The mission had a clear objective. “We want to learn from the best baseball country in the world and, thanks to that, advance baseball in the Czech Republic,” commented the representative of the Czech Baseball Association Lukáš Ercoli on the visit.
The invitation came from the professional Japanese league team Chiba Lotte Marines, which wants to establish a three-year cooperation with Czech baseball. National team manager Pavel Chadim threw the ceremonial pitch in front of an almost sold-out 30,000-seat stadium, becoming the first Czech to have this opportunity. “Throwing a pitch before a game in one of the best baseball leagues in the world is a great honor and I really appreciate it,” Chadim appreciates the historic moment.
He also met with the manager of the Japanese national team, Hideki Kuriyama, who led the Samurai to victory at the WBC. “I wanted to personally congratulate Mr. Kuriyama on his victory and express my admiration for his attitude and the way he leads the team. I offered him the role of ambassador of Czech-Japanese cooperation,” Chadim recounts, adding: “He promised me that I would get an answer during his visit to the Czech Republic in September, when he would like to thank our national team, which made a huge impression on him.”
The Czech delegation enjoyed a lot of interest from the local media all the time. Over 40 journalists arrived at the press conference, the meeting of representative managers was filmed by the crew of Asahi TV, one of the largest Japanese television stations. Baseball fans then enjoyed the presence of Martin Mužík, author of the famous home run from the game against China.
“I have never experienced anything like this before. I walked in front of the stadium in the Czech jersey and a huge crowd of people formed around me. I spent an hour and a half taking pictures and paying attention to the fans. We really appreciate their huge interest in Czech baseball,” smiles the experienced Czech representative.