Global Baseball Games: Pavel Chadim becomes first Czech coach on Team Europe's staff

Global Baseball Games: Pavel Chadim becomes first Czech coach on Team Europe's staff
05/02/2024
The former ExtraLiga star outfielder became the first manager to lead Czechia to the World Baseball Classic. He will serve as manager Mazzieri's first base coach. "World Baseball needs European Baseball to be strong."

Pavel Chadim will be the first Czech to coach on Team Europe's staff. He will serve as the first base coach.

"It's a huge honour for Czech baseball to be part of this. In 2015, we had just one player [infielder Jakub Sladek] on the roster. Now we have one coach, and the staff is considering different Czech players. We will do our best to show we belong at this level."

He added: "It's great that Europe can show cooperation. I'm so proud of European countries coming together. I believe world baseball needs European baseball. Baseball is strong in Asia and the Americas. Europe needs to be that strong."

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Born in Brno, Czechia, in 1971, Chadim was a star outfielder in the Czech ExtraLiga. He started at Technica Brno and was part of eight pennant-winning Draci Brno teams. After managing the U-21 National Team in 2012, he earned the job of National Team manager in 2021.

Chadim also became the first manager to lead Czechia in a World Baseball Classic last year, a tournament where the Czechs enjoyed a special relationship with Japanese fans.

"Well, our goal would have been winning, but you are right; we had a special relationship with the fans."

How would you explain that?

"I believe Japanese baseball and Czech baseball share the same mentality. We both work hard, respect the teams we face and are not scared to play anybody. I think the Japanese fans recognized this and respected it."

Czechia was already considered the underdog in the qualifier. Making it to the main tournament was a great accomplishment.

"You know sports, sometimes you do everything you are meant to do and get no result, sometimes things come together. During the qualification tournament in Regensburg, we worked hard, we were brave enough, and we found good chemistry. We prepared well against 90+ mile-per-hour fastballs, and our pitchers threw strikes consistently."

How do you feel having led Czechia to the World Baseball Classic as a Czech manager after import coaches previously failed?

"I have two answers to this question. The first is that import coaches did help Czech baseball. Let me name Jim Jones, Jeff Samuels, Stan Luketich, Rick Jacques, Andy Berglund, Mike Griffin and the late Bill Holmberg. The second answer is that all Czech coaches were eager to show they belonged at the international level. Of course, many people who contribute outside the field also are to credit for Czech baseball's success."

Czechia is relatively new on the baseball stage. The national team made its international debut in 1990 in a B-Pool European Championship in Parma, Italy with a batting line-up that featured many left-handed hitters, which was reportedly due to hockey players having being recruited.

Chadim explained how Czech baseball has grown since then. "Those days, we worked on quantity. In 10 years, we started all the youth leagues. Seven years ago, we added developing projects for pitchers, catchers and hitters. So, it was no miracle."

However, despite all this improvement, which sees Czechia currently sit 15th in the WBSC/KONAMI Men's Baseball World Ranking they're still looking for their first medal at European level.

"This is sports, you know. We placed fifth in the European Championship when I was a player, and we are still fifth now that I am the manager. We also shouldn't forget that Great Britain and Israel count on players developed in the United States. We don't like being fifth. We aim at third place minimum."

"Losing against Great Britain in the quarterfinals was disappointing last year, but you must credit them. They had a great team. The hitters at the top of the batting order [Harry Ford and Nick Ward] killed us, and their reliever, Joseph King, was unbelievable. We had 12 hits against their starter [Jacob Esch, a former MLB player], but they turned three double plays. Baseball's plans were probably for us to win a medal next time."

What do you expect from the Global Baseball Series?

"Playing against Japan is always a celebration, I can't wait. I wish the fans will enjoy great baseball in Osaka."

How do you see the chemistry of the coaching staff? You know each other as opponents.

"We are communicating a lot. We had a lot of Zoom meetings, and we'll have many more before travelling to Japan. They are all great coaches. All the coaches on this staff have fielded outstanding teams. If you watched those teams play, you immediately respected their coaches. The teams mirror their coaches. I participated in the Austrian Convention with Mazzieri, and we also shared the experience of the Mountain Baseball Clinic in Czechia. I'm looking forward to working with him again."