GSU’s Frady helps with growth of German baseball

When Georgia State’s Greg Frady began coaching the German national baseball team 10 years ago, he set out to accomplish two things.

No. 1, he wanted his players to develop a professional attitude.

No. 2, he wanted his players to give and receive respect.

As Frady prepares to fly to Prague on Saturday to lead the Germans in a friendly tournament called Prague Baseball Week, he thinks the team is reaching those two goals.

“Those are two things that you never finish,” he said. “Do I think we are in a much better place with those? Yes I do.”

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The German team is up to 17th in the world rankings, a far cry from when Frady took over and the team had to qualify to enter tournaments. They have beaten the United States, the biggest baseball heavyweight. They have beaten baseball middleweights Canada, Curacao and the Bahamas.

They also have produced their first major leaguer, Donald Lutz, who is batting .250 as a backup outfielder with the Reds this season. There are a few other German natives in the minor leagues, as well.

To get a better understanding of how far the sport has come in Germany, consider these two examples:

  • Major League Baseball recently moved its European academy from Italy to Germany. (Lutz is a graduate of the academy.)
  • When Bayern Munich recently played Borussia Dortmund in the final of the Champions League, a German newspaper solicited predictions on the winner from national sports celebrities. Lutz was included among notables such as tennis greats Boris Becker and Steffi Graf and Formula One champion Michael Schumacher.

 

“Having Donald included in that was a validation of baseball,” Frady said.

It’s interesting to note how Frady is building two programs: Germany’s and Georgia State’s.

Frady has a record of 228-173-1 in seven seasons at Georgia State. He already ranks second in victories in school history, behind Mike Hurst’s 293. Frady has led the squad to five winning seasons, compared with the two the program had before he arrived.

Frady will field a young German team in the tournament, composed mostly of players younger than 21 as he works with his third generation of players. Despite their inexperience, Frady said he feels his team likely is the one to beat.

“(The) German federation has been really good to me and my family, and I feel like I’ve given a lot in return,” he said.

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