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  1. Correction: Craig Kimbrel is the Santo Hernandez of the US

    Comment by Ray — January 23, 2013 @ 11:26 am

  2. Seems Osman Marvel was a switch hitting catcher with zero plate discipline who has gained a lot in the last 2 seasons. Do IBL players ever make it back to the states and in the Majors?

    Comment by TKDC — January 23, 2013 @ 11:35 am

  3. “T&A San Marino”

    Sorry, Washington Nationals. I have a new favourite team.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — January 23, 2013 @ 11:45 am

  4. From that clip I surmise that Italian baseball is like baseball but without any fans.

    Comment by Simon Orr — January 23, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

  5. I hope baseball catches on in Italy. I think the Italians would really appreciate pitching. They could call pitches “belisima!”

    Comment by Aaron — January 23, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

  6. I’ll just leave this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGdQvqbIexk

    Comment by Aaron (UK) — January 23, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

  7. Being Italian, and being a baseball fan, and having played against or with most of the above mentioned player (mainly the Italian ones) I feel morally obliged to comment this post.

    What you wrote before is essentially true: IBL is not a terrible league, but without fans; I guess the average attendance is about 200 people and, in most of the ballparks, you don’t even have to pay to enter the gates.

    As regards the teams home cities being all charming and medieval, Carson, I am sorry to contradict you, but Novara is probably one of the least charming cities of Europe, being in the middle of a foggy plain where rice is cultivated, thus creating the perfect natural habitat for mosquitos. BILLIONS of mosquitos. I played a night game against them (5 no-hit innings with many BBs) some years ago and I had serious problems pitching from the windup because the mechanichs took too long and allowed mosquitos to land on my face.

    That said, it was nice to read a post about baseball in Italy here on fangraphs! I will root for at least a win / a good game against Canada and Mexico (hoping they will preserve their best pitchers for other games!)!

    Comment by Actual Italian Baseball Fan — January 23, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

  8. You are destroying my illusions, signore!

    Otherwise, excellent stuff here. Might I ask where are the nicest places to play / cities to visit in the IBL?

    Comment by Carson Cistulli — January 23, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

  9. Also with really wonky camera work. But the total lack of fans is rather bizarre, especially since it’s a 3-1 game in the 9th.

    Comment by Adam R — January 23, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

  10. The problem is the games take too long because the players can never tell the difference between coaches giving signal and just talking with their hands.

    Comment by TKDC — January 23, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

  11. I played with a fellow in 1992 who had pitched in the Italian League several years before. He said the rate was 50k dollars at that time, an apartment, and a car. Girls were free.

    Comment by james wilson — January 23, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

  12. Off the top of my head, Jason Simontacchi pitched in Italy before he caught on with the Cardinals. A few players have returned to the affiliated minors after playing in Italy, although Dave Nilsson is the only one who immediately comes to mind.

    Comment by gnomez — January 23, 2013 @ 2:45 pm

  13. While the girls may not have any initial investment costs the maintenance costs would be huge. Scooters and designer handbags do not purchase themselves.

    Comment by Simon Orr — January 23, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

  14. You can’t fool me into thinking that’s not a Marlins game! Look at those jerseys, its so obvious!

    Comment by Guy — January 23, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

  15. It’s me again, with a different name.

    Well, it depends on what you favor for a possible holiday here: baseball or tourism?

    Just a quick overview of the IBL cities:

    -San Marino: never been there actually, but it looks like a charming medieval town on a hill (you were right on it!) and they are one of the best teams year in, year out (a good friend of mine, Lorenzo Avagnina plays there)

    -Rimini & Godo: they are quite close to each other and San Marino is half an hour from Rimini, so the area is definitely worth a visit to increase the likelihood of assisting to some baseball here. From a touristic perspective, the area could be a bit overcrowded during summer, as it is full of clubs visited by people from all over Europe (and nothing more, basically), so it really depends on what you like.

    – Parma, Bologna (and MAYBE Reggio Emilia): they lie on a line, it’s one hour by car from Parma to Bologna and Reggio is somewhere in between; I still don’t know if Reggio will take part to IBL ’13. Parma and Bologna usually field good, competitive teams and the audience is among the most competent ones you could find in Italy. They are rather small cities, but surely worth a visit (Bologna and Parma, mainly). The food there is really amazing, so I would recommend at least a short stay there. By the way, they are not that far from the three cities mentioned above (consider 2+ hours from Parma to Rimini).

