Baseball gains an additional Olympic Torch Bearer
Thu 24 May 2012
Manchester Softball League Head Harry Somers and Norman Wells, Honorary President of the Liverpool Trojans Baseball Club, have already been selected by a special Sport England panel to be Olympic Torch Bearers. They will now be joined by Jason Greenberg, Director of Operations and former General Manager of Team GB and a founder member of the 2011 NBL Champion Southern (now Harlow) Nationals.
Baseball and softball were already represented among the 8,000 Olympic Torch Bearers who will carry the flame on an 8,000-mile journey throughout Britain later this year before the torch finally comes to rest in Olympic Park.
Manchester Softball League Head Harry Somers will carry the Torch in Knutsford, Cheshire on Thursday, May 31 and Norman Wells, Honorary President of the Liverpool Trojans Baseball Club, will carry the flame in Ormskirk, West Lancashire on Friday, June 1.
But now Sport England has appointed a third Torch Bearer from our sports – Jason Greenberg, Director of Operations and former General Manager of the GB Baseball National Team, founder member of the 2011 NBL Champion Southern (now Harlow) Nationals and Marketing, Communications and Events Manager for BaseballSoftballUK.
Jason will carry the Olympic torch on one of the last legs before it gets to the Olympic Stadium, in Merton, South London on Monday, July 23.
Between May 19 and July 27, the torch will pass through 1,018 cities, towns and villages in the UK, and on the last day of the 70-day relay it will travel down the River Thames to Olympic Park for the Opening Ceremony.
According to LOCOG, the Olympic Games organising agency, the torch will come within 10 miles of 95% of the population on its journey, passing through every English county and every local authority area in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
The Torch Bearers
Harry Somers has been an active volunteer throughout the 20-year history of the Manchester Softball League (MSL) and has been League Head for the past three years, during which time the MSL was awarded the League Glover Cup by the British Softball Federation for progressive development.
Harry has also played a key role in securing funding and overseeing the construction of the first purpose-built softball diamond in the North of England at Parrs Wood School and Sports Centre in Didsbury. The diamond, which has a dirt infield and permanent outfield fence, has played a key role in attracting new players to the MSL, and the GB Slowpitch Team plans to hold training sessions on the field.
Norman Wells has been an active baseball player, coach and volunteer since 1946 as a founder member of the Liverpool Trojans and he is still involved as a scorer and avid spectator and as the club's Honorary President. Norman led the club to five consecutive national finals and three British championships between 1976 and 1980 and the club continues to compete regularly at national finals.
Last year, Norman's efforts were recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Sefton Borough Council in October 2011 and at the Merseyside Sporting Champions dinner in Liverpool in November 2011.
Jason Greenberg has been an instrumental figure in shaping baseball in Britain on both a domestic and international level. A dual UK/US national, Jason moved to Britain in 2005 and joined the Herts Baseball Club where he served as adult programme director and manager of the Herts Falcons from 2008-2010. In 2011 Jason formed a new team, the Southern Nationals (now Harlow Nationals) where he and his co-founders championed a strategy around encouraging young players to compete with the adult team to aid their development. In their inaugural season the Nationals won the National Baseball League crown with a 17-year old on the mound to win the Championship game.
Jason has also been a key volunteer with Great Britain Baseball where for the past two years he has served as General Manager for the Senior GB team as well as Director of Operations for the programme. In this time Jason has overseen a successful period for Team GB, including victory in the European Championship Qualifier in July 2011 in Tel Aviv, Israel and a successful bid to Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association for inclusion in the prestigious World Baseball Classic qualifier for the first time. Perhaps more important though has been Jason’s work behind the scenes where he has worked tirelessly to enable players to represent their country in a sport that receives no government funding whatsoever. Jason has recently passed on the GM torch to Brendan Cunliffe and will shortly be standing down from his other roles – including full-time employment with BaseballSoftballUK -- as he has taken a position in San Francisco and will soon relocate to the United States with his wife and son. As such, being nominated to carry the Olympic flame will be reward for and celebration of Jason’s work.