Work in Sports
Taken pride in winning games
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 23, 2000
How has your time in Sydney been so far?
Sydney meet Ray Tanner. Ray Tanner meet Sydney. Starting off Olympic play with a 4-0 record, we had some down time Thursday as the USA Baseball team had an off day. The fourth win, a 4-0 win against Korea, was tremendous. Doug Mientkiewicz hit a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning and Adam Everett added two big league plays in the game at shortstop. It was thrilling and so far we are undefeated.
How did you spend your day off?
It made it a very enjoyable off day. I had a fun filled day. I took an hour and half cruise in Sydney Harbour. We went by the Opera House, under the Bridge. Then I took a long walk in the Rocks area. I finished the day at Bondi Beach. The beach was outstanding. Everybody had the day off and we went our separate ways, but we ran into each other at different places. It was a great day because everything was so new. It was the first time I was away from the team since we got here. Sydney Harbour is spectacular. It's such a beautiful area. It's like a picture. Everybody is so nice. They just bend over backwards. They take pride in being the friendliest country in the world. They want you to go back to America singing their praises.
How do you feel about the team's chances in the medal round?
The USA team is in a better position than they thought we would be at this point. So far, we have beaten the two teams we must have to get the medal round: Korea and Japan. A win over Italy tonight will assure of us of being in the medal rounds with two games left.
What's the team chemistry like?
These guys have played great together, especially considering they are coming from so many different places. They are young, but they are mature. They have really taken pride in winning games and not individual accolades. NBC's Ahmad Rashad came by a couple games ago. I am not a pin collector but I got one of Ahmad's pins -- he only has 100. I think I will keep that one.
One thing about working with this team, there is something every day that makes us laugh. But, when the USA takes the field, they are all business. I continue to be all eyes and ears with Tommy Lasorda and the rest of his staff. And we have been playing good, and I attribute a lot of that to the mindset Tommy Lasorda has these players in.
Did the team celebrated Lasorda's birthday?
Friday night was Tommy Lasorda's 73rd birthday. We played Italy and came away with a 4-2 win. The team had a surprise birthday cake in the locker room for Lasorda after the game. We won so there will be a seven-course meal and we still be eating tomorrow. I have been eating a bit too much.
Gamecocks! Keep it rolling. Looking forward to coming home and starting my diet!