Pat Neshek has just completed participating in the World Baseball Classic where he played a key part on the successful performance of the US team.
Pat is an experienced relief Pitcher in the USA Major League and has been vegan since 2007.
The Classic was introduced in 2006 following baseball’s removal from the Olympics in a 2005 vote. It includes 16 teams from around the world, and is held every four years. The three previous tournaments had left American with only one semi final appearance when they finished fourth in 2009.
Playing in five of the eight games, Pat enjoyed the experience. "I ended the innings with strikeouts every time, so it was like party central," he said. "You see the other teams, they'd be down like five and they'd strike someone out and start partying. So I was like, 'You know what? I'm going to do it too.' It was cool.”
Despite his experience including ten years in the Major League, Pat had never seen passion like that of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rican teams. The Dominicans actually beat USA at the group stage, qualifying top of the four-nation group with the US second.
USA went on to beat two-time winners Japan in the semi final to set up a final with Puerto Rico, which they won 8-0.
Pat returned to his team with the season not yet started, which disappointed him as he was ready to start playing.
"It's kind of a bummer, You wish you could go right into the season right now."
For many years Pat ate unhealthily. Around 2007 he read 'The China Study'. "I decided to become a vegan and get rid of all the animal products — meat and dairy. At first, it was basically just for the health benefits — I was intrigued by the 2005 season when I cut a lot of that stuff out and got a lot better. It really changed my career, and I thought, 'This might be something that helps me take my career to the next level.' And it wasn't the main reason, but I like knowing everything I eat was served in a humane way."