Apply for the 2012 EBCA Coach Exchange Program

In 2011, 4 coaches, from 4 different nations and different levels were awarded a spot for the 2011 EBCA Coach Exchange Program.

Germany's Benjamin Kleiner went to Indiana with coach Steve Farley's Butler Bulldogs.

France's Bertrand Rue, spent 2 amazing weeks with Caliendo Sports International in Chicago and was exposed to all levels of baseball, from youth to professional levels.

England's Pietro Sollecito was headed to Florida to attend coach Vodenlich's Wisonsin Whitewater Warhawks' Spring Training in Florida.

And of course, Belgian academy coach Filip Vandermeiren, who just got back from Arizona and has been spoiled with the Milwaukee Brewers.

All of them had a great experience and all host organizations have really enjoyed the chance to spread their knowledge and share their love of our game.

It is now time for you, to apply and possibly become one of the 2012 EBCA Exchange Program ambassadors in the US.

Become a member of the EBCA, apply and YOU may one of the lucky coaches to be featured on this blog in a few months and the experience related here as early as January may be YOURS.

Exchange season 2011 officially over. Heads turn towards 2012

Filip flew home  this Friday October 7th at 6.00AM.

The Instructional league is over and the complex is far less buzy then the previous 14 days.

I make a point to attending the last possible advanced team game at Peoria (though Intructional League is over, the advanced players are there for one more week).
The Brewers/Mariners team can't work the magic this time and their streak ends.
In the bottom of the 7th, with 1st and 2nd base loaded, a Mariners hitter fails to understand the bunt sign and eventually pops out. The rest is easy. We don't score and next innings, the baseball gods punish us for not taking care a execution and Goodyear (Indians/Reds) score 4 runs to blow the game open and take the win home.

I get the chance to speak with the players on the bus ride. Which country has the best-looking girls in Europe?, what is the best place to spend a week?, is Amsterdam as wild people say it is?.... All questions that I'm trying to answer. Not always easy but fun. I find out that Hunter Morris actually visited Europe a few years ago at the Haarlem Honkbal Week and in Czech Republic on a team that featured players like Mike Leake, Stephen Strasburg and some other current MLB players.


Thursday - Last Instructional League day

The mood is a bit dull this morning.

When we arrive, the guys are like : " You guys went to the Stadium again, yesterday?".
"Yes", tough game". we reply
"I knew it" one of them said, "they jinxed us"
Baseball is full of superstition. Sportsmen are pretty superstitious in general but the baseball guys are at a different level.
Knowing that fact, we send the attention to another target.
"Well, we were not the ones who were howling like a Wolf, saying that Randy was going to get the job done and playing some Duran Duran's Hungry like the Wolf in the clubhouse"
"Com'on man, I was just trying to get some positive vibes for him, because nobody had faith".
All this is said with big smiles, as always with this very nice staff.

You could feel some kind of tension though.
We witnessed a lot of instruction out here during our stay. And clearly, the staff doesn't take it like a job, but more like a passion. You can feel a very good atmosphere between players and staff. The staff actually cares about the players. And for a small market team like the Brewers, that's a key.
But the ownership has spent some extra bucks this season and they want results. In baseball, everytime an organization feels like they don't get their money's worth, changes are likely to happen.


Team Europe is in the place

On Wednesday, we get to Maryvale complex between 7 and 7.30 like every day.

We get our breakfast.
Coaches and players eat breakfast between 7.30 and 8.30. They can choose between different types of cereals, bagels, bread, waffles, fruits, yogurt, jams... Pretty wide selection even for the pickiest persons.

7.30 - coach meeting.
Right after the meeting, we order our tickets online and use our coupon from yesterday to get seats in the 36th row, behind the 1st base dugout. this time, we order E-tickets, which should save a lot of drama.

Off to the field. the coaches decided to make it competitive today. After the warm up and play-catch, a target, maybe a bit bigger than a strike zone, is set about 30 meters away from the players. Bob Misciz is tossing balls to the players and they need to make the throw in the same action. It's catchers vs infielders, vs outfielders. It's a surprisingly tight game but the infielders are eventually winning it, overcoming an early deficit.

