Team USA Chat: July 21

Moderator: Greetings from the Hotel
Avanti in Brno, Czech Republic. As we start this chat, it is about 8
p.m. local time. Hopefully everyone back in the States is having a
great Monday afternoon. Let’s get started…

 Q:  Mark from Westfield,IN asks:
Are you in anyway related to the phenomenal Gibson that plays against
my sons team from Mount Vernon, keep up the good work.

Kyle Gibson:
Yes, we are related. The coach is my uncle and the player is my cousin.
My father actually was his pitching coach this year. We also were high
school rivals, so it was fun to match up against them.

 Q:  Jimmy from Blue Ridge, Ga. asks:

So how different is international baseball from college baseball? Which is tougher?


Kendal Volz:
International is a different game. Every player is extremely talented.
College baseball has something special, as well; but, it’s a different
experience playing different countries rather than different
universities. Metal bats in college definitely give the batter an

 Q:  John Madey from St. Louis, Missouri asks:
What is the difference day in and day out from college baseball to playing on the US National Team?

Kyle Gibson:
The major difference is that we don’t have to wake up and go to class
every day. That makes it a little less stressful day in and day out;
we’re able to just focus on baseball.

Kendal Volz: Being
overseas, we’re all out of our comfort zone. You can’t just go to the
store and get stuff when you need it. We’ve had to overcome some
barriers along the way with travel and stuff, but all of that just
makes us better in the long run.

Kyle Gibson: Also, while
we were still in the States, we had to do a lot of marketing events:
appearances and such. There is more of a demand on our time in that
regard while playing for Team USA than while at college.

 Q:  David from Austin, TX asks:
How has the training with USA been? What kind of experience do you hope to take away from this?

Kendal Volz:
Because our sole purpose over here is to play baseball and vie for
championships, there is more time for us to practice. We’ve had some
practices in the mornings on game days, and that definitely is
different from the college game.

Kyle Gibson: And the
practices are different. There are 22 guys on roster, and only a
handful of us have ever played together. So the time in practice is
necessary to learn how work together and react to how each of us plays
the game.

 Q:  Jay S. from Portland asks:

What have you learned this summer that you’ll take into next year’s college season?


Kendal Volz:
I’ve definitely learned to trust my stuff more and have more confidence
in my own ability. Being in the closer’s role, I’ve had to go out and
go right at batters from the first pitch. I think doing that and having
success with that will benefit me greatly when I return to a starter’s
role for Baylor next spring.

 Q:  J.P. Whatley from Oregon asks:
much did it mean to you guys to take down Cuba’s Olympic team, given
all the history between USA Baseball and the Cuban national team?

Kyle Gibson:
At the time, I didn’t really understand how big of an accomplishment it
was. After hearing from the coaches and general manager Eric Campbell
all the history between USA and Cuba, it means a lot to be able to
avenge some losses from the past. It says a lot that the U.S. college
team was able to beat Cuba’s Olympic Team. A lot of people didn’t think
it could be done.

 Q:  Honkbal fan from Netherlands asks:
Guys, which has been cooler, the Netherlands or the Czech Republic? Better fans, better nightlife, better time overall?

Kendal Volz:
The atmosphere in the Netherlands definitely unique. It was awesome and
a lot of fun to play there. You won’t find that type of environment at
any baseball games anywhere else in the world.

Kyle Gibson:
There definitely was a different level of acceptance in the Nethlerands
compared to the Czech Republic. By the end of Honkbal, we were the
crowd favorites. In the Czech Republic, the fans only cared about the
Czech team winning. In the Netherlands, the fans just wanted to see a
good game.

 Q:  Kyle from Fort Worth asks:
What do ya’ll do on your downtime. Any chance to go out and have fun?

Kendal Volz:
Mostly, Kyle and I dominate everyone else in spades… ask our
moderator. We also get a pretty consistent dose of nap time. We try to
work out on our own, as well. We jogged through the stone streets of
Regensburg, Germany, during our stay there; that was very cool.

Kyle Gibson:
It’s been a lot of fun to do some sight-seeing in the cities we’ve
visited. There have been a lot of historic buildings to see, and it’s
given us an opportunity to experience different cultures.

 Q:  ricky from oklahoma city asks:
So who’s going to win the Big 12 next year? Do you guys talk any smack to each other about the conference?

Kendal Volz: Baylor. Definitely not those bums from Columbia.

Kyle Gibson: Missouri. Definitely not those slaps from Waco.

Moderator: Sic ‘Em.

 Q:  Jerome from Kannapolis, N.C. asks:
it like to be part of such a great collection of talent? Do you guys
pick things up from each other, like new pitches or techniques or
anything like that?

