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De Santis of Bologna tags for the out Chiarini of San Marino (Duck Foto Press)

Nothing seems certain in the IBL

Between games not played, and games shortened by rain, and the fact that each week one team is off in the seven-team Italian Baseball League it is hard to draw any conclusions after the fourth week of the season.

One thing that is clear, is both San Marino and Bologna are teams coming apart.  San Marino shockingly is changing its coaching staff, with Doriano Bindi no longer in charge after more than two decades at the helm. Veteran Mario Chiarini noted that these are decisions of the front office, noting that he had only played for Bindi for one season and that "The sport is like this, and we as players have to move forward giving our all".  It is certain that to change a manager who had been in that role for so many seasons and championships is undoubtedly painful for all involved. Mauro Mazzotti put on the uniform to manage two one-run games, split with Bologna, but says he is eager to return to his role as GM once another mananger is found.  All eyes point to Marco Nanni the ex-manager of Bologna, but not to be taken for granted or we might have already seen him in uniform this weekend.  We also await the announement of a replacement foreign pitcher to take the place of injured Justin Germano. What we hadn't expected, but Mazzotti announced Saturday night, is the substitution of one of the foreign position players, probably to shore up Shortstop and help San Marino's worst defense in the IBL, and that could see Carlos Duran replaced despite his dominant run in Italy from 2008 to 2015 including a triple crown in 2010.

Bologna is also starting to have some rumors swirl of possible shakeups. Cedeno has a big name and had a big career, but didn't arrive in Italy healthy. Against San Marino he was hit on the wrist, and his health going forward could impact if he remains with the team. Patterson didn't impress in his debut and likely will have a close eye by the team.  Both San Marino and Bologna remain likely candidates for the post season, but will likely each look somewhat different by the time they get there as they try to adjsut and prepare themselves for championship runs.

After four weeks, only Novara is out of the hunt.  They showed signs of life against Rimini, but with eleven losses find themselves too deeply in a hole to hope to recover. Their offense finally came to life after a dreadful start, but their run differential remains hopeless on the season despite strong performances by foreign pitcher Aristil.

Parma and Nettuno split the two games played, and the with the rubber match rained out while tied will have to withhold judgment on two very evenly matched teams. Across most statistics as well as the standings, most teams seem evenly matched as we await one team starting to emerge as the favorite. Next week will be highlighted by matchups between Rimini and Nettuno, while a rested Padova will host San Marino, and seven days from now we should have a clearer picture of where the IBL is going.