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THE HAVE'S AND THE HAVE NOT'S OF GERMANY
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REGENSBURG (above left) HAS A SPARKLING DIAMOND, BUT MOST COULD USE A LITTLE LOVE LIKE (above right)

Before the Berlin Wall fell, baseball was stagnant and only played in West Germany. Since united with the east, the German federation's goals have been high: they wanted to qualify for the 2008 Olympics. It didn't happen, but Greg Frady, a coach at Georgia State, has skippered the national team.

 

Besides Russia, Italy and perhaps France, no other country would be influenced more by an MLB exhibition than Germany. After all, it was in Berlin that baseball had its biggest audience ever. In 1936, close to 125,000 watched a ballgame during an Olympic exhibition game held in then Adolf Hilter's Germany. Wouldn't it be something to see 100,000 people watching baseball in Berlin two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall? You better believe it.

 

You can learn more about baseball in Germany and Europe in World in a Ballpark: Baseball Goes Global, which is available for purchase at the Buy Joe's Guides page.

 

You can see Joe's other photos from Europe by traveling to these links: European Feast; Baseball Italia; The Netherlands: Dutch Treats!; The British Are Coming!; Czech Republic This Out; French Connection; Luck Of The Irish; From Russia, With LoveSpanish Passport and Swiss Cheese!

 

If you want to view a sample of the guide and see how easy the guide is to use, visit the World Baseball Classic page.

GERMANY HAS SEVERAL DIVISIONS OF BASEBALL, BUT....
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...ALL ARE AIMING TO EMULATE MLB, AS EVIDENCED BY THE OUTFIELD BANNER

Too often I had discovered, European baseball federations would hire a U.S. coach and expect immediate results. If they didn't like the returns, he was gone. But every U.S. coach knows you usually can't turn a program around in just one year unless you've got some incredibly gifted players and some luck, too.

It turns out the Germans made the right decision in retaining Frady. After falling in their first game of the semi-final round of the 2005 European championships, Frady's bunch was forced to win their final two games of the round robin to have any hope of advancing. But a huge 11-2 whooping over the host Czechs put Germany in control of their own destiny. The next day, Manuel Moller of the Mainz Athletics and Eugen Heilmann of the Paderborn Untouchables combined to pitch a two-hit shutout against France, resulting in a 2-0 victory that placed the team in the bronze medal game and ensured them one of the four qualifying spots in the 2007 World Cup. Even though Germany lost 7-3 to Spain in the bronze medal game, the fourth place finish marked the first time that a baseball team from Germany had qualified to compete at the World Cup event.

Baseball is actually top dog in a few southern German towns once occupied by U.S. forces such as Paderborn whose team often plays up to its nickname, "The Untouchables." Baseball's also got a nice following in Regensburg, Furth, Bonn, Stuggart and Mannheim. Decent facilities are scattered around the country, with the best in Regensburg that holds an annual tournament. Wood bats are used in the top league, and aluminum bats in the lower leagues.

HARD TO BELIEVE THAT JUST 20+ YEARS AGO...
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THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL MEANT EAST AND WEST GERMANS COULD PLAY BALL TOGETHER

THEY'RE FROM PADERBORN - AND THEY'RE UNTOUCHABLE
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IN SOME SOUTHERN GERMAN TOWNS, BASEBALL IS THE NO. 1 SPORT LIKE IN PADERBORN

GERMANY'S NATIONAL TEAM IS STARTING TO GEL
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THE GERMANS CONTINUE TO GET BETTER AND BETTER

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