Czech baseball players during training in the Tokyo Dome at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) tournament in Tokyo, Japan on March 8, 2023.
Tokyo – The organizers are treating Czech baseball players like stars at the prestigious World Baseball Classic (WBC) tournament, which the team will enter on Friday in Tokyo with a match against China. The national team in Japan receives the same service as players of the famous Major League Baseball (MLB) – they live in luxury hotels, have countless balls at their disposal during training sessions and perfect facilities in the dressing room.
About ten people from MLB take care of the organization of the Czech team. “David Neveříl himself normally takes care of everything for us,” said the outer polar Arnošt Dubový in a press release. “They don't care about money at all, we had absolute facilities in the locker room already during the preliminaries. We looked at it like Alice in Wonderland. We throw dirty clothes in front of the room, the next day they are washed. But we don't feel like MLB stars. We remain humble.” assured Dubový, a teacher of physical education and geography at the gymnasium.
Since MLB, teams have had endless balls to practice with. The player was given roughly thirty of the best quality wooden bats and could choose the one that fit best on their head from a number of helmets. “Maybe they brought a truck just for us. Gloves, sweatbands, bags…,” recounted Dubový, a player of the Draků Brno in the Czech Extraliga. has countless professionals from the elite competition on its rosters. “The strength, prestige and financial security of the overseas competition can be felt at every step in Tokyo,” said the Czech Baseball Association.
The Czechs got to know the hospitality of the MLB already during the final preparation in the town of Aoshima near Miyazaki in the south of Japan on the island of Honshu. “Normally, we carry our bags ourselves, but here everyone jumps us, they carry it all the way to our rooms,” said catcher Martin Červenka, who was the closest Czech player to MLB engagement during his career overseas. “You can get used to it,” he smiled and added in one breath: “No, I'm kidding, it's weird, we're just making fun of it.”
In a four-star hotel right on the beach in Aoshima, the baseball players were comfortable including a spa or gym, and each floor was guarded by a two-member security guard. Each player got his own room, and head coach Pavel Chadim got an entire suite. In Tokyo, the Czechs found refuge in a five-star hotel, where, according to the CBA, a night in a double room costs from 10,000 crowns without additional services. It includes a hotel shopping arcade with luxury shops, including a Rolls Royce car showroom.
But the team mainly focuses on baseball. They will try to surprise their opponent on the artificial grass in the covered Tokyo Dome already in the first match against China. “We're not afraid of anything. We'll go all out, we want to win and squeeze the best out of ourselves,” declared inner midfielder Martin Mužík.