Until the start of the 38th Baseball World Cup next week, Mister-Baseball.com would like to publish a series of Q&As with representatives of the European participants in the tournament. On Tuesday we talked with Mauro Mazzotti about Team Spain, today Krunoslav Karin gives some insight on the Croatian team.
Mister Baseball: What do you expect from your team during the Baseball World Cup?
Krunoslav Karin: After we qualified for the EC 2010 in July 2008 and knowing that EC will not be played in 2009 we decided to go for the youth movement. We got together a new young team, based on our junior National team program with guys not older then 22 years old. We were working out all year specially this summer. We went to the Prague baseball week and having a MLBI camp in Karlovac. When we find out about World cup we decided to keep those young guys for the tournament and also to honor some of our baseball legends as Jimmy Summers, Damir Karin, Grgur Marusic and Mladen Krpanec. Those guys will be in the 24-man roster and will play at the tournament they always dreamt about. We expect to compete with all 3 teams in Zagreb and hopefully win a game. For our program it will be great if we can get to 2nd round, because those young guys will have 7 more games and great experience.
MRBB: Croatia is replacing Russia in the tournament. When did you get informed about your participation?
KK: July 25th during our camp in Karlovac.
MRBB: Is Baseball getting more attention in the media and in the public due to the World Cup?
KK: Yes. It is amazing how people react when you said it is a world championship, comparing to “just” an EC. We will have daily coverage of both games on National TV and also a 45-minute show on Sunday in prime time sport TV.
MRBB: Were you able to plan a sufficient training camp in front of the Baseball World Cup?
KK: It was short notice but we managed to get together last Sunday and we will go to Slovenia, today to play their National team and also will go to Steinheim to play a German all-star team over the weekend. We are caring 29 players at this moment.
MRBB: Which team is the favorite in your pool?
MRBB: What do you think are the keys to success during the tournament?
KK: Pitching. We will not score lots of runs. If our pitching can keep us deep in to the game we do have chance.
MRBB: Any injury concerns with the current team? Everybody healthy?
KK: Our best player Bobo Gales who is playing in Georgia Perimeter College had Tommy John surgery in February. He is a pitcher/outfielder and hopefully will be ok to play center field for us. Everybody else is Ok.
MRBB: Is the regular starting lineup already set or will you go with the hot hand?
KK: I think that we know 7 out of 9 guys. The rest of them will decide after Germany.
MRBB: Which pitchers are going to start in the three games during the first round?
KK: We do know that we will start our naturalized pitchers. Venezuelan player Ernesto Pereira in game 1 vs. Nicaragua and Jimmy Summers in game 3 vs. Great Britain. For game 2 we will probably start one of our young prospects but it is up to them to fight for the spot.
Mister Baseball would like to thank Krunoslav Karin for answering the questions and wishes good luck in the Baseball World Cup.