(by Gaétan ALIBERT. Translation Don Kladstrup and Jérome Rey)
PUC. You played for PUC in 1990. How were you recruited and what was it like when you arrived ?
Brian Farley. I played for Puc in a tournament versus Villadecan in Barcelona. The head coach was a Japanese legend named Yoshida. We beat Villedecan in a great game that I pitched and it was a wonderful time of which I still have fond memories. I was recruited by Gene Gremaldi who is a friend of mine to this day.
PUC. Given your vast experience in university baseball, the minor leagues and in the Dutch league, how would you compare all that with baseball in France when you joined PUC ? In other words, the level of play, the quality of coaches and players, and how the sport is organized in France.
BF. French baseball has come a long way since I played in 1990. The coaching and development of players is much higher and they are producing quality athletes who know how to play the game. I have had the pleasure of working with some of these players during our European Showcase tours of the US in 2009 and 2010. France is no longer a team to take lightly at all and we have a great deal of respect for their coaches and players. I am less familiar with the current club environment in France as it has been a long time since I have visited the country for baseball purposes.
PUC. At PUC, you were coached by the great Japanese star, Yoshio Yoshida. What stood out to you about his coaching ? How was his approach to coaching different from that in the U.S., particularly in the minor leagues ?
BF. I wasn’t with Coach Yoshida for very long and the language barrier was a bit difficult. However he was a very impressive man who impressed me by his calmness and discipline. It was clear that we were in the presence of a great baseball player. The Japanese way is different to ours in the level of discipline and the attention to detail that the Japanese enforce. They are very strong at pitching, defense and in situational play. They rarely beat themselves and never quit. All in all their results in the last two World Baseball Classic speak of perhaps the best style of baseball on the planet.
PUC. PUC was the French national champion when you were here. What stands out most in your memory of that time ? The players ? Their team spirit ? How they played ?
BF. PUC was indeed a very good team when I was there. Again, I wasn’t with them for very long but I have fond memories of the time and still run into some of the players I played against who are now coaching from time to time.
PUC. Have you followed the evolution of French baseball since that time? What do you think ? What’s your evaluation of those teams that have taken part in international competitions?
BF. As I mentioned above, I and the Dutch take the French program very seriously. They have done a tremendous job at the academies and we are seeing many more French players who are able to play at the highest international levels.
PUC. Your Dutch team won the World Cup of Baseball, an historic achievement. What was that like ? How did the Dutch react ?
BF. The response to our winning the world title has been overwhelming. It started out slow with very little media interest at the beginning. Once we made the finals and beat Cuba for the first time, the media took a new look and all of a sudden we were everywhere in the Dutch media. Since arriving home to a tremendous reception we have been on many of the nation’s top television and radio shows and have been in all the major papers. It has been just tremendous.
PUC. Ten of your players on your championship team were professionals. How did you deal with the chemistry between those players and those who were amateurs ? Was it difficult ? Were there any problems ?
BF. Our success did not come overnight. We have had this system in place for a number of years so the majority of the players know and genuinely like each other. The atmosphere and chemistry was one of the main reasons for our success.
PUC. What are your plans or goals for Holland’s national team ?
BF. Our result goal will now change towards winning back the European title which we lost to the Italians in 2010. Our process goals will remain the same. Stay in control of those things you have within your control and let the rest go, stay in the moment, develop yourself to the best of your ability and compete, compete, compete !
PUC. And finally, how do you see baseball evolving in Europe ?
BF. Hopefully this will have a very positive impact on both Dutch as well as European baseball. In order for us to grow as a nation we need to grow as a continent. I dream of the day when every kid in Europe signs up to play Little League baseball. I know that this is unlikely to ever happen but we can certainly look to double the number of boys choosing baseball as thier primary sport. In any case I believe that if you stop dreaming you might as well stop living!
Mister-Baseball thanks Paris UC for giving us the opportunity to re-publish their interview with Dutch National Team head coach Brian Farley.