Kyle Gibson:
It’s an honor. Playing with so many future first-rounders, it’s easy to
pick up new things whether it’s a different grip on a two-seam
(fastball) or a new way to throw a changeup. Normally, you listen to
the advice because odds are the guy will be a first-rounder. Who wants
to turn down advice from a first-rounder.

 Q:  tessa from odessa asks:
who’s the toughest hitter you’ve faced this summer? how about the toughest Team USA hitter you’ve faced in practice?

Kendal Volz: Most everyone from Cuba and Japan. Those guys are very good hitters.

Kyle Gibson:
It says something about the international teams. They all have
different approaches, and they go up there to battle. They don’t just
go up there and swing for the fences. Every spot in the lineup is a
tough out.

Kendal Volz: International teams play the game
differently. Small ball is so much more important because speed is much
more a part of the game. The lineups from top-to-bottom has guys who
have very developed games at the plate. A lot of guys in college get
two strikes and they have to guess; there’s no other way they can hit.

 Q:  Zach O’Malley from Daytona Beach, Florida asks:
Do you attack hitters differently when they’re using wood bats than you would against metal?

Kyle Gibson:
It doesn’t vary too much from our approach at Missouri. We go right at
guys and try to get two strikes quickly. It’s a good time to stress our
approach; if they don’t pick a good pitch to hit with a wooden bat,
it’s going to shatter the bat and they’ll be an easy out. They have to
be more selective with the wooden bat.

Kendal Volz: In
college, you try to stay with the same approach as when you’re pitching
to wooden bats. But I think against you’re able to use your fastball
more against wooden bats. Metal bats allow hitters to get away with

 Q:  Andrew from Durham asks:
and Kyle- it was fun watching the National Team play in Durham. How did
you guys like playing at the DBAP and in Cary, and how did the level of
competition measure up to what you guys have faced in college?

Kendal Volz:
The DBAP is one of the nicest parks in the country. The clubhouse guys
at Durham are first class. It was exciting to kickoff international
play there.

Kyle Gibson: The USA Baseball facility in Cary
is one of the top facilities around. It’s a great opportunity for kids
in the North Carolina to have goals to one day compete at that complex.

 Q:  susan q. from clearwater, fla asks:
What’s the coolest place you’ve visited on this current tour with Team USA?

Kyle Gibson:
Regensburg, Germany, was amazing. I wish we had more than two days
there. The streets were one-car streets, people riding bikes, the
churches and the buildings. It was a lot of fun to check out.

Kendal Volz:
You can’t beat the game atmosphere in the Netherlands. That’s been my
favorite part by far. (from Kyle: I mean, a fan mooned the umpires over
a bad call!!!)

Moderator: Yodeljump during the rain delays at Haarlem Honkbal Week. So much fun.

 Q:  riley from DC asks:
It’s been a pretty long season for you guys, starting way back in February. Are you feeling any fatigue?

Kendal Volz:
Your body definitely gets worn down, but that’s why you continue to
workout during the season and the summer. It’s been at least five games
a week ever since February.

Kyle Gibson: As we mentioned
earlier, nap time is a big part of our routine. But getting a good
night’s sleep is an important part of staying strong. Most of the time,
though, the unique situation we’re in helps us forget about the fatique
because this is such a fun atmosphere.

 Q:  Darlene from San Antonio Texas asks:
How do the overseas games compare to the Big 12 Conference games?

Kyle Gibson:
Especially in Haarlem, fans were not so much cheering for one team but
instead cheering for good games and good plays. It’s not like the Big
12 fans, who rag us quite a bit. It’s not as “Hostel”… might you say.

Kendal Volz:
The fans aren’t rooting so much for one team. They want to see a
well-played game. And they are very appreciative of good play and

 Q:  Harold Gornitz from San Antonio, Texas asks:
Kendal, we are so proud of you and follow every blog. Have you lost any weight since the tournement started ?

Kendal Volz:
This time last summer, I weighed about 10 or 15 pounds more than I do
now. But I don’t think I’ve lost any weight this summer. USA Baseball
takes care of us; they feed us pretty well. Not as well as Volz family
get-togethers, but pretty good.

 Q:  Kiki from Texas asks:
Gibby, how are the fields over there? Where have the fans been the most entertaining/distracting?

Kyle Gibson:
Hi Kiki! The fields have been surprisingly good. The field crew really
took care of the fields at Haarlem, even though it rained a lot…
everyday. They put in a lot of work to make sure we could play every
game. The fans have been more entertaining than any fans in the U.S. No
offense to American fans, but the European fans just get into the game
more and have more fun.

