Beyond the Bricks
Published in

Beyond the Bricks

Federowicz Joins Team USA for Tokyo Olympics

OKC Dodgers catcher one of 24 players selected by USA Baseball; Team USA opens Olympic play July 30 against Israel

Graphic by Jennings Hammack/OKC Dodgers.

Tim Federowicz’s Olympic baseball journey will transport him from the Oklahoma City Dodgers, back to his hometown in North Carolina then about 7,000 miles west and across the Pacific Ocean to the world’s biggest sports stage at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 33-year-old OKC Dodgers catcher is one of 24 players selected to USA Baseball’s Olympic roster as baseball returns to the Olympics for the first time since 2008.

Team USA gathers this week to train in Cary, N.C., located adjacent to Federowicz’s hometown of Apex, before traveling to Tokyo in time for the July 23 Opening Ceremony and to begin Olympic play July 30 against Israel at Yokohama Stadium.

The U.S. seeks its third gold medal in the sport and is joined in the six-team baseball field by the Dominican Republic, Israel, Japan, Korea and Mexico.

“I’m just excited to experience the Olympics in general, to see the Opening Ceremonies, the Closing Ceremonies, the gold medal ceremonies,” Federowicz said. “I think it’s just a really cool opportunity to experience something that not a lot of athletes get to do.”

Tim Federowicz readies for a pitch at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Photo by Eddie Kelly/ProLook Photos.

Federowicz has played in 25 games for the OKC Dodgers this season, going 14-for-70 with three homers, three doubles, nine walks, 10 runs scored and nine RBI. The veteran catcher has played in more than 160 Major League games over eight seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds and most recently 29 games with the Texas Rangers in 2019. He has also played in more than 800 Minor League games since 2008.

The native of Erie, Pa., was first approached about joining Team USA during Spring Training when he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a non-roster invitee. He said he was interested in competing for the team starting with the Baseball Americas Qualifier in May, so he filled out a form and was called a few days later.

“They called and said they selected me and that I was going to be a part of it,” Federowicz said about making the team’s qualifying roster. “The Dodgers gave me permission to leave and it kind of happened fast, then it was just waiting until we could get there and start playing.”

He joined Team USA for competition in Port St. Lucie, Fla., in late May and early June. Team USA went on to finish the 2021 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Baseball Americas Qualification Event with a perfect 4–0 record. They defeated Canada, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Venezuela to earn a berth in the Tokyo Olympics. The team also played Puerto Rico in the opening round, but the game was called in the fourth inning due to inclement weather with the U.S. leading 6–1.

“We played each team once and the team with the best record got out and we won all five,” Federowicz said. “We got to play with a lot of guys younger and older. It was a good mix of talent and overall it’s just a cool experience to be able to play against other countries and just to see the passion their fans had. A lot of the Latin countries had very good followings down there in Florida, so it was pretty cool.”

Federowicz then returned to the OKC Dodgers and received a call a couple of weeks later that he made the team’s final Olympic roster.

“I think it’s an awesome experience,” Federowicz said. “I played for Team USA in college and I experienced that and now to repeat and to be able to go to the Olympics is going to be awesome.”

The 24-man USA Baseball Olympic roster comprised of 12 pitchers and 12 position players was announced July 2.

“Our goal was to construct this team around a core of experienced, veteran baseball players with invaluable experience at the highest level and internationally, and we have done just that,” USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler said in a release. “We are confident we have pieced together a team of players that will represent the United States proudly on the world stage.”

Federowicz now travels to Cary, N.C., to train at the USA Baseball National Training Complex located just minutes from where he grew up in Apex.

Team USA is scheduled to participate in workouts July 17 and then play a three-game exhibition series against the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team July 18–20. Two games will take place at the National Training Complex and the other at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park Monday, July 19 where fans will get a chance to watch Team USA in action. All games are scheduled to be streamed online at USABaseball.com.

Federowicz hopes to be able to spend some time with family and friends before traveling to Tokyo. Federowicz attended high school in Apex and then college at the University of North Carolina in nearby Chapel Hill.

“All my family is there,” Federowicz said of the area in central North Carolina.

The time together will be precious as families are unable to travel with athletes to the Olympics and events in the Tokyo area will be held without spectators due to a virus state of emergency in place in Japan’s capital city.

Federowicz expects he will be limited in what he can see in and around Tokyo due to COVID-19 restrictions, but hopes to be able to experience the city and see other Olympic events like basketball, soccer, track and field or gymnastics — Olympic sports he grew up watching.

OKC Dodgers catcher Tim Federowicz will play for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics. Photo courtesy of the OKC Dodgers.

“You see them on TV, but I think it would be cool to experience them,” he said.

He also looks forward to staying in the Olympic Village.

“(It) is going to be cool to meet some of the other athletes,” Federowicz said.

The U.S. opens the Olympic Games baseball tournament July 30 against Israel at 5 a.m. CT. Team USA then plays Korea July 31 before the knockout stage of the tournament begins Aug. 1.

“A lot of the scouting reports go out the window when you are only playing teams one time,” Federowicz said. “It’s just fun to get out there and play to win no matter what. Stats don’t matter. it’s just all about the win at the end of the day and getting a chance to compete for the gold medal.”

If he could draw it up, Federowicz would love if Team USA and Team Japan advanced to the final. The gold and bronze medal games are scheduled for Aug. 7.

Team USA won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and at the 1988 Seoul Olympics when baseball was a demonstration sport. The team also won bronze in 2008 in Beijing and in 1996 in Atlanta.

“I would love to play Japan and play Team Japan in the gold medal game,” Federowicz said. “I think we’d be overmatched in fans, but I think it would be an experience.”

Visit USABaseball.com and follow @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest Team USA updates throughout the Olympics.

Embedded video courtesy of OKC Dodgers Content Specialist Hannah Muery.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store