Already, we know the identity of one mystery team in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes.
Cariparma Parma, of course.
You’re not familiar with them? Well, Fielder is.
The free agent slugger was in Parma, Italy, last Saturday as part of a European tour with fellow major leaguers Adam Jones, Mike Stanton, Dexter Fowler, Roger Bernadina, Greg Halman, and Dutch-born right-hander Rick VandenHurk. Former All-Star Bobby Bonilla, an executive with the players’ union, joined the group as they conducted youth clinics in Parma, Amsterdam, and Prague.
Why Parma? Baseball is more popular there than just about anywhere else in Italy. Cariparma Parma is one of the most successful franchises in the Italian Baseball League.
Mario Salvini, baseball correspondent for La Gazzetta dello Sport, covered the appearance at Nino Cavalli Stadium in Parma and listened to a question-and-answer session between Fielder and the aspiring Italian ballplayers.
Salvini reported that one of the kids asked Fielder about his future; Fielder replied that he won’t play in Milwaukee anymore and isn’t sure where he will sign.
When the child asked Fielder if he would have interest in playing in Italy, Salvini said Fielder quipped, “Maybe Parma. Yes, good idea.”
According to Salvini, Jones suggested that the players participate in a home-run derby at the end of the clinic, even though it wasn’t on the schedule. The players agreed – and Jones won.
Salvini’s account of the event – including photos of Fielder, still in his Milwaukee uniform – can be found at the following link:
-- Jon Paul Morosi