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Stefano Tamburini and several baseball teams from Europe are expected to take part in the 8th International U15 Baseball Tournament in Therwil, Switzerland, from 10 to 12 May, 2024. Italian coach Stefano Tamburini took the time to tell the Therwil Flyers Team-Sponsor Xecutives.net about the sport of baseball, his career as a baseball coach and his relationship with baseball in general. Read an interesting interview about baseball with an outstanding coach who has been in contact with the Therwil Flyers for many years.

Xecutives.net: Dear Stefano, you are expected to take part in the 8th International U15 Baseball Tournament in Therwil. You, your baseball team and representatives of the Therwil Flyers have known each other for many years and there is a lively conversation between Switzerland and Italy when it comes to baseball. How did you get into baseball yourself?

Stefano Tamburini: In my hometown baseball was very big in the 1980s, so I started playing with a lot of friends of mine. Unfortunately, my family moved up north in a city where baseball was not present, so I had to quit. But passion for this sport was already running through my veins though, and I became a simple fan, attending as many games as possible. From there, thanks to a friend of mine, I also started to attend softball games. Help was needed, so I had the chance to become a coach.

Stefano Tamburini, Italian Baseball Coach
Stefano Tamburini

Xecutives.net: What is it that you like about being a coach if it comes to baseball?

Stefano Tamburini: I love being a baseball coach, especially when it comes to coaching young kids.
I love teaching, I love seeing them grow as athletes and as human beings, I love seeing their eyes full of joy when they obtain something great as individuals or as a team. I love being around young kids and helping them to become better men/women thanks to this wonderful sport.

Xecutives.net: Being a baseball coach, is there a difference to other coaching activities such as football or hockey? In your opinion, is there something that makes baseball particularly interesting for a coach?

Stefano Tamburini: What I love about baseball is that you cannot hide, you have to take responsibilities in every action otherwise you put your team in jeopardy. For example, if there is a hit along the 3rd base line and you are the right fielder, you might think it’s none of your business, but if you don’t cover appropriately something bad might happen. Baseball is the only sport as far as I know that has a sacrifice when you are on offense and that tells how much of a team sport it is, but at the same time it is the most individual sport among the team sports, because You have to alone face 9 opposing players when in the batter’s box and this is not possible elsewhere.

Xecutives.net: You coached Fortitudo Bologna, an outstanding baseball club in Italy. Can you give us some information about your current club, about its impact in Italy and your activities? 

Stefano Tamburini: I have been coaching many teams during my career. Fortitudo is the most famous one, thanks to the senior team, but every team was special to me. Now I’m proudly a part of San Lazzaro organization, a team whose main goal is to keep as many kids as possible in a fantastic environment, where they can become better ballplayers and better persons without too much pressure. We are not very interested in winning percentage when it comes to juvenile baseball, but more focused in letting a kid have the time of his life and I love this approach. When he’ll be done with playing, the last things that he’ll remember will be wins or losses. What stays in your mind for the whole life are the memories of the moments you lived with your teammates, the people you met, the experiences you had, not your winning percentage or batting average. We want those memories to be as beautiful as possible. But make no mistake: all of this while they work very hard, this is also a must for us as coaches.

Xecutives.net: In Switzerland and other countries in Europe baseball is considered a “Randsport”. Several interview partners in the past have talked about this. In your opinion, what is it that still makes baseball a marginal sport in Europe, whereas it is a super sport in countries like Mexico, USA, Japan and even Cuba?

Stefano Tamburini: Hard to tell… Baseball is not in our culture; football is the main sport and draws all the attention. In Italy baseball was becoming a big sport in the 1980s and 1990s, but unfortunately things have gone downhill since. It should be played at school, should be seen more on TV, maybe this could help, but it’s not an easy task. We have to keep working and working because there is nothing more appealing for a young kid than hitting a ball with a bat. 

I’m still optimistic, as always!!

Stefano Tamburini talks in an interview with Xecutives.net about the Baseball Junior league world series

Xecutives.net: If you compare Switzerland and Italy, for example, are there differences in how baseball is viewed by society?

Stefano Tamburini: We’ll, I don’t know Switzerland so much. It’s hard to have an answer, but I don’t think it’s very different. Italy has a stronger tradition, thanks to the fact that US troops had to free us during World War II and taught us their national pastime, but this is a long time ago.

Xecutives.net: Several interview partners have talked about the influence of baseball sport in daily business and live. Sebastian Zwyer of the Therwil Flyers, who you know well from coaching and playing together, said that baseball has taught him to keep going and get up when you’re down. He said that in baseball, you always fail and you always have to get back into a positive mode. For him, this way of dealing with failure also has a major impact in business and private life. This seems to me to be a very important point in regard to this sport, especially when it comes to coaching younger players. What is your experience?

