Alberto Mineo: "The States, 140 games a year and the shooter"

Winner of the European Baseball Champions Cup with Parma Clima, the sportsman who grew up in the States says: “In America we trained up to two hours before the game”

Pietro Razzini
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On the weekend the Parma Climate won theEuropean Baseball Champions Cup for the fifteenth time in its history: 7 to 6 the final score against Amsterdam, the result of a game always chasing the opponent, which ended with the exultation of the Emilian players. Among these there is also Alberto Mineoan Italian talent who grew up in the States (in Chicago Cubs), Italian national born in 1994, a great protagonist on the pitch and in the dressing room of the European champions: “More than ever now, re-reading what was the semifinal won at the tie break and the final comeback, I want to emphasize the heart fielded by Parma Clima. I could see it in the eyes of my teammates: they were all willing to give 100%, and maybe even more, to reach the goal. But there is one aspect that gives me even more satisfaction: we played great baseball. The points were built according to a team logic. And this is the result of hard work during the year “.

How is a strong group born?

“In Parma we are lucky because the Italians are almost all the same age. And with athletes who are not of my generation, I played for several years in the national team. So we know each other well because we grew up together. On this nucleus, foreigners have been included who have proven to be great men even before being excellent players “.

You grew up sporting in America.

“It was a crazy opportunity both from a sporting point of view and for the life experience. Initially I was the only Italian in a group of over 100 athletes. I do not deny that there have been several difficulties, including the language. But I would make the choice made at the time and, today, I highly recommend it to all the boys “.

What are the main differences compared to Italy?

“Suffice it to say that we played 140 games a season to understand the diversity at a sporting level. We were always on the pitch. Baseball is a sport that must be trained with competitions. The more you practice, the more you get into the game. The training is important but the match is another thing “.

How did a typical competition day develop?

“When we played at 7 pm, we arrived at the pitch around noon. In America, one is considered a professional at 360 degrees. A pro knows his body and does what it takes to be at his best in the match. Then practice up to two hours before the game. Then we entered the race mood “.

Here in Italy, on the other hand, how do you manage the week?

“Workouts from Tuesday to Thursday. About two and a half hours plus another hour and a half of personal session. The athletic part of the group is handled by Alessandro Fanfoni. On Fridays and Saturdays, however, we dedicate ourselves to the double round of matches “.

Is there also a study of the opposing team?

“You work with numbers, reading data. In the approach to the race there is also the video part to see pitchers and batters. Often on the day of the first game of the series. In fact, many players know each other well. On those we face for the first time, however, we analyze more in depth “.

What features should a receiver have?

“Definitely a good arm. And then he must have an athletic physique: the stereotype of the ‘robust’ catcher, son of baseball movies, is wrong. You need great explosiveness in the movement and strength in the legs to get up, get into the optimal position and launch towards the bases “.

How are these qualities trained?

“It takes time and sacrifice. We work with the ball-throwing machine to improve the receiving technique and make the shooting movements at the bases fluid. Usually the machines are set at a higher speed than the average human shots in order to make the technical gesture in the race easier ”.

How important is it to have a great relationship with pitchers?

“It’s fundamental because on the pitch, then, it’s me and him against the hitter. For this you have to earn the trust of your partner, even with simple gestures: sit close in the bus and chat, exchange opinions while collecting balls during batting training. No exceptional acts are needed “.

Do you control the choices when you are on the diamond?

“The last decision always rests with the pitcher. I try to give the best basic setting to the game according to the analysis I have done. This is also why it is essential that the receiver and the pitcher know each other well: to be on the same line when there are decisions to be made “.

“You must never be disheartened by situations. Especially in the beginning when it is even more difficult to hit the ball. It is essential to do a lot of practice because when you see the ball thrown by the opponent fly high, after hitting it, you feel a crazy satisfaction “.

Is it a natural movement for you?

“I work daily to improve myself. I spend a lot of time batting. From this year we have also Roberto Bianchi, the best Italian hitter of all time, available on our staff. He is helping me both psychologically and technically ”.

One of the pieces of advice he gave you?

“He reminded me that, in our sport, whoever hits three out of ten valid balls is to be considered a phenomenon. So never lose self-esteem because, even if you make seven mistakes, you are well above the average. On a mental level, he emphasizes the fact that he gives importance to every round of the bat we do: having the game plan in mind clearly and staying in the game constantly ”.

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