Sunday, May 09, 2010

Baseball in Sweden

Yesterday was the home opener for the Sundbyberg Heat, Stockholm’s very own professional baseball team. Or baseboll as it is so lovingly known here in Sweden. And in an homage to the great Ernie Banks, a double header was in the cards.

Despite it being May 7th, the temperature hovered right around five degrees Celsius. That’s a solid 41 degrees Fahrenheit. And it rained. Not a light, spring rain, but that miserable biting rain that soaks you to your very soul. All in all, not exactly the kind of spring weather I usually associate with opening day baseball.

Neither did the Swedes, judging by the sparse crowd. Now estimating the number of people in large crowds can be difficult. Luckily, that wasn’t a problem yesterday and so, with my superior math skills, I placed the estimated crowd at about 20. Five of whom were all under the age of about six. But it was a raucous crowd of 20.

The game was out of hand pretty quick with Sundbyberg jumping out to what would prove to be an insurmountable lead. It may have had something to do with the fact that Eskilstuna’s pitcher looked to be throwing what can best be described as volleyballs.

I’ll be honest; I didn’t stay for both games. Hell, I didn’t even stay for the full first game. I have limits. And those limits kick in right around the 14-0 mark. And when the temperature is just above freezing. And when the rain isn’t letting up. And when there have already been seven errors between the two teams in the bottom of the 5th.
Sundbyberg ended up winning both games, the first 14-0 in only seven innings helping them to move up to the .500 mark in Elitserien Baseboll standings. Their next home game will be May 29th against Göteborg, currently even with Sundbyberg at .500.

Despite the weather, and the less than competitive game, it was a lot of fun. It was good to see a bit of baseball being played, even though it is painfully obvious that the sport has a ways to go before making it into the national discussion. But the grass was green, the ball was white, and the hot dogs delicious. And that’s all that mattered.

Welcome to Sweden. And baseboll.

Subscribe to a Swedish American in Sweden


  1. The important thing is to have fun =)

    Here in Brazil baseball is not popular ...
    But watch on TV =)

  2. Go watch some football (soccer) instead.

  3. As always - you make me laugh!

  4. Hey Harry!

    Great to see that you came out to watch a little baseball and write a post about it. Think I saw you with the camera while I was pitching. I was the starter for Sundbyberg the first game. I hope that you can make it out again sometime again when we have better weather and the competition is stronger.

  5. I've never even seen a baseball diamond in Denmark - those swedes are progressive ;)

  6. Anon #1: He has already been to at least one soccer game that he has written about.

  7. Haha Baseball isnt that popular in Sweden huh?

  8. @Carolina – agreed, and I did have quite a bit of fun!

    @anonymous – I’ve tried. Unfortuantely, I don’t like it. And Swedish soccer is hard to watch anyway.

    @terander – glad to be of some use!

    @nick – absolutely, it was a lot of fun. Im going to try to make another game or two, and try to be less obvious with my camera. Try to keep it a little closer next time!

    @PiNG – they even had some world championships in baseball here a little while ago.

    @JL – very true. Ive actually been to a couple of games live here in Sweden. I think Ive made a valiant effort to like the sport and just cant do it.

    @Eric – not at all. Not yet at least.

  9. Hairy,

    My son played for the team in Karlskoga in 2009, just after finishing his college career in Texas. At the time there were eight professional teams in Sweden and I believe each team was allowed to have two American players. They didn't play in huge stadiums in front of big crowds and
    the players didn't make much money,but, as you pointed out, it was baseball. It was pitching and hitting and stealing and sliding and diving to catch balls and high-fiving. I was amazed at how much the Swedish players kept up with Major League baseball in the U.S.
    I spent a week there watching games in late July and the weather was perfect.

  10. Thats awesome! I really enjoyed seeing it.