Team Italy manager Mike Piazza was interviewed by Matt Vasgersian and Harold Reynolds, hosts of MLB Network's live offseason morning news show--Hot Stove, on November 13, 2019. National Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza spoke in perfect Italian when asked about his level of language fluency while living with his family in Italy.
A longtime advocate of growing the game abroad, the new Team Italy skipper is encouraged by Major League Baseball's successful launch of the London Series and the promising prospects of MLB expansion in Europe. 12-time MLB All-Star and 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner Mike Piazza feels that managing the Italian national baseball team is a natural step after serving as hitting coach and leading Team Italy to back-to-back European Baseball Championships titles in 2010 and 2012 as well as advancing the Azzurri squad to the second round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Mike Piazza credits Team Italy pitching coach and European scout Bill Holmberg for signing four young Italian prospects to professional baseball contracts in the last few years. In fact, there are currently seven Italian-born-and-developed players in Minor League Baseball. Mike Piazza admits that the quality of play in Italy has improved, but there is still a lot of work to do.
by Roberto Angotti