By Trey McCurry.
Brad Miller, who is playing for Team USA for the second straight summer, recently spoke with TCI staffer Trey McCurry on his experiences with the team. Going into a four-game international friendly with Chinese-Taipei, Miller is one of several players on a four-game hit streak as the team heads overseas. After the friendly, the team will participate in the FISU World Championships in Tokyo, Japan.
How does it feel to make Team USA for the second consecutive year?
Brad Miller: It’s a tremendous honor to put on the USA jersey and play for our country. I think the experience of being on the team last summer really helps me understand how much pride we have when playing ball with USA on our jerseys. It means a lot to be able to represent our country and compete with other teams across the world.
How does this year compare to last?
Brad Miller: This year we have a whole new group of players so it has been great getting to know my teammates for the past few weeks. Its exciting to see players from all over the country learn to play as a team in the short time we have been together. We have really gelled as a team and have a lot of fun playing the game for our country.
Can you compare playing on Team USA to playing for Clemson? Any similarities? Major differences?
Brad Miller: Playing for your school is always special because of what is at stake. You spend so much time with your teammates at school and we really have become like brothers over the past two years. We are all working towards the same goal of winning a national championship day in and day out and we see all of the work we put in all year. Team USA is a little different because we have kids from all different schools across the country learning to play as a team in a very short time. Its a great experience to meet new players and grow as a team trying to win a gold medal. We all understand how much of an honor it is to put on the USA jersey and realize that is the most important thing: winning a gold medal for our country.
Tell us some about this year’s team and some of the guys on it?
Brad Miller: We have a really special team this year. On the mound we have some serious power arms like Gerrit Cole from UCLA and Sonny Gray from Vandy leading our deep staff. Our offense is very deep as well with guys like Mikie Mahtook from LSU, Jackie Bradley from SC, and George Springer from UConn. The key to our team is our balance throughout the lineup as we have some really athletic players.
I’ve noticed you have been moving around the infield some, tell us some more about that?
Brad Miller: I’ve been playing shortstop and third base on this team and a little bit of second base. Our infielders can really play any position so we feel very confident in any combination we put out in the field.
How did it feel to go back to Omaha and play with some of the guys that were your opponents just a couple of weeks ago?
Brad Miller: It was awesome getting to go back to Omaha and play the last collegiate game in Rosenblatt. The CWS atmosphere goes untouched in college baseball so that week was very special to myself and my teammates, but it was still great to get to play another game in Rosenblatt with my new teammates.