Sweden is a participant at European Championships for many years with the highlight being bronze medals in 1981 and 1993. In Barcelona 2007 they reached the second round and finished in sixth place. In Stuttgart, Heidenheim and Neuenburg, Sweden is slotted into Group B with Italy, Spain, Greece, Croatia and Great Britain. Since winter the new manager is former Major Leaguer Dennis Cook. Mister-Baseball spoke with him about the upcoming tournament.
Mister-Baseball: What do you expect from your team in Stuttgart, Heidenheim and Neuenburg?
Dennis Cook: We expect Team Sweden to compete at a high level for 9 innings every night.
MRBB: Can a team challenge defending Champion Netherlands in the 2010 European Championship? Which teams have the best chances of advancing in your group?
DC: The Dutch played at a high level in the World Cup. They have to be the favorites going into the tournament, but that being said all teams will show up and compete and we will see at the end who’s the best.
MRBB: Which team could be the surprise of the tournament?
DC: Team Sweden
MRBB: General speaking is the level of play in European Baseball getting better and more balanced since the EC 2007 or is there still a gap between the top teams and the underdogs?
DC: This will be my first European tournament so I can’t comment on 2007.
MRBB: There will be only a few professional players in the tournament. Does this will have an influence and does it hurt some teams more than others?
DC: Speaking for Team Sweden, it will help us because we have no professional players. That should help even the playing field.
MRBB: Looking at the rosters of the other teams, which players could be especially worthy to watch?
DC: I have not had a chance to look at the other rosters.
MRBB: What is your plan for the final days before the Euro 2010? Which exhibition games do you have planned?
DC: We will participate in the Italian baseball week together with Italy , Spain and Czech Republic.
MRBB: Do you already have a starting lineup in place and who will be in your starting rotation?
DC: We will use the Italian tournament to determine starting positions and rotation.
Mister-Baseball thanks Dennis Cook for answering our questions and wishes good luck in the European Championship.