 Q:  LAUREN from SSPT asks:

Kendal Volz:
A lot of people, including my pitching coach growing up and my parents.
My faith in God has helped me through the ups and downs that the game
of baseball continually throws at you.

 Q:  Kristi Kantor from Houston, TX asks:
Kendal, what was your favorite team to play so far and why?

Kendal Volz:
Cuba. They brought their best team, and they had some players as old as
36 (and still throwing 95 mph). Their lineup had some of the best
hitters we’ll ever face. And beating them twice just made it that much

 Q:  Darren from Virginia asks:
Do you get good scouting reports on these teams or are most players just unknowns and you have to rely on your best stuff?

Kyle Gibson:
Our coaches get to see some of the other teams play before we play them
and get a good scouting report. But a lot of the time, we just have to
rely on our stuff… just go out there and throw your best pitch. If
you get beat with your best stuff, they you get beat.

Moderator: Micah Gibbs from LSU just stopped by and said, “Hello.”


Kendal Volz: God-willing, hopefully I’ll have that opportunity.

 Q:  Shane from Miami asks:
off, congratulations to you both and thank you for taking the time to
chat. Can you each name the toughest college hitter you’ve faced so far?

Kyle Gibson:
Thank you for the congratulations, and it’s our pleasure to chat. There
are so many good hitters in college baseball, especially in the Big 12.
It’s hard to pick out just one.

Kendal Volz: I concur.

 Q:  Paul from San Diego asks:
you could both emulate a professional pitcher, who would you most
compare yourselves to? Also, having never seen this Stephen Strasburg
kid, is he really that dominating?

Kyle Gibson:
I’d say Verlander. We’re both tall and lean. He has great sink on his
fastball and a great slider. I hope one day my pitches are as good as

Kendal Volz: Nuke LaLoosh.

 Q:  David from San Antonio, TX asks:
I actually played against you in high school while you were at Smithson
Valley. So I knew back then you had great stuff and bright future. How
has this experience been from playing locally to Baylor to representing
your country?

Kendal Volz:
It’s been an honor the whole way. Playing at Baylor is great, and
playing for Team USA has been a lot of fun. It’s cliché to say, but
when you’re one of about 30 people standing on the line when the
Star-Spangled Banner is played, there is something special about that.

 Q:  J from Texas asks:
I hear of an infamous guy named Lars who likes to follow around team USA. Any sign of him?

LSU’s Micah Gibbs is back in the room and asked to take this
question… Gibbs says, “We’ve seen signs of him. He’s not bad for a
guy from North Louisiana.”

Kyle Gibson: He thinks he’s
good at spades, but Kendal and I know differently. What was that score
last night? 516 to minus-244? Something like that.

Moderator: Thanks, guys. By the way, Auburn’s Hunter Morris and Florida’s Matt den Dekker have stopped by and they say, “Hello,” as well.

 Q:  Kiki from Texas asks:
What is it like being coached by that guy from Kansas???

Kyle Gibson: Oh, he’s big time!

Kendal Volz: He’s a stud, baby!

Kyle Gibson:
Waking up to “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!” has not been fun. Especially since
he’s made me take care of the bat tube twice now! But he’s a good coach
and brings a lot of energy to the field.

 Q:  Randy from Seattle asks:
A lot of major league pitchers are good golfers. Do you have any kind of game. for Kyle especially

Kyle Gibson:
I play golf whenever possible. Actually, I’ll be going to the golf
course as soon as I get back to Indiana to beat my dad in a round.
Randy, I challenge you to a round any day.

Moderator: LSU’s Micah Gibbs CLAIMS to be a scratch golfer. And I CLAIM to be good at spades.

 Q:  ricky from oklahoma city asks:
Kendal said he hasn’t lost any weight this summer; Kyle, have you gained any weight?

Kyle Gibson: Not really any change. Still right around 195 kilograms… er, uh… pounds. Sorry, we’ve been in Europe too long.

 Q:  adam hornung from waco asks:
Can I have your autograph when you get back? Me and Rob are about to workout..good luck the rest of the summer bud..

Kendal Volz: Not a chance. Tell Robbie hello. I’ll see you soon.

 Q:  Matt from Awfulstrava asks:

Who do you guys get think has the best stuff on Team USA? Congrats on the 30-1 win yesterday!


Kyle Gibson:
Stephen Strasburg. There’s a reason he was selected to the Olympic
Team. He throws 98 and has command of his fastball, slider and
changeup. It’s hard to beat that.

Kendal Volz: We’re all happy for Strasburg. It just goes to show how good this staff is.

Moderator: That’s all we have time for today. It’s time for
Kendal and Kyle to take a nap before getting whipped in spades. We
appreciate all the support back in the States, and we look forward to
getting back to America. Go Team USA!