Then, it's time for DP Busters. The sliding mat is set up on the field and a dummy is held vertically by the coaches. Players need to learn how to break up the double play. It seems pretty awkward for some of them but they get better at it by the end of the practice.

DP Busters


Tuesday October 4th - NLDS game 3

Well, rough start for tueasday as we tried to figure out if and how we will get our tickets to see the possibly deciding game 3 of the NLDS between the club hosting us and the club from the city where we are based.

We called the agency and they don't really know what happened. No real valid information about how we will get our precious passes.

Filip is on the field with the infielders, hitting some fungoes with Ned Yost Jr (Son of the Royals manager) Matt Erickson (manager of class A Wisconsion Timber Rattlers) and infield coordinator Bob Miczick.

Twenty minutes later, theboutfielders get out of the cages and on the field for the IPS (Individual Position Skills) while infielder sand catcher shead to the cages to take care of their hitting routines.

We have a full staff again as all the coaches who were in Milwaukee during the play-off week-end are back.

At 9.00 AM, we take the bus to Glendale to face the Dodgers.
Glendale, like more and more MLB facilities in Arizona, is hoting 2 MLB clubs. The Dodgers and the White Sox.  
Rockies and Diamondbacks share the newest Stadium in Scottsdale's Salt River Fields, Royals and Rangers in Surprise, Padres and Mariners in Peoria, Indians and Reds in Goodyear.
It's a relatively new complex and the stadium, Camelback ranch, is shared by both teams. A way for the host city to make sure they have a home game every day during Spring Training.
For the rest, each team has its individual facilities (gym, offices, practice fields...) and you can spend a lot of time on the site without seeing a players from the other organization.

Pitching coach Elvin Nina walking towards the field on the gorgeous Dodgers' side of Glendale complex

Take part to the EBCA Coach of the Year Award selection process.


The European Baseball Coaches Association is proud to announce the selection process for the 2011 EBCA Coach of the Year Award.

Now, you can be part of it. Here is how.

Nomination Process:

- Nominations including a description of the coaches' achievements during the past 12 months need to be sent to the EBCA by October 20th at the latest. (Anyone can submit a nomination)

Pre-selection Process:

- Each EBCA board member will evaluate each candidate and will grade each one of them from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest, 5 the highest score)
- The membership record of each candidate will be taken into account in the pre-election process

- These rankings will be collected by the EBCA Award Committee, which then will nominate the 5 highest scoring candidates to the EBCA membership to vote on

Final Election Process:

- Active EBCA members (after November 2010) will receive the right to vote on one of the remaining five candidates. The votes of our EBCA membership will count for 50% of the overall votes.

- Following the same voting process, the votes of the EBCA board members will count for the remaining 50%


- The recipient of the Coach of the Year Award will be announced at the upcoming EBCA Convention in November.


Brewers exchange - Monday October 3rd

The Brewers have won the first 2 games of the NLDS and the excitement is big over here.

Everybody here is looking forward to game 3 that will be played Tuesday in Phoenix. A win by Milwaukee at Chase Field would open the doors of the NLCS to the Brew Crew.

We are still short staffed here as the guys who were invited to Milwaukee by the front office will only be back for Tuesday.

The day stats a bit later then usual. The staff meets 30 minutes later than usual and on-field activities only start at 10.
We get to hit some fungoes for the inflielders with IF coach Bob Miczick.

Catchers, outfielders and pitchers are spread out on the different fields and get their work in as every day.

First basemen Nick Ramirez (4th round draft pick 2011) and Hunter Morris (4th round draft pick 2010 who took part to the Arizona Fall League last year)

A group of pitchers then joins the infielders to work on PFPs.
All IF positions are filled and 3 situations are been worked one after each other.


End of 1st week

Short days with the Brewers at the end of the week.

A good half of the staff was invited by the front office to fly to Milwaukee to attend the games of the NLDS in Milwaukee.

So, we get the chance to do more things on the field.

Friday morning, we start the day hitting fungoes to the infielders for early work on field 8.
Good work out. The infielders are sharp.