (GSWS), which is held annually by a NAGAAA member city.
The Gay Softball World Series consists of both an Open and Women’s Division, and crowns champions in four different skill levels (“A”, “B”, “C”, and “D”) within each division. Seattle’s Emerald City Softball Association (ECSA) is among the largest in the country.
The ECSA Open and Women’s Division combine to form 47 teams, which is the largest Gay league for a team sport in Seattle. In recent years, Seattle teams have performed very well at the World Series, winning championships in three of the past four years.
Although Seattle is bidding for the World Series uncontested, the bid committee is hard at work putting together plans for a successful event. Shortly after the formal site selection next year, Seattle will be quickly putting together working committees organize opening and closing ceremonies and other special events, marketing, sponsorship, and community relations.
For more information about Seattle’s bid, visit http://www.seattleGaysoftball.com/gsws
A EmeraldCity Softball Association press release