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.

After a stop at a fast food restaurant, I'm heading towards Glendale, near the coaches' place.
Lee Tunnell, Fred Dabney and I meet at a sports bar and we watch the deciding game 5 of the NLDS. With a series tied 2-2, we are watching a very good baseball game. Good pitching from Gallardo and Kennedy.
Fred Dabney on the left - Lee Tunnell on the right. The 2 persons John Axford credits for turning his career around 
"I don't like the flow of the game right now" confesses Lee. "Gallardo is battling too much to get outs". "Even Kennedy (the pitcher) had a long at-bat".

The game is tied at 1, with Braun at 2nd base, Fielder at 1st base, with one out and Jerry Hairston Jr at the plate. Hairston is battling before unleashing a shot to the centerfield fence for what appears to be extra-bases. Chris Young, sprinting back makes a great catch at the fence as Hairston can't believe what he just saw.

Nyjer Morgan interviewed after his series clinching base-hit off closer JJ Putz
..."You know how hard it is to get that 3rd out after a play like this?" asks Fred with a confident smile.
"What do you mean, Fred?"
He answers: "It's like when you have a runner at 3rd and you get that big strike-out to get the 2nd out. It's incredibly tough to get that 3rd out". "The manager should ask a time-out and go talk to his pitcher now"
But he doesn't.
Sure enough, the next batter, Yunieski Betancourt is wasting no time and lines one to left field and Braun scors the go-ahead run.
I was shocked. These guys have seen so much baseball and lived so much that they feel it.
The D-Backs come back though and send this thing to extra-innings.
In the 10th inning, Nyjer Morgan hits a groundball through the infield and propels the Brewers into the NLCS.

A great finish to 2 great weeks. Saying goodbye to the guys in such a good moment is amazing.

Off to some shopping, then pack and the stay is over.

It closes the book on the 2011 EBCA Exchange Program that was a tremendous success.
Four coaches, from 4 different nations and involved at 4 different levels had the chance to get a new view on coaching an complement what they have learned on this side of the ocean with great hands-on instructions from renowned baseball teachers.
EBCA is thanking all these organizations for the tremendous help they provided by hosting our guys.
We would also like to thank all the coaches who were selected to represent the EBCA as all hosts were pleased with their attitude, desire to learn and passion for the game.

So it officially opens the EBCA Exchange Coach Program 2012. EBCA members can now go to our website and apply to maybe get selected and spend some time in top US programs as early as January 201.

The bulk of the interviews will be conducted in Prague during the EBCA Convention and decisions should be made by mid-December at the latest.

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