Great Britain's bullpen benefited from a mother's love in the Word Baseball Classic when they got Trever Hoffman as a pitching coach. Pitchers on GB’s WBCQ roster had 18 years of MLB experience to draw from during the final weekend in September. Great Britain and Israel were making European baseball history together at the World Baseball Classic Qualifier (WBCQ) in Brooklyn, New York. Beating out Great Britain for the final slot, Israel will move on to the main event in February, 2017.
Following their win over Pakistan, baseballEBM caught up with Great Britain’s Bullpen Coach Trevor Hoffman to discuss the tournament, his role and the future for those who aspire to be part of the MLB.
Hoffman is eligible to coach for Great Britain thanks to his mom, a ballerina from Southend-on-Sea. His grandfather was also a footballer for the local United club. His parents met abroad while his dad, a professional tenor, sang in a production where his mother was dancing.
How does your mom feel about you being involved on the Great Britain bench?
She’s excited. It’s great. She’s had a lot of fun watching the games. It certainly brings back some fond memories of her time back home.
Have you ever made it over to your mother’s homeland?
When I was a 10-year old I went back and visited family in the middle of summer. It was kind of a tough time as far as little league goes. We had the All Stars and we had the trip planned for a long time. The goal was to try and go and hope that the team was good enough for the long term to still be in the tournament but it didn’t work out. We were a couple games short of getting it.
How much did your mom have to pay for that in the long term?
She still hears about it. She’s not real worried.
How did the opportunity with team GB come about and why did it interest you?
The connection was obviously with mom. Brad (Marcelino) and I crossed paths over time in San Diego. He said, ‘You know it’d be great if the opportunity arose where your duties with the Padres allowed you the ability to be a part of what we’re doing here in GB.’ This worked out pretty well this time with the WBC over here. It’s kind of a down time a little bit, instructionally, with stuff going on so it coincided.
Do you see long-term prospects?
I think March would be great to still be able to participate and be a part of this. I’m not sure long term. I think Liam’s (Carroll) doing a great job of really trying to cultivate the game over there.
Is this your first coaching experience on this level?
Having a full time staff position it is. Being in an Advisor role with the Padres you kind of get out to the affiliates. You come through more as a rover, just kind of an eye-in-the-sky type of thing so you’re involved, somewhat, in someone’s development but not on a daily basis.
What’s most challenging in that role?
I think its just knowing that you are coming in for a short period of time. You don’t want to necessarily step on people’s toes that are on the ground. But if there’s ways, certain things that pop up, that you feel like you can help, you facilitate that conversation.
Now a Senior Advisor with the Padres organization what’s the most fun thing about transitioning from the player side to front office/coaching side?
Not having to deal with the daily grind I think is kind of a big part. The game is a battle of attrition so as a player the requirements are a little bit different. Being a staff member you get to have all the fun of being around the game and not the stress of trying to perform and getting ready and everything.
What is most challenging?
Making sure you have the relevant information per individual. I think the worse thing you can do is over-coach or say something that can actually hinder someone’s development or growth in the game. You also need to have it be relevant so they can improve and have something for them. The goal is they don’t want to hear what you did as a player they want to know what you can do to get into the big leagues.
Along that line how do you help a player who’s struggling but not asking for the assist?
I think the game’s tough. It’s a grind and it’s a battle of a lot of emotions, not only physically but, physically and mentally, how you feel about where you are. To have the ability to go, ‘Hey, I’ve been through some things’. Regardless of how you view someone else’s career, to be able to say, ‘Hey, stick with the plan, keep grinding, keep developing as a player’, that’s part of it. Everybody’s kind of going through that.
Do you find it easier to talk to guys having come from that player side?
I think it’s important that they come to you. More than anything you need to be available but you won’t get the same response until they seek you out. If you kind of go, ‘Hey, look – this, this and this.’ They just might not be ready for the information you give them, so I think it’s important they come to you.
Any open advice, things you want the world to know?
I think it’s an overall general theme really. Anything you want to do in life, no matter how big the dream is, you can do it. I think if you can dream it you can make it happen with a lot of hard work and seeking out the right information. With the ability of the internet and the information that you can gather, it’s just not off the table for someone to come from anywhere. Hopefully the job of the MLB is to find you, so keep working hard out there.
Trevor is a San Diego Padres Hall of Famer whose jersey was retired in 2011 after 16 seasons with the club. In 2014 the MLB announced the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award – which honors the top NL relief pitcher annually.
Baseball runs deep in the Hoffman bloodline. Older brother Glen played infield for seven seasons for the Boston Red Sox and is now a coach in the Padres organization. Father Ed was an usher at the California Angels games. Known as the Singing Usher, he lead the crowd in the 7th inning stretch sing-along Take Me Out to the Ball Game and filled in as national anthem singer.
Along with Hoffman, Great Britain brought 12 MLB players with them to the Classic including current Texas Ranger LHP Michael Roth. Also on the roster were AAA pitchers Jacob Esch and Chris Reed, teammates from the New Orleans Zephyrs. In total Britain carried four pitchers from the MLB. Outfielder Antoan Richardson also played 13 games for the NY Yankees in 2014, 9 for the Atlanta Braves in 2011 and is currently a free agent.