Jakub Janda talked with left-handed pitcher Ernesto Garcia, who is going to play for Croatia in the upcoming European Championship.
- 28 years old
- Croatian citizen, born in Venezuela
- playing/coaching for Nada Split
Jakub Janda: Ernesto, please try to sum up your baseball career.
Ernesto Garcia: I started at age 16 in Minor League of Venezuela where I spent 4 years with Blue Jays Toronto. After playing in Colombia and Europe for a few years (Spain, Croatia) I got a contract with Chunichi Dragons in Japan, but after foot and shoulder injury, I returned to Croatia and continued there for several different clubs. Now I am playing and coaching Nada Split.
JJ: What does a guy like you bring to Croatia? Was that your wife?
EG: Love and passion for the game. At first, I was curious to come and play and know the place, but later, I started a family here.
JJ: This June you were playing in Belgium at the European Cup Qualifier. How did you like the tournament and are you contend with the outcome?
EG: I liked the tournament, and I am happy with the result of Nada Split.
JJ: Tell us something about Croatian baseball. How is it like and how has it developed over recent years.
EG: There is a lot of potential here, especially some good young players in Split. The problem of course is financing the whole story. We don’t have enough sponsorship, baseball is not so widely popular like football, that’s why it is stagnating.
JJ: You are now a naturalized Croatian, meaning you will represent Croatia at the European Championship in Germany. Was it difficult to get a new passport? What was the initial cause?
EG: I was invited to come and play in Split first time 5 years ago, and at that point I got the citizenship.
JJ: How do you like your chances at the European Championship?
EG: I am not too enthusiastic, because there are some really strong teams participating, and our Croatian team is represented mostly with new, young players. But, we’ll see, maybe “the force” will be with us.
JJ: What are you future plans, staying in Croatia long-term?
EG: I am still not planning anything long-term. It all depends, if I get a great offer from another professional team, I will consider it.
JJ: Do you have to work besides baseball?
EG: For now, no.
JJ: Your childhood dream?
EG: To be a professional in U.S. But I became a professional in Japan, which is as good.
JJ: Any funny stories from Croatian baseball?
EG: When I first came to Split, I could not imagine playing baseball on a rugby field – that’s funny. The team does not even have a real field.
Thank you for your time.