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Jan '15 12

Alex Liddi joins Kansas City Royals Organization

Italian third baseman Alex Liddi, the first player from the MLB European Academy to reach Major League Baseball, has signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals according to FIBS.it. He will probably start the season with the Triple-A affiliate of the Royals in Omaha. In the past year he spent time with the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers organizations.


  1. Comment by fred4945
    January 12, 2015 | 9:32 pm

    Another failure from European baseball. Just like all Europeans before him, Liddi has now failed with Seattle, who gave him every chance in the world, Baltimore, the White Sox, and the Dodgers. He can’t hit. 230 in the minors. He’s a pedestrian 3b and an awful outfielder.

    Why does MLB waste roster spots, which could go to good Americans, on these guys? No European has ever played a full season for a MLB team, and they’ve been playing the game for 100 years over there.

  2. Comment by mark
    January 13, 2015 | 8:13 pm

    Hey Fred,

    can you please post a link to Baseball-reference.com so that we all can appreciate your MLB-stats? I am sure that those statistics will show that you had a better career than Alex.

    Thanks in advance,


  3. Comment by fred4945
    January 14, 2015 | 1:00 am


    Your point — if you had one — would be that only those who played MLB are entitled to comment? Juvenile and absurd.

    The fact is that the effort to get a European player into the Big Leagues has been a fabulously expensive utter failure.

    And Mark, sweetie, I’ve coached the game in the USA for over 3 decades. Tell us your experience.

  4. Comment by mark
    January 14, 2015 | 7:59 am

    Hey Fred,

    Thanks for your reply. I had a verd bad day at work yesterday and tried to find a way to feel better. Looking at your posts, I thought it would be a nice idea to follow your example and to pick on somebody. Thanks for jumping trough that hoop. You made my day already.
    I can explain why I don’t like your comments (all of them). You always point out how bad european Baseball is compared to America. This is true and will always be true.
    What you obviously don’t understand/know/appreciate is the huge effort every European Baseball Player has to give to start and run a club. Europe is soccer and Baseball is a pure underdog. You have to fight for everything, Players, Money, Fields, Media Attention etc, everything that is given in the US where it is the national pasttime.
    When I started in the late 80ies, it was common to play first league games on soccer fields and you had to build to whole diamond on every single gameday! The facilities improved drastically in the last twenty years and the level of play as well. When I started, I could not imagine that so many Europeans will play professionally in the States and knock on MLB’s door.
    We have come a long way and we are still on our way.
    You obviously ignore that. Perhaps you should read e.g. ‘Baseball in Europe’ (see left) first to get a basic idea. Perhaps this will cure your arrogance. Likely not. Someone who coached for thirty years in the states knows everything (that’s what I learned from you).

    Best regards,


  5. Comment by fred4945
    January 15, 2015 | 5:12 am


    So, you had to work a little for what you got. Hoorah! Who hasn’t?

    My problem with European baseball is twofold:

    1. How little work so many are willing to do, in order to get better. Compared to Canadian or Australian baseball, Europe has accomplished very little in the past 30 years. The Canadians were little or no better than Europe 25 years ago — and they play in worse weather — but they have devoted themselves to the HARD WORK necessary to improving the level of play nationwide. They get it done at their academies; they connect them to games on the field. Now, some of their blogs are among the better baseball resources on the continent. (Think you could get anyone on this side of the pond to pay attention to a European blog on baseball training?) One almost never saw a Canadian competing in the US 25 years ago. Today, several are playing in the Big Leagues and very many top college teams have a Canadian playing. This is the fruit of ACTUAL hard work. You guys should try it.

    Why can’t you emulate German soccer? They were as inept as you in 2000. They COMMITTED to change things. They applied the awesome German work ethic to soccer and built a tremendous national training program from the bottom up. They invested in professional coaching at their youth academies and training centers. Results? They’re world champions.

    Obviously, you don’t have a billion dollars to invest, as German soccer did. But, if a concerted effort were made to improve youth players’ skills at any cost — to build your juniors programs before anything else — you could certainly be another Canada in 10 years. Instead, you make half-hearted efforts at your little academies — almost all of which are devoted to themselves, rather than to the improvement of their nationwide games. Meanwhile, your chairmen and directors are focused on building and protecting their little fiefdoms, rather than having a passion for getting better. They’ll take pretense over the humility necessary to improve, any day. Don’t you realize that this sort of selfish provincialism prevents you from ever rising above mediocrity? Didn’t your baseball executives learn anything from World War I?

