The Spanish national team impressed at the Baseball World Cup in Europe last September and qualified for the second round. In the upcoming European Championship in Stuttgart, Heidenheim and Neuenburg they will try to repeat this success. They are slotted into Pool B with Italy, Great Britain, Sweden, Croatia and Greece. Mister-Baseball spoke to manager Mauro Mazzotti about the tournament.
Mister-Baseball: What do you expect from your team in Stuttgart, Heidenheim and Neuenburg?
Mauro Mazzotti: Well, after the good outings at the World Cup, we hope to confirm our improvements.
MRBB: Can a team challenge defending Champion Netherlands in the 2010 European Championship? Which teams have the best chances of advancing in your group?
MM: No doubt that on paper Italy is the best of our group, but as you well know it’s never easy in short tournaments.
MRBB: Which team could be the surprise of the tournament?
MM: I hope Spain will be the surprise.
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?
MM: Good pitching and good defense are the ones that make the difference. Usually when the lower level teams use pitcher number 1 & number 2 the gap is very thin, but the problem is when they need to use pitcher number 4 and 5. Anyway besides Italy and Holland most of the have this concern.
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?
MM: Here in Europe if we want to grow up a notch we have to sell the best product we can manufacture and of course the dates of the tournament penalizes big time this possibility.
MRBB: Looking at the rosters of the other teams, which players could be especially worthy to watch?
MM: I think Anthony Granato for Italy and Sidney de Jong [Editor’s Note: Netherlands] are the best players to watch.
MRBB: What is your plan for the final days before the Euro 2010? Which exhibition games do you have planned?
MM: We’ll get together in Milan for a 4-day training camp then move to Novara for the Italian Baseball Week and from there go straight to Stuttgart.
MRBB: Do you already have a starting lineup in place and who will be in your starting rotation?
MM: Still early to say.
Mister-Baseball thanks Mauro Mazzotti for answering our questions and wishes good luck in the European Championship.