The Wolfhounds roster includes players with college and professional experience. Each player has, or qualifies for, Irish citizenship. Each player is eligible to represent Ireland in the Olympics and World Baseball Classic. Among the players already committed to the Wolfhounds roster are former New York Mets pitcher Ryan O’Rourke.
“This team has a very clear purpose,” explained Wolfhounds General Manager John Fitzgerald. “We want to show the world that Ireland has enough talent to get to the World Baseball Classic.”
The Wolfhounds will face the NY Finest Baseball Club, a team of all-stars from the NYPD. The NY Finest club is no stranger to international competition, having national teams when they pass through New York.
“We love the competition and the international element adds to the excitement,” explained NY Finest Team President Jose Vasquez.
“The Wolfhounds look like the real deal, so we’ll be ready.”
The game will be followed by that night’s regularly scheduled New York Boulders game against the Lake Erie Crushers.
“This is our Irish Heritage Night, which is always a special night for our fans” explained New York Boulders Team President Shawn Reilly. “This year, fans get to see Ireland take a step towards the WBC, they get to see a minor league ballgame, and they get to see postgame fireworks!”
The Irish Wolfhounds Baseball Club is a project of the Irish American Baseball Society, a non-profit organization that supports youth baseball programs in Ireland and operates the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Irish American Baseball Society celebrates the Irish impact on the game of baseball and supports the development of youth baseball programs in Ireland and America. Membership is open to anyone who loves baseball and Ireland, regardless of their ancestral heritage. For more information, visit IrishBaseball.org.
The Irish American Baseball Society is a non-profit subsidiary of Emerald Diamond International. For more information, visit EmeraldDiamond.org.
Meanwhile, there is a petition online created by Fitzgerald that calls for the end of quotas that are preventing dual citizens from playing for Ireland.
It says in part, “Baseball Ireland has implemented quotas for Ireland's National Team. The quotas prevent Irish citizens, and those eligible to receive Irish citizenship, from receiving fair and equal consideration to be selected for the team. Quotas are being used to limit the number of dual citizens on the field and in the lineup. As a result of these quotas, Team Ireland has struggled to advance beyond the lowest level of European international competition. Regardless of intent, these quotas adversely affect the potential of Ireland's National Baseball Program to reach the World Baseball Classic and the Olympics.
“We call upon Baseball Ireland, which operates under the auspices of the Irish Baseball and Softball Federation (IBSF), the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), and the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI), to eliminate quotas, to treat all Irish citizens fairly and equally, and to make a successful National Baseball program a priority of the organization.”
The petition, which has almost 900 signatures, can be viewed at Change.org.