Sept. 15, 2009
This is the eighth in a series of installments from UC head baseball coach Brian Cleary as he travels overseas to coach the British National Baseball Team at the 2009 Baseball World Cup.
Sorry for the delay in updating but internet has been difficult and expensive to come by. We arrived in Rotterdam, Holland on Sunday morning after taking a charter flight from Zagreb, Croatia to Amsterdam. On the flight with us was the Nicaraguan national team, umpires, and IBAF officials.
Upon arriving at our hotel, we were able to eat lunch and rest a bit before boarding a bus to Haarlem, Holland where we played Cuba. The fields we have seen so far in Holland are first rate. They are incredibly well groomed - truly great playing surfaces. I knew they would be nice, but they are nicer than I had expected. The level of organization and hospitality on the part of the local organizing committee here is also tremendous. From laundry to transportation and meals, this is a first-class operation.
Being on the field with the Cuban team was a great experience for me. I have to say it is the most talented team I have ever been on a field with. We pitched and played very well and it was a 3-0 game heading into the 8th inning, but we lost 6-0. We simply were not god enough offensively to score against an incredibly talented pitcher.
Yesterday, we played in Amsterdam where we lost to South Korea. This was a little more disappointing because we did not play as well. It was 5-5 in the 7th inning, but we misplayed a couple of balls and our bullpen depth caught up with us. South Korea got on a roll and wound up scoring 10 runs in the 7th and 8th innings combined.
With a day off today, the team showered and changed at the stadium post-game and went to Amsterdam for a few hours for dinner. Amsterdam is a large city, which to me felt a bit like New York City minus the skyscrapers. We were able to walk the city and eat dinner before returning to our hotel in Rotterdam (about an hour away).
Today's day off comes at a good time for us. Unlike many of the other countries here, many of our players are not full-time baseball players. They will play 10 games in 11 days which is more than they are used to and we have some tired bodies (mine included as I have thrown batting practice every day since arriving with the team).
I went for a run through Rotterdam this morning and then the staff walked the downtown. Rotterdam is a port city which was heavily damaged in World War II and so much of what it here is new compared to other cities in Europe.
Tomorrow we play Nicaragua, who beat us in Croatia in round one. Our pitching depth does not compare to some of the other teams here in round two, but our guys do play hard and are enjoying being on the same stage as the world's best teams.
We still have a lot baseball left to play, but I am looking forward to getting back. Our UC players arrived on campus yesterday and classes and practice begin next week.
Brad Meador and JD Heilmann are holding down the fort while I am here and very much appreciate them doing so. Certainly, my decision to again join the GB coaching staff was made easier knowing they are taking care of things in Cincinnati.
I will update again when I can.
Entry 7 | Entry 6 | Entry 5 | Entry 4 | Entry 3 | Entry 2 | Entry 1