Filia Selected to Team USA for Tokyo Olympics
Former UCLA outfielder Eric Filia (2012-16) has been selected to represent the United States at the 2020 Olympics as USA Baseball announced its 24-man roster for the Tokyo Games on Friday morning.
With his inclusion on the roster, Filia becomes the sixth Bruin baseball alumnus to play for USA Baseball at the Olympics, and the first since 1996. Previous Bruins to play in the Olympics are Troy Glaus (1996), Jim Parque (1996), Shane Mack (1984), Gary Sanserino (1968), and Bill Brasher (1964).
Team USA will open the Olympic Games baseball tournament against Israel on Friday, Jul. 30. They will join the Dominican Republic, Israel, Japan, Korea, and Mexico in the six-team field.
Baseball is making its return to the Olympic Programme for the first time since 2008. Team USA has won two gold medals in baseball (1988, 2000). Glaus and Parque helped the U.S. to a bronze medal in Atlanta in 1996.
A member of the Seattle Mariners organization, Filia is one of 14 members of the roster who helped Team USA qualify for the Olympics at the Baseball Americas Qualifier in June. Batting cleanup and playing right field in every game for Team USA, Filia had a torrid tournament, slashing .313/.389/.563 with one home run and five RBIs in four games. He was 2-4 with two RBIs in a tourney-opening 7-1 win over Nicaragua on May 31, then hit a go-ahead home run as part of a two-hit day in Team USA's 4-2 victory over Venezuela on Jun. 5 which clinched an Olympics berth.
Filia is in his fifth season of pro ball, all in the Seattle organization. He's a career .314 hitter in the Minors, including a 2019 season that saw him slash .331/.450/.488. The Huntington Beach, Calif. native has spent the last two seasons (exempting 2020) in Triple-A Tacoma.
A two-year starter at UCLA, Filia batted .283 over 141 career games with four home runs and 73 RBIs. He was the starting right fielder on UCLA's 2013 National Championship squad, leading the team in hits (68) and multi-hit games (20) and earning All-CWS Team honors. As a senior in 2016, he batted a career-high .295 with 32 RBIs en route to Pac-12 All-Conference honors before being drafted in the 20th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by Seattle.
Filia isn't the only former Bruin player who will be suiting up for Team USA, as longtime college and professional coach Jerry Weinstein will coach first base at the Tokyo Olympics.
Weinstein played for UCLA in 1965 before beginning a long and storied coaching career. At the international level, he managed Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic and was previously an assistant coach for Team USA at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games. He's made coaching stops with a number of professional and collegiate teams during his career, including UCLA, Miami, Cal Poly, the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod League, and MLB's Colorado Rockies.