    -Nettuno: probably the most interesting Italian baseball experience; you can find all the best aspects of Italian baseball (Nettuno usually field a promising young crop of Italian-born players; a lot of people attending to ballgames -which, in Italy, means 2000-3000 at most!-) and all the worst aspects of Italy (they are not always “polite”, but it is part of their folklore!). Nettuno is one hour away from Rome, so it has a big positive from a touristic perspective.

    -Novara: I already told you about the city, not worth a visit. The team as well is pretty lousy, even though many of my former teammates are going to play with them and I hope they could improve their team. The only positive side of Novara is that it lies in between Torino (my city) and Milano which are, respectively an interesting city for a couple of days and a European shopping hub. They are connected via high-speed trains, so it is quite convenient to visit them both.

    All in all, consider that IBL games take place only during weekends. The last decade it was: Friday night (Thursday night for televised games) for foreign pitchers; Saturday afternoon for foreign pitcher with Italian passport and Saturday night for Italian born pitchers. Because of economics problems, they are planning to reduce to two games per week, always during weekends. This is not completely bad news, since you could take the rest of the week for visiting Italy and, maybe, move from one place to another!

    If you require any further detail, just ask, it will be a pleasure to help, signore!

    Comment by Federico — January 23, 2013 @ 6:10 pm

  16. Sir! I can’t reply on your lower post, but thank you very much for the information. A very helpful reference!

    Comment by Carson Cistulli — January 23, 2013 @ 8:03 pm

  17. Also, I remember a Phillies fan back in 2003 telling me how much better Anderson Machado was going to be than Jimmy Rollins.

    Comment by gnomez — January 24, 2013 @ 12:50 am

  18. I don’t see the stats for the pope.

    Comment by slash12 — January 24, 2013 @ 9:55 am

  19. How can you not go with GOD? No way they can lose.

    Comment by Twain — January 24, 2013 @ 10:56 am

  20. Interesting and funny to read post, Carson.
    Good job.

    I’m Emilio, from Italy, happy to read some italian-baseball-related articles.
    Did you know you have italian readers? now you know.

    Baseball in Italy is considered a ‘minor’ sport. No tv coverage. No printed-magazine coverage. The player train more days than they play. But they train (almost) like the Pro. And the (few) fans know baseball like the Pro.

    No surprise to me, to see Osman Marval in that position: he’s the best catcher defensively and offensively speaking I saw in more than the last ten years in Italy. I’d say he was the only real baseball player of the 2012 IBL season.

    I will repost your article in my blog.

    Comment by ET Sport — January 24, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

  21. Dear Carson

    I apologize …. And I Know that you probably get bored during this long offseason… But please

    Comment by Italian baseball fan — February 4, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

  22. As in italian baseball fan, when i first red this article i tought “wow…someone in the baseball home nation (and not just someone but fangraphs) is interested in our players!! cool!” but suddenly,
    continuing reading, overall the comments, my good sensation blew up and a sad smile taken place on my face. So, this is (correctly)the way we are perceived in Us.
    A nice country where to live, and visit (I really appreciated your comment Federico even if starting from baseball and ending as an IBL travel agency let me a bit sad), with the pope and
    full of people talking with theyr hands (i admit that this one make me sincerly laugh really much, i m not sarcastic).
    Probabily the sense of the article and all of the comments are correct and Federico did right to show our national beauties, really nothing bad with it.
    Compile an IBL scout leaderboard was an hazardous overall if compared to an mlb scout leaderboard.
    Our national baseball is still too far from US baseball.
    We suffer the competition with Soccer (our main sport), baseketball and volleyball. Italian media, unfortunatly, do not have attention at all for Baseball.
    Watching an IBL game on the telly (if you are lucky at 02.00 a.m. on thursday ) its so sad that you probabily prefer to watch an economic conference in a local channel.
    The point is that is indipendent from the baseball level of the game. Just One fixed camera and a so boring speaker that is just a good way to fallen in sleep.
    BUT, running the risk to go OT, I don’t think all this stuff fully reflects our entire movement.
    We have some good points, that i would like to show you, just with the purpose to help to understand italian baseball and nothing more:

    1) There are more baseball diamonds in Italy than all the europe and this means that baseball is more popular locally than nationally
    2) Italy won in the final game with Dutch, the last european baseball title
    3) The techincal level of our coaches is excellent and professional
    4) Talking about numbers, We have a good youth movement (and this is strictly linked to our national team’s results)
    5) A new era of mangers is growing up (and i m talking about the national baseball federation) able to work with social networks, and new media tools

    We have to persist with it! and this is why WBC 2013 its so important for us.
    Even if as a fan, i always think we have the chance to win, its more important for the movement just to be there.

    Thanks Carson!

    Comment by Marco — February 7, 2013 @ 8:37 am

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