Work in Sports
Let the games begin!
University of South Carolina baseball coach Ray Tanner is serving as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic baseball team. He was an assistant coach on the 1996 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team that captured a bronze medal in Atlanta. Tanner, who has coached at USC since 1997, led the Gamecocks to the 2000 Southeastern Conference regular season championship with a school-record 56 victories.
September 16, 2000
What's your impression of Sydney so far?
We arrived in Sydney from the Gold Coast on Wednesday. I have never been to Australia, but it is gorgeous. I am totally impressed with Sydney. Everyone is so nice, so friendly. They bend over backwards to help you and work with you. They are just so friendly.
What do you think of the venues?
All the facilities in the Olympic Park are in close proximity to everything. It makes it nice to have all the venues so close to each other. We have practiced both at the Baseball Stadium and Blacktown. The Baseball Stadium doesn't really compare with anything in the U.S. It might compare with Tampa Bay because there are roofs on both sides. It's very unique architecture. Baseball is not the primary sport in Australia -- swimming and cricket are. But, they are very interested in baseball and you can tell there is a tremendous amount of excitement around baseball. We play one game at Blacktown and it is similar to many Triple A parks in the States. The team is very impressed with the amount of work that has been done and the amount of attention the Baseball Stadium has been given.
What's you schedule like now?
Let the games begin! We had our final workout today in preparation for our game with Japan on Sunday. We had a video tape session prior to practice. We have tape on all the teams -- it's important for us to know as much about our opponent as we can. Japan and Cuba are favored to win as the U.S. is picked to finish third. We would love to get out of the blocks with a win against Japan. Ben Sheets will get the ball for the U.S. and former Carolina shortstop Adam Everett will probably get the nod to start at his signature position.
Since we arrived in Sydney we have been focusing on getting ready to play. After practice we went back and relaxed and ate dinner. We have to leave for the stadium early so it's an evening of preparation and rest. We know we have something to prove. We have been together for a little over two weeks and Tommy Lasorda is very pleased so far. Because the major leagues are still hot and heavy in the pennant races, we have sent out best non-major league players. We have some guys with big league experience, but most of them will get there in their career. They talk non-stop about their desire to win the gold medal.
We will take a Harbour cruise on Thursday after we play four days straight. I think I will also drop by Bondi Beach to see what's it all about.
How's the transportation system?
I have never been on a train in my life. But here I take the train almost everywhere I go. The rail system here is tremendous. It's quick and very neat.
Back home - keep it rolling! Sounds like Columbia is really hopping! I am very excited to hear about the football, volleyball and soccer team's success. Go 'Cocks!