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Apr '11 14

Italian Baseball League starts into 2011 Season

by Riccardo Schiroli

Northern Italy has experienced a very nice early Spring, but the city of Parma, that will host the Italian Baseball League opener, woke up under a lot of clouds on Thursday April 14th. Will see if the old Italian saying that states “a wet bride is a merry bride” makes some sense also in baseball.

The 2011 Italian Baseball League, the 64th edition of the main baseball league in Italy, has not changed its format: 8 teams will battle during a 42 game regular season. The top 4 will advance to a 12 game round robin and the top 2 of the round robin will play the best of 7 Italian Baseball Series at the end of the Summer. The news come from the fact that the Catania Warriors have been replaced by the Novara United franchise (the city of Novara is supported by Senago and Milan). Sicily is out of the league (at least, for now) but the IBL is still made of 8 different franchises and 16 teams, since each franchise fields a minor league (or second division, according to the official terminology) team.

The defending champions Cariparma have not changed much. They released starting pitcher Martinez and replaced him with Silva, a 29 year old venezuelan right hander who played as high as Triple A in organized baseball. Slugger Juan Camilo is a free agent and decided to go back to Nettuno, his original Italian team. Parma may be short at catcher, since everyday backstop Bertagnon has not a replacement on the roster and in case of an injury may need to go to the minor league roster for help.

Unipol Bologna, the European Champions, have added to the roster a couple of former MLB outfielders (Julio Ramirez and Edgar Clemente, the nephew of the great Roberto). Bologna will start the season with veteran left handed reliever Fabio Milano on the disabled list..

T&A San Marino looks like the team to beat to many. Former Rimini manager Mauro Mazzotti took over as their GM and campaigned pretty well during the Winter. He landed Team Italy’s veterans Ramos Gizzi and Chapelli and signed former Big League hurler Darwin Cubillan.

Also Telemarket Rimini of first year manager Larry Olenberger (the father of pitcher Kasey, who represented Italy in Athens Olympics and in both editions of the World Baseball Classic) was active during the Winter. Slugger Josh Phelps has played over 400 games in the Majors and can be a pitcher’s nightmare in a line up that already features Team Italy’s captain Mario Chiarini and former San Marino slugger Max De Biase. Australian international and former dutch Hoofdklasse player Ruzic is a very good addition to the pitching staff.

After failing to make the post season for 2 years in a row, Danesi Nettuno has brought back Ruggero Bagialemani as their manager and signed a couple of league veterans such as catcher Kelly Ramos and the comeback outfielder Juan Camilo. Also infielder Olmo Rosario played in the IBL in 2010 for Catania. The real doubt about Nettuno chances is represented by the brave choice of giving to 22 year old Renato Imperiali the starting shortstop position.
Montepaschi Grosseto signed at the very last minute venezuelan shortstop Maza, the best hitter of his country’s pro league this season and has a pretty solid pitching staff. But they lost their captain Ermini (who signed for Bologna) and their line up does not look too dangerous.

The North East Knights made a lot of roster changes and their manager Daniele Fuzzi will be the skipper for the first time in his career. Their staff of Italian pitchers doesn’t look solid enough.

Novara United is a team made of players who will experience the IBL for the first time, so it looks pretty difficult to rank them before they start playing. Outfielder Robert Perez has played over 200 games in the Big Leagues and is known in his country Venezuela as “The man who made history”.

The season opener between Cariparma and Unipol Bologna will be live on Rai Sport Due on satellite all over Europe at 8.30 pm CET

Time Home Visitor Field
Dates and Times are subject to change! In case of doubt check with the responsible national federation!
Thursday, April 14 2011
20:00 Cariparma Parma Unipol Bologna Europeo "Nino C... Italy
Friday, April 15 2011
20:00 Cariparma Parma Unipol Bologna Europeo "Nino C... Italy
20:00 T&A San Marino Danesi Caffé Nettuno Stadio del Base... Italy
20:00 De Angelis Godo Telemarket Rimini Stadio Comunale... Italy
20:00 Elettra Energia Novara Grosseto Stadio „Marco... Italy
Saturday, April 16 2011
11:00 Elettra Energia Novara Grosseto Stadio „Marco... Italy
15:30 T&A San Marino Danesi Caffé Nettuno Stadio del Base... Italy
15:00 De Angelis Godo Telemarket Rimini "A. Casadio" Godo Italy
19:30 Unipol Bologna Cariparma Parma Stadio comunale... Italy

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