Intervju med Andy Berglund, Academy Consultant
Svenskbördige Andy Berglund, som bl.a. spelat med Stockholms BSK, har av Major League Baseball blivit utsedd till ny MLB Academy Consultant. Vi har stämt av läget med Andy efter hans besök i Leksand förra veckan.
Andy, congratulations! You are taking over for Tom Gillespie as the MLB Academy Consultant for the European academies.
Can you tell us more about your role with MLB and the different Academies?
- I will be traveling to a number of different Major League Baseball supported Academies in Europe as a consultant, namely Sweden, Czech Republic, Austria and Germany, to assist the programs and coaches, and help continue the great development at each Academy. Tom Gillespie built a lot of great relationships through his years as a consultant and I hope to follow in his footsteps and continue to build from his developmental programs and relationships I’ve had with a number of these Academy coaches for years now.
After being here in Sweden for a week, what are your first impressions of the Academy in Leksand?
- It was my first real taste of the Sweden Academy, and I was very impressed with what is happening in Leksand. Tony Klarberg has put in a lot of hours to build the program and now, it has a real genuine feel of what an Academy is all about. The kids are able to live and go to school full-time in Leksand in conjunction with a top-quality baseball, fitness and off-season program.
- The kids I worked with this week are very hard-working and dedicated to the program, which shows a lot about the Academy. The Academy also gets to play in the Swedish Elitserien, which is great competition for these young guys.
Andy framhäver också helhetstänket kring RIG-verksamheten och att det finns en plan för tiden efter gymnasiet:
- What also impresses me about the Academy is Tony’s ability to work with colleges in the U.S. and find placement for the Academy kids to continue their education and baseball after the Academy. The program in Leksand really puts the student-athletes in position to succeed.
In addition to that role, you are also working with the Czech Federation as the head coach of the national senior and junior teams. This year you have quite a packed schedule with both the European Championships in Holland and directly after that, the World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Regensburg, Germany. How do you prepare for this season?
- It’s definitely going to be a busy and exciting year for Czech Baseball and European baseball. The Czech juniors are going to the World Championships in Korea in late August after winning the silver medal at last year’s Euros. I won’t be going with them, but focusing on the Czech senior national team this year and the Euros and WBC Qualifier.
- We had a successful spring training trip to Parma, Italy last month and have a few more events set up over the summer, like the Prague Baseball Week in late June, to continue to prepare the team. It’s encouraging and it will be interesting to see how the Swedish U21 team does in that tournament as well.
Are you working to find any players with dual passports in the Minor Leagues, or will the team be the same as in the European Championships?
- We do look for those possibilities and look to see if those players will fit into the 24-man roster we have for the European Championships. Those type of players can definitely make an impact with their play and their experience and I’ve seen it in past tournaments.
- We also have a group of hungry young Czech players, some playing college baseball in the U.S., others playing in good winter leagues in Australia in the offseason, and guys from Czech playing in the Dutch, Italian and German leagues that are fighting for a spot, so no matter what happens, we plan to put a strong team on the field for the tournaments.
When you look at the Czech league, which is considered one of the stronger leagues in Europe, what are the main differences from the Swedish Elite League?
- There are a few main things that stand out. I think the eight teams in the Czech Extraliga have more depth in terms of pitching and positional players than the teams in the Swedish league. And that creates I believe more competition for playing time, which is always a good thing in my opinion. The Swedish league has some quality teams that would compete well in the Czech Extraliga, it’s just a matter of depth when it comes to player and talent pool, pitching (we now play three games each weekend in the Czech Extraliga) and other areas.
- I see stronger development happening in the Czech Republic also which feeds into the league and its future. The younger national team programs here are competing more regularly and that experience is invaluable. That’s why seeing what is happening with the Leksand Academy and clubs like Stockholm that continues to build its youth program numbers is so crucial to the future of the leagues.
Andy Berglund i Stockholms spelardräkt senast han spelade i Sverige. Foto: Peter Blomqvist
Anything else you want to add yourself – feel free!
- I appreciate the opportunity to talk Swedish baseball and its continued development. I follow what’s happening there regularly with the Academy, the development, the Eliteserien and the national teams, and have a lot of great memories and friendships from my time in Sweden. I am excited about being able to continue MLB’s support of the Sweden Academy more directly and know those dedicated people working hard in Sweden will do all they can to continue growing the game there in the right way.
Vi tackar Andy Berglund och önskar Andy varmt lycka till i rollen med att fortsätta utveckla de olika Akademierna i Europa!
Senast uppdaterad: 2016-06-07