Following parting ways with the Solingen Alligators after the conclusion of a two-year contract last September, Andy Fleischacker had a busy off season. He was nearly on his way to join Avigliana in the Italian Serie B before he signed up with the Austrian Baseball League club Schwaz Tigers to become their head coach. Additionally he took the job as new head coach of the Swiss National Team and will lead them at the European Championship Qualifier in Barcelona, Spain this summer. He was so kind to answer a few questions for Mister-Baseball.
Mister-Baseball: Congrats to your new post as head coach of the Swiss National Team. What are your plans for 2011 with the team and what do you expect from the European Championship Qualifier next summer?
Andy Fleischacker: Thanks very much. I am excited to be the new head coach for the Swiss national team. This is an exciting time in Swiss baseball and I am thrilled to be a part of it. I am hoping that this is only the beginning for me as the national team head coach, but as for 2011 we are going to be training very hard for Barcelona. Along with our monthly training sessions we will play a few games against the foreign players in Switzerland and we will also be playing in the Finkstonball tournament in Austria. I would also love to set up a 2 game series in Zurich against another national team not in our group. As for the qualifier in Spain it will be a very good tournament for us. To get to go to a beautiful place like Barcelona and play in a stadium that has hosted the Olympics and the baseball world cup is definitely exciting for me and my players. Hopefully we will be playing in front of some nice crowds when we take on the Spanish. And for me it’s also very exciting to be a part of the Spanish federations fight against breast cancer that they have going on. All and all it will be a great trip
MRBB: What do you think about playing in Barcelona with Switzerland? A few words on the opponents Spain, Finland, Ireland and Hungary?
AF: As for the teams in the group Spain is the big favorite. They are the home team and in my mind should not even be in a qualifier as I fell they are 1 of the top 6 national sides in Europe. But we are coming to win and will not be afraid of intimidated by anyone. As for the Irish you never know what they bring to the table, they have been known to import some Americans so they will be a tough side as well. As for Hungary they have had some good teams in the club competition so I expect them to put a solid team on the field. The only team that’s a real mystery is Finland you don’t really here much about them. But for me it’s not important who we play, we will play every game hard and compete like its game 7 of the World Series.
MRBB: At first it seemed that you would sign with Avigliana in the Italian Serie B before you finally went to the Schwaz Tigers in Austria. What happened?
AF: Yes I pretty much had a deal done to join the club in Avigliana Italy but unfortunately because of the budget they could not bring me over until mid to late march. This time table was not good enough for me as I wanted to be back in Europe by January because I had to start my national team training in February. So fortunately the Tigers and I worked out a deal to come to Schwaz.
MRBB: The Tigers lost twice in the finals in the past two years. What do they need to do to make the next step and win the championship? How much do you already know about the team?
AF: The Tigers have been knocking on the door the last 2 years and after being with them now for about 2 weeks and 3 training sessions I feel they have the talent to go all the way. It’s just about becoming a team and having a leader who will push them in that direction. It’s a group of hard working guys with a small roster so we need to stay healthy and have everyone at every game. It will be a tough league with teams like the Wanderers and Attnang, and the Metrostars but we can compete with anyone when the guys come focused and motivated
MRBB: What can you already tell about eventual additions to the Schwaz team? Is anyone leaving the club?
AF: As far as player additions to the team, we are currently talking to some people, but nothing is fixed yet. All the Austrian talent will be back with the only losses will be the 2 Americans from last year.
MRBB: What do you like about European Baseball so much that you are coming back year after year?
AF: Well I love everything about European baseball. It’s the ground floor of the sport where you can really try to build something when you are with the right club or federation. But for me I love Europe and I love living here. I would eventually like to live here year round and work with a team or federation for 12 months of the year to build something great. And eventually I would love to coach at the highest level in Europe Italy or Holland.