While the Elitseries has already started with Stockholm Monarchs sweeping Leksand Lumberjacks in a two game series, the Sharks is still waiting another few days for our opening game. We will face Stockholm away this Saturday and the home opener is May 10th.
Meanwhile we will take the opportunity to introduce our American players for the 2014 season! First off, we are proud to announce that Patrick Laffin will return to Gothenburg!
Below is an interview with Patrick just before coming back to Sweden.
Welcome back for a 2nd year with Hajarna. We’re excited to have you be a part of our organisation once again. What was your first impression by Swedish baseball?
I was really impressed by the closeness of the team and the organization. It felt like one big family, and I really enjoyed that feeling. I believe that baseball is baseball no matter where you are, the ony thing that is different is the people you play with, and with that being said, the people I played with, and against in Sweden, really made me love my experience.
Did the city of Gothenburg and Sweden in general live up to your expectations?
They both far surpassed my expectations! I fell in love with both the city of Gothenburg and Sweden in general! I am so excited to come back!!!
What do you think of the 2014 roster and our chances?
I am really excited to see the team! I know they have worked hard this off-season, and I am pumped to get back onthe field and practice! I think if we carry the momentum and attitude from the end of the season last year, where we were definetly playing out best baseball, we will be great!
Do have any personals goals that you aim to achieve this season?
I always go into a season aiming to play the best baseball I possibly can and put my team in the best position to win a game; and this season is no exception. I think it is hard to set specific numeric goals in baseball, because it is such a game of chance and inconsistencies.
Coming back for a 2nd year and knowing a bit more of how the game runs here, have you altered your off-season routine?
I have no altered my personal routine this off season, what I ahve done though is expand my knowledge of all different aspects of the game, to make myself a better coach for my fellow teammates on both the Elite and Regional teams.
What’s your favorit baseball memory of 2014? Clinching the Elite Series spot by beating Alby on the road? Taking a dip in the ocean after our road games?
We had so many great moments, both on the field and off it is hard to pick one specific time or event that was my favorite! The memories that will stick with me forever, are not the ones that happened on the field, rather the times outside of baseball that I got to spend with my teammates and their families and friends!
A lot of people rave about the Swedish cuisine and I’m sure you’ve been able to try some different dishes. Is there anything that stand out to you as delicious or not the tastiest meal on the planet?
I am a big fan of food! My mom is a chef and nutritionist, so I have had a love and appreciation of food from a young age. I loved all the food I tried in Sweden, and would often keep my mom up to date on all the new food I tired! When my mom and sister visited, I took them to a restaurant called Sjomagasinet Restaurang and we had classic Scandanavian food prepared by a master chef! It was so good! I also loved going to the Feskekôrka, and getting fresh fish to bring home and cook!!
If you were to give a tourist a planned day in the Gothenburg area, what would that day look like?
I actually got the opportunity to plan a couple days in Gothenburg for my mom and sister! If I had to plan a one day adventure, I would start with the Paddan Tour on the city, because that offers great insight into the city, and allows you to see it from many different and unique vantage points. It also provides background information on different areas and buildings, which would be useful knowledge for the day trip. After that I would go for Fika in Haga, because that is a really cool and unique area. While in haga, I would take them to the top of Skansen Kronan, for the awesome vantage point at the top. After that I would plan some shopping and walking, starting at central station and Nordstan, and then working our way down the streets in the Brunnsparken area! I would finish the day with a nice dinner, and then a trip to the Avenue for some drinks!
I know you’re a fan of the Red Sox growing up in the Boston area. What was it like coming home from Sweden in mid September last year to witness their hunt for October and eventually winning it all? Did you go to any games at Fenway?
It was awesome coming home and expirencing the hype and excitement of the Red Sox! It is hard to explain how the Red Sox captivate the city to someone who has never been, so I will not even attempt because my words will not be sufficient! I did not get to watch a lot of games while in Sweden, due to the time difference, and so when I got home I had a lot of catching up to do! I was lucky to have some buddies I played college baseball visit me during the playoffs. One of my friends is from Venezula and is in the Detriot farm system, and works out with Miguel Caberera in the offseason. He was able to get us tickets to game 6 of the ALCS which was so amazing to be at!
Expectations on the upcoming major league season? Any teams that really stand out as contenders? Can Boston repeat? Any obvious bottom dwellers?
Boston will repeat, plain and simple! The Yankees will be the bottom dwellers.
It’s still early but can we please get your picks for the World Series and who’ll be the WS champ? Will it be a Northern Cali Series in SF with the Giants and A’s?
I am feeling a Boston, LA World Series!
Thoughts on MVP’s and CY Young winners in each league from the past year? Really tight races and we’d love your take on it.
I think the MVP in both the American League and the National League went to the right guys. Caberera and McCutchen are both awesome! I think Clayton Kershaw deserved the NL Cy Young, but I am a little torn on the AL Cy Young in Scherzer, I don’t know how I feel about him! Keep an eye on my boy Wil Myers in Tampa. He’s bound to do big things!