Dean Kremer was one of the stars of last year’s Senior National Team (SNT) that won the C Pool at the European Championships in Slovenia in August. While he currently pitches for Delta College in California and will be their number 1 starter this spring, he was recently awarded a scholarship to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, for next year and could become the first Israeli baseball player to be selected in the 2015 Major League amateur draft in June. Dean spoke to us about his experiences.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Stockton, California and that’s where I call home. Sometimes I do wish that I was raised in Israel, but then I realize that baseball isn’t the same over there as it is in the US yet.
When did you start playing baseball?
I started playing baseball when I was about 4 or 5 and have been playing ever since. Luckily I always had another sport like soccer to offset the baseball so I wouldn’t get burnt out at a young age.
When did you realize this was the sport for you?
Actually I didn’t realize that baseball was going to be it until junior year of high school.
What were the highlights of your years as a Little League player?
To be honest throughout Little League I was never the best player on the team so I didn’t have any major highlights. I really didn’t start playing well until junior and senior year of high school and even then I was nowhere near where I am now.
How has being a member of the SNT impacted you?
Playing baseball in the US is great but playing for Israel National team is way more special. Not many people in the world can say they have played for the SNT. Being able to play baseball and speak in Hebrew at the same time is very special to me because I have never been able to do that, plus international baseball is way more significant because every game means so much more. Every game affects the world rankings and just thinking about that makes me want to play and get better.
What were some of the most memorable experiences you had as a member of the SNT?
I have only played with the SNT this past summer, but that was definitely an experience of a lifetime. The whole trip was great and I loved every minute of it. Getting the honor of pitching the semi-finals, to advance us to the B-pool and getting the pitcher of the tournament were my favorite memories.
How do you plan to maintain your connection with Israel baseball?
I would love to keep playing for the SNT and come back every summer to help run the summer camps for as long as I can.
What is your favorite part of being in Israel?
All of my family lives in Israel so I do get to see them and I like being with all the guys that I met through baseball.
Tell us a bit about your college baseball experience.
College baseball is great, but it’s a lot of work. We log dozens of hours on the field and in the weight room during the fall to prepare for the season and when spring rolls around it’s go time! Right now I am at a 2-year junior college and this will be my first year playing because I red-shirted last year to get bigger and stronger. But I will be transferring to University of Nevada Las Vegas next year on a baseball scholarship and I am very excited about that.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
In 5 years I hope to still be playing baseball professionally either in Minor leagues or maybe even get to the Major League.
What do you do when you’re not playing baseball (or studying)?
Being a college athlete, there isn’t much time where I’m not doing either one of those activities, but when I’m not doing those I am usually hanging out with teammates.
What is your advice to any Israel baseball player who would like to follow in your footsteps?
I would tell them exactly what my coaches have always told me, work hard at everything that you do and trust the process.