We just published an interview of Brian Farley, which he did for his former club Paris UC. The head coach of the Dutch National Team also was so kind to take some time to talk to Mister-Baseball, reflecting on the successful IBAF Baseball World Cup in Panama.
Mister-Baseball: At which point did you think, you could win the Baseball World Cup? Was there a game, a situation, where you said, well, we could go all the way?
Brian Farley: The first thoughts occurred early once I saw how well we played in our four pre tournament games versus Venezuela (2X), Ch. Taipei and Panama. We won all four and did it in different ways. However, a couple of things were in place that you look for as a coach. Our defense and pitching were very solid and we were making the most of our opportunities to score. I was also very pleased with our perseverance and refusal to quit, which are crucial in this game. We twice came back from being behind by 6 runs in our last game versus Venezuela. There were a number of other moments which added to my and our team’s belief in our ability to go all the way. The most important being when we beat Australia in a hard fought game which took place over two days. We resumed the game tied 1 to 1 in the top of the seventh, with runners on 1st and 3rd for the Aussies and two outs and we got out of the jam on one pitch to a very dangerous hitter. Then proceeded to win the game in the bottom of the seventh and hold on for a 2-1 win. Three hours later we began a game versus Cuba and went on to win 4-1 in a tremendously well played game. That’s when I think we all felt that we deserved to win it all!
Mister-Baseball: What were the keys to win the tournament?
Brian Farley: Well as mentioned above the key elements of pitching, defense and timely hitting. Perhaps more important than this was our ability to stay in the moment throughout the tournament. Not getting distracted by what just happened or what might happen but just playing and executing to the best of our ability at that moment. Top sport people refer to this as the flow. It is easier in theory than it is in practice but we made this one of our key initiatives and the guys responded to it tremendously. Last but not least was our preparation for each game which gave us a tremendous amount of confidence. This was possible due to some great work from our staff members, in particular Dave Drayer our advance scout and Tjerk Smeets who assembled and organized all the information. There is a great motto which goes “Fail to prepare then prepare to fail”.
Mister-Baseball: How important is the title for Dutch Baseball and European Baseball in general?
Brian Farley: Hard to say how the future will play out but given the amount of publicity we have received but I am hopeful that it will be extremely important. I believe that Europe has an opportunity to show that they can no longer be overlooked when it comes to international baseball and I am hopeful that we will be able to capitalize on our recent success in the form of increased participation from young boys in our sport throughout Europe. I would also like to see a positive effect on those IOC members who have voted against baseball in the past. Europe has enormous potential and hopefully this championship will act as a catalyst for both growth and recognition.
Mister-Baseball: How did you handle the long rain delay in the finals?
Brian Farley: At the beginning of the tournament I spoke to the team and told them that “whatever happens is exactly what we expect”. We also reinforced the need for us to stay in control of ourselves and not allow things outside of our control to distract us from our mission. We had an enormous amount of distractions during the tournament that will go unknown for the most part. The guys handled all these distractions in an incredibly professional manner. The rain delay was no different other than the fact that it was magnified due to it being a world championship game. Each player has their own way of coping with these types of things. Some are introvert and prefer to play games on their Ipads or phones. Others release steam by being with their fellow teammates and telling stories, jokes or playing games. This is an individual thing and my advice is to allow them that time to do their thing. We would have been ready whenever they said “Play Ball”.
Mister-Baseball: You won the Baseball World Cup in your first year as head coach. What is next?
Brian Farley: Great question…I’m going to ask that exact question of my players when I meet with them next week. Keeping the hunger to perform at the top after such an extraordinary success is a big challenge for all of us. However there are a number of big tournaments on the horizon and this will be where we will turn our attention. We have the European championships next year here in The Netherlands and we will be very determined to recapture the title we lost to Italy in 2010. Also the WBC is coming in 2013 and this will of course be a great challenge for us.