By John Manuel
January 7, 2002
It should come as little surprise that Orioles owner Peter Angelos, one of the nation's most prominent Greek-Americans, has stepped forward to help Greece's efforts toward fielding a baseball team for the 2004 Olympics.
Angelos has formed a non-profit corporation, operated by his son Lou and personal assistant Tom Maroudas, to help organize the country's efforts of fielding a team. Greece hopes to rely on a roster of Greek-Americans to comprise the team.
The first steps were to be taken at the American Baseball Coaches Association convention, where Greek Olympic Baseball was expected to have an exhibit. The corporation wants help from college coaches to find players of Greek descent (players must have at least one Greek grandparent to qualify). Plans call for tryout camps at the Orioles' spring-training camp in Sarasota, Fla., in January.
Lou Angelos said Greece hopes to field a team for the European championships in August 2002 to start building toward the Olympics. The Olympic host is automatically in the eight-team baseball field. For more information, interested players and coaches should go to orioles.mlb.com.
• The Italian Baseball and Softball Federation has a new president. Riccardo Fraccari, an international umpire who called games during baseball's first appearance in the modern Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984, was elected in early December. The 52-year-old's first task is to set up the structure for the Italian professional league, the Serie-A. “We need to build a strong league, in order to have our best players perform at the best level,” said Fraccari. “That's the key to build a national team.”