Jakub Sladek – European baseball star

Prague.TV interview with Kotlářka Praha star player Jakub Sladek

As the Czech Extraliga season get underway, Kotlářka Praha star player Jakub Sladek has more than just baseball on his mind.

Driven by a desire to always be the best, Czech Jakub Sladek has sport in his blood. The man has travelled the world plying his trade but, in the build up to the new baseball season, he has other ventures aside from baseball.

Growing up as a big ice hockey fan, this was Sladek’s first sporting love as he had a passion for sport from a young age. This mixed into other sports before he came across baseball, which is where his life found a natural path.

“I love sports; I love all kinds of sports,” said Sladek.

“Everything I did was easy for me, when I started a sport I was always one of the best. Baseball was the only thing when I started; it was the hardest thing for me to do.”

“I hated myself, I couldn’t stand it. So I was practicing more and more and more, I don’t like being second, I always want to be the best. Every day after school I would go practise, either by myself or with my friends and in less than a year I made it to the national team.”

At the age of 18 he was picked up by Philadelphia Phillies scouts to play in America before then going to Australia, only to then to head to Germany to gain more experience. In 2011 he contracted mono and was unable to play regularly for a year, managing only four games. This didn’t dampen a long lasting aspiration of his though, to play in Japan.

“In 2005 I was selected as one of two Czech players to play for a European team in Japan,” said Sladek.

“I just fell in love with the culture and so in 2011 I debated whether I should quit baseball and look at other options because I was out for so long. God was on my side though because I got a message asking if I wanted to go to Japan to partake in a spring training. At first I thought it was a joke but I went there and did well so I played a season with Ishikawa Million Stars.”

Sladek, whose career has seen him play all over the world, includes Regensburg Legionare in Germany and more recently for Kotlarka Praha in the Czech Extraliga. However, at the age of 27 he still has many years left in his career, although he is currently nursing a broken ankle. In 2014 he was named the best European player of the week and homerun champion in the Czech Extraliga and European championships. It was a year he describes as his “best season to date”.

The first round of Extraliga fixtures to begin on 31.03.17, there is no chance of Sladek being fit in time. This has, however allowed him more time to focus on other events in his life. The recent birth of his son William takes much of his time while on the business side of things he is making progress with his company World Of Sport.

The idea of the company is to provide adults with everything they will ever need in regards to sports. This means everything from personalized gear and clothing to nutrition and physiotherapy, it will satisfy customer needs. Also in the pipeline is the plan to set up sports camps for adults over weekends where all needs are tended to while expert advice and guidance means you achieve the most from the sport.

“The idea of sport is to feel good, with these plans I have I want to produce this good feeling you get from sport,” said Sladek.

“I want to create the right environment, encourage engagement and I want it to be a memorable experience. In order to do so I need enthusiastic people around me.”

Sladek also wanted to part with some words of wisdom to the children wanting to make it big in the baseball world as fans prepare for the beginning of the baseball season shortly.

“Listen to your coach, never stop learning, go to sleep at night happy with yourself,” he said.

“I would also pick a favourite player and study them, use your idols and of course you have to enjoy it.”

Kotlářka Praha www.kotlarka.com
Czech Baseball Association www.baseball.cz (CZ)

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