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Believe it or not, baseball actually has a long history sur le sol français (on French soil). The first game played in France, occurred on March 8, 1889. Le premier championnat (the first tournament) took place during World War I. Today, baseball is known as a primarily American sport in France and is not given much media coverage despite its long history in the country. Professional baseball in France is overseen by la Fédération française de baseball et softball.
Since we are in the midst of another World Series this week, we’ll look into the role baseball plays in France today. L’équipe de France de baseball is the French national team, which represents the country in both le Championnat d’Europe de baseball and la Coupe du monde de baseball. L’équipe de France de baseball played its first game in 1929 against l’Éspagne (Spain). In 1999, the team took third place in the European championship. However, that was its highest ranking in recent years. In 2016, France finished in seventh place out of twelve teams participating in the championship. Les Pays-Bas (The Netherlands) placed first in that championship, with Spain and Italy taking second and third place, respectively.
Here are some French baseball terms and their equivalents in English:
Arrêt-court : shortstop
Atteindre une base : to advance a base
Balle courbe : curve ball
Balle rapide : fastball
Coup de circuit : a home run
À domicile : at home
Flèche : a line drive
Frappeur : batter or hitter
Losange : baseball diamond
Monticule : pitcher’s mound
Prise : strike
Retrait sur trois prises : strike out
Sauf : safe
Voltigeur ou joueur de champ extérieur : outfielder
In Québec, baseball is a larger part of local culture with the Québec Capitales the popular local team. Québecois baseball terminology differs in some way from the French terms listed above. Les Capitales won their seventh championship in 2017 when they defeated Rockland Boulders.
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