MLB Hoping To Grow In Europe Behind German-Born Max Kepler
Twins RF Max Kepler during the offseason returned to his native Germany to "spread the word of baseball to children" as MLB continues "growing the game globally," according to La Velle Neal III of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. MLB Senior VP/Int'l Jim Small said that there are "about 26,000 officially registered baseball players in Germany." Small said, "Baseball has had a strong foothold in Germany for many years, and creating local heroes will help accelerate the game's growth." He added that Kepler "understands the impact he can have on baseball in Germany." Neal noted Kepler, who "appears to be on the cusp of stardom," will "continue to work with MLB to expose the game to more kids in Europe." Kepler: "I just want to give back to them and see more people come out of Europe, not just Germany, and play baseball at its highest level" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/21).