At a press conference this past week the Italian Baseball and Softball Federation (FIBS) announced the schedule for the Italian Baseball Week 2016. The tournament from September 3 to 6 in Tirrenia and Florence with the national teams of Italy, Czech Republic and Spain will serve as preparation for the European Championship in Hoofddorp, Netherlands in September.
- Saturday September 3 at 15 in Tirrenia Spain-Italy
- Sunday September 4 at 17 in Florence Italy-Spain (7 innings) and at 20.30 in Florence Spain-Czech Republic (7 innings)
- Monday September 5 at 15 in Tirrenia Czech Republic-Italy (7 innings) and at 17 in Tirrenia Czech Republic-Spain (7 innings)
- Tuesday September 6 at 19 in Florence Italy-Czech Republic
The Italian Baseball Week is coorganized by FIBS, the City of Florence and Firenze Viola Super Sport led by Stefano Ballerani (a press agency that covers Florence teams in every sport). The tournament is dedicated to the memory of Fiorentina President Cesare Vita, who suddenly passed away on February 29. Fiorentina’s new President Gianfranco Lauria is working to take back Florence to the Italian Baseball League. For the first time since the 2009 Baseball World Cup international baseball games will be played in Florence. Tirrenia is the site of the Italian Baseball Academy.
Andrea Vannucci, Deputy for Sport of the Florence Mayor, attended the presentation in the historical Palazzo Vecchio together with Michele Pierguidi, who is the President of the “Quartiere” (district; according to the Italian law, cities with more than 100.000 inhabitants are divided into “quartieri”) where the Florence stadium is located. FIBS was represented at the press conference by vice president Massimo Fochi and Italian national team manager Marco Mazzieri.
Mazzieri didn’t talk about the make-up of Italy for the European Championship, but mentioned that its becoming more difficult to win the Euros from edition to edition. Obviously the Dutch team is tough to beat, but also teams from Czech Republic, Spain and Germany have become premium competitors.
Mazzieri has led Italy to European titles in 2010 and 2012. In Rotterdam in 2012 he only became the second Italian manager besides Silvano Ambrosioni in 1977 to lead Italy to an European title in the Netherlands. Overall Italy has won the European Championship ten times.
Riccardo Schiroli contributed to this article.
Photo from left to right Marco Mazzieri, Massimo Fochi, Andrea Vannucci, Michele Pierguidi e Gianfranco Lauria