Jakub Janda talked to Andy Berglund, who is currently in spring training camp with the Czech National Team in Italy.
Jakub Janda: Andy, how is it going in Italy, where you are having Spring Training Camp in Parma with the Czech national team?
Andy Berglund: We returned home from Parma after a very successful spring training camp. We brought 25 guys, all who contributed very well in the four games we played against Italian competition. The guys really had a strong week, with us winning 3 of those 4 games, and really playing consistently strong baseball overall. We got a chance to see some strong pitching and hit very well as a team in our games. We faced European Cup Final Four participant ASD Parma and played well against them twice, beating them 8-3 in our second game. Overall, we left Parma very confident in what we worked on and how we have started this 2012 season. The players know what our goals are this year and ultimately, we’ll put a strong team together that believes in those goals.
Jakub Janda; Could you go through a year schedule of Czech Senior National team?
Andy Berglund: It’s going to be a busy 2012. We’ll continue to have workouts around the Extraliga schedule when time permits. In May, there is the All-Star game at Technika Brno which will feature many national team candidates. In late June, we’ll be participating in the Prague Baseball Week. In July, we’re looking to schedule some games during the Extraliga break so the guys continue to build team chemistry together. Then after the Extraliga playoffs end, we’re looking at a strong preparation week at the end of August to get ready for the European Championships that start September 7th in Holland. They just announced yesterday that we’ll be playing in the World Baseball Classic Qualifer in Regensburg after the Euros, and we’re very excited about that opportunity. Our first focus is on the European Championships. We’re all putting the work in, because the guys have all said, they want to make this a year to remember.
Jakub Janda: Do you have in mind a roster for the European Championship this September? How many pitchers do you want to bring over?
Andy Berglund: The roster hasn’t been set yet. We’re looking at guys all season long that will fit into the big picture of what we’re trying to do. There is a lot of competition for those spots, which will only make us stronger in the long run. We’ve got a great pitching coach in Greg McCarthy, who knows the staff well, and we’ll decide what pitchers will help us the most.
Jakub Janda: What is your plan for 2012 clubwise? Where are you going to coach?
Andy Berglund: I’m going to have a heavy schedule with the Senior National team and will also be doing a lot as a Major League Baseball Envoy for the European Academies, including developing the Czech Baseball Academies for the future. I’ll be based in Prague, and would like to work with the Eagles Praha again this year. We had a strong season last year there and they made some positive changes to the management of the club, so I’d like to help build on that.
Jakub Janda: Will you take part with the U21 Czech National team while having the European Championship in the Czech Republic (Brno, Třebíč)?
Andy Berglund: Pavel Chadim has already put together a coaching staff that he believes in, to go after the U21 gold medal. I’ve spoken to Pavel, and have told him I’ll help out in any way he may need me. He knows I am passionate about helping Czech Baseball develop as a whole, so if there’s anything I can help the younger players with to continue to develop, I will. I am excited about the U21 team and the U18 team that will be going to the World Championships in Korea later this year. There are a lot of positive things happening in developing baseball here.