Stefano Tamburini: As I said, to me baseball is the most beautiful sport for young kids. You are going to face every situation that you’ll find in your everyday life, but in an environment that you like. You have responsibilities toward your teammates in every action and you have to take them. You have to deal with failures, if you are very good you are going to fail 7 times out of ten when hitting, no other sport is so cruel, and you have to react immediately, like you are supposed to do in normal life.

There’s another thing that is outstanding to me: you have always a chance. Maybe you are 0/4 with 3 strike outs, or maybe you just made an awful error that put the opposite team on top, but then you step in the box and have the chance to hit a walkoff homer.

What you have done in the past it’s only good for statistics. It doesn’t help or kill you in the present. This means that you always have to be mentally strong and this is very fascinating. I love taking care of the mental aspect with my kids, I think that is what makes a very big difference between a good player and a superstar. I had the chance to become friends with sport psychologist Ken Ravizza (who unfortunately passed away) and he helped me (and millions of people) to become a better coach and a better person and to understand that our mind can be trained like we train our playing skills.

Xecutives.net: Italy has won five regional titles in Europe which resulted in the opportunity to get to the Little League World Series (LLWS). After a victory in the Netherlands in 2022 you had the chance to go to USA for a tournament with your team. Can you tell us about your experience of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, USA?

Stefano Tamburini: Well, my eyes still get watery when I think about LLWS. It was an incredible experience. You are treated like a pro in every aspect: TV interviews, your games are broadcasted live all around the world, thousands of people attending, you sign hundreds of balls, the parade with I don’t know how many thousands of people attending, hanging around with major league players before their game… It is very difficult to describe how wonderful this is!
We also played great baseball, losing first with China Taipei with a very tight score and to Curacao (the 2 international finalists) only 1-0 and having 3 very good chances to score during the game.
Between these 2 games we won against Australia, and it was the very first win for an Italian born kids team at the LLWS. But the thing that I remember very well is the fact that my kids played this outstanding baseball while smiling. I invite you to look at our games on YouTube. You’ll see them always happy and always smiling and this has been an incredible life lesson also for me.

Little League World Series, Baseball Turnier, Sieg gegen Australien

I was in the US during the LLWS, and I heard the ESPN broadcasters saying: „How fun it was to watch the Italian team last year!“ Useless to say how proud I was to hear that. I was lucky enough also to qualify for the Junior League World Series in 2019 which are held in Michigan and, even if with less hype, it’s been a fantastic experience too!

Xecutives.net: Most baseball coaches have children of their own who also play baseball. Coaching is very time-consuming and it’s fun to see how your own children play, including me seeing my son on the field. You also have children, and I would like to know if they also play baseball and are enthusiastic about the sport.

Stefano Tamburini: I’m part of the group, we are a baseball family. My wife played softball for over 30 years, that’s where we met. My older son is now in the US playing baseball in a 4 years college while pursuing a master in engineering, his childhood dream and I couldn’t be prouder. My youngest one is playing in Italy. He has dreams to go overseas like his brother, but he’s too young yet. He played at the 2023 U15 European Championship with the Italian national team and in 2019 LLWS in Williamsport. I also have a girl, but she has chosen another sport.

Xecutives.net: Baseball is all about fairness and tolerance. Anyone who violates the Code of Conduct at international tournaments must expect to be excluded. It seems to me that baseball is a great sport for getting to know other countries and people and their families, always very respectfully, no matter which team wins. What experiences have you had in your life with people from other regions who also play baseball?

Stefano Tamburini: I have friends all around the world and only thanks to baseball. I’m very focused on my behaviour and the behaviour of my team, but as you said it’s a thing that baseball people normally do.

I had the chance to meet wonderful people like here in Therwil that made me a better person and that’s what will stay forever in my mind once I’ll stop coaching!

Xecutives.net: Soon you’ll be in Therwil again for the 8th International U15 Baseball Tournament over Ascension 2024, hopefully. What are you particularly looking forward to when you and your team are back in Switzerland?

Stefano Tamburini Italian Baseball coach in a Xecutives.net interview

Stefano Tamburini: Well, I still don’t know if I’ll be able to come, because we have many teams playing at that weekend, but I really hope so. I attend many tournaments, but the one in Therwil is special and it’s the kids favourite by far. People are great, organization Is perfect, but there’s a feeling of joy and peace that you breathe only here in Therwil. Couldn’t thank Seb (Sebastian Zwyer) enough and his wonderful team for the invitation and I really hope that I can make it. I am very sure that my 2024 team will enjoy this experience and that they will remember it for their whole life!

Xecutives.net: Dear Stefano, thank you for this interview! I wish you and your baseball team a lot of further success, also to your family and a nice stay in Therwil, Switzerland, with great baseball moments for everybody!

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