    2. How your baseball bureaucrats try to invent a pretend game to make up for your defective investment in development with silly pseudo rankings and stacked tournaments which block out the best American and Caribbean teams. No one in the serious baseball countries gives a solitary damn about your rankings and your tournaments. You can’t pretend your way or politically maneuver your way to the top.

    You waste so much energy trying to convince yourselves that your current standard is adequate, instead of having a passion to raise your standards. This winter, some German academy claimed that its off-season program would provide a better practice and playing experience than American teenagers have. Pish posh. In Montana maybe. Or Maine. If you were serious about the game, you would be learning from and trying to emulate the American youth programs (or Japanese or Caribbean), instead of trying to fool yourselves into thinking your mediocrity is actually excellence. In America, we have a drinking game called “liars poker”; and your European apparatchiks have built a came called “liars baseball”.

    A friend of mine inquired about managing one of your top-10 teams this year. He came away shaking his head. They weren’t interested in his 20 years’ coaching experience helping them improve; they only cared about a head coach who would hit fungoes and throw batting practice. This was a team which played in its national championship game….then, when all its American players went home, got pounded by a Russian team. The RUSSIANS!!! Just another example of the European baseball work ethic: “We’ll compete — if it isn’t too much trouble.”

    Look, your idea that I hate European baseball is just wrong. (Candid criticism isn’t arrogance; you just can’t take the heat.) I’m a Europhile; I believe you’re much wiser than we Americans are in so many ways — except in baseball. I’ve tried to encourage European baseball development. And I get that the incentives are different; so you’re never going to give 7 days a week to it, as we do in season. I’ve been involved in trying to find junior college scholarships for promising European juniors. The idea was that they would learn in college or junior college programs, then bring that skill back to their home teams and thus improve the game there. It was hell getting them to make commitments after we’d worked hard to obtain some very nice scholarships for them. They were all gung ho to go to America. It’s their “dream to play in America” — until they’re faced with the actual opportunity, then they prevaricate or walk away.

    I might add that, in 3 years, I placed 3 of my alumni to coach and pitch in Europe.. Each was highly successful — and loved the people — but tore their hair out trying to give their teammates a work ethic. Two of them went on to pitch in Australia, where they found a more serious baseball culture.

    And that, Mark, is the problem. That is why no one in legitimate baseball respects the European game. It is not that an occasional European won’t have the TALENT to play in the minors or even majors. Obviously Van den Hurk does. It’s that European players who get the chance have always blown it — and always will. They are unprepared for the level of competition. They haven’t developed the necessary skills to compete. They fail and they succumb to injuries other players brush off. Always. Without exception.

    I don’t blame the players, for the most part. This isn’t a question of their character. They only learn what they’re taught. But I damn well blame you baseball bureaucrats. It is you who have established such a poor work ethic — who prefer posturing to actual commitment.

    In short: You don’t respect the game. Consequently, you do not deserve the respect of those who do.

  6. Comment by p1519
    January 25, 2015 | 2:19 pm

    Hi Fred
    I read this thread with great interest and registered just to reply to this.
    You are of course going to find many more committed American college kids to reach the top as you have a massive pool to choose from ,you are of course going to find the cream that rises to the top.
    European Baseball has a trickle to choose from in contrast.
    My son dropped soccer to concentrate on Baseball attended 2 MLB European academies , paid to study for his SAT wrote to over 50 Junior Colleges , swapped emails with the 2 that bothered to respond , went to a Junior College Summer League . but failed to secure a college place in the US he would have gone out to see any serious coach.
    In the end settled for a 2 year course at a Canadian college funded at our expense so that he can continue his baseball career.
    All his training , travel and equipment including National Team competition has been funded at our and his expense.
    He could have continued to play soccer at a fraction of the cost and time and sacrifice .
    In our country he is one out of a hundred of course the US has thousands to choose from hundreds of thousands.
    But he would have bitten your hand off if you had offered him a place or even a partial scholarship.

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