Monday, April 25, 2011

They play baseball in Hungary?!

This was an interesting week. When I look back a few weeks, or months, or years from now... I'm going to ask myself one question. How and why the heck did I do all this?
It started last Saturday April 16, as I wrote about a few days ago. After the double-header, I came back home and packed for Budapest and attempted to finish a constitutional law paper that was due Monday at 3pm (European time)... The only problem; I hadn't written a word, it was 8pm, I was waking up at 5 am, my flight was at 645 am and I was coaching from 11-7 in Hungary. I packed a backpack, to store my laptop with some papers (to study crim law) and some toiletrees (how do you even spell this word?), and then a mini-bag with a pair of shoes, a few pieces of clothes to work out in and maybe even go out in, who knows it's Budapest after all, honestly one of the best cities I've been to in Europe. Of course, I'm only one week off the plane from the States, so the jet lagging is still not entirely kicked, making it almost impossible to get to sleep by 12 to try to get the 5 hours I was hoping for. I was maybe also, admittedly, nervous? anxious? I had never coached a national team before... I had no idea what I was getting into, I had this paper due that was barely started, and I was maybe going to see my girl, who I hadn't seen since she visited Detroit in October. After a brief stop in Frankfurt, another flight got me to Budapest by 1030, and was whisked by Andras, the guy who basically runs the Hungarian national team program, to Szendentre Hungary for the national team training.
I didn't know what to expect, and maybe that's a good thing. I arrived just as the team finished warming up. It was a mixture of really young and older guys, and the field was much nicer than the one I had visited the previous summer a few minutes outside of Budapest. There was actually a fence and dirt spread about the base-paths, the field looked symmetrical and it had a bit of a mound as well. I worked with the pitchers all day, a few older than me and some younger... they were all pretty attentive and really tried to incorporate what I said. With the older guys, the aces of the national team staff, we worked on holding runners, means to eliminate another team's running game, and pick-offs. Some of the things I talked about they had never even imagined could be possible, I really felt like I was in the movie Comrades of Summer With the younger guys I actually needed a translator at all times. You start talking about baseball and then you realize you just talked for about 1 minute straight and there is no way the translator can keep up with that, so I really had to learn to give instruction and talk about pitching at 15 second intervals. We practiced until 630 or so, and it was a long day with 2 hours of sleep, the 2 flights, compounded by this brand new, and surreal experience.
By the time I arrived back at my hotel around midnight I knew there was no way I would begin to get this paper done. Set my alarm for 8, last minute Prinstein back at work. Luckily, I didn't need my alarm as I was awoken by a screaming man next door, who was literally screaming in Japanese for 30 minutes straight. Not a great start to the morning, and I hammered out this con law paper in just under 4 hours. Let me say, not my finest work, but I have to imagine it was the first time someone probably wrote a law school paper at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law from Budapest Hungary. I went for some coffee at Costa in Nyugati Square - and then went to Obuda (a suburb of of Budapest where I was at last year for one baseball training) to help out with their cadet team (under 15 years old). There was only 7 of them at this practice, and we worked on groundballs and throwing mechanics (see photos above)... pretty basic stuff, but you forget this is Hungary, you can't take the basic for granted. However, there was an unbelievable talented kid that I don't even think the Hungarians realized how good he was. 14 years old and had the arm of an 18 year old. Athletic and baseball savvy, he would have been on an under-16 national team in any European country. It's awesome to see a talent like this in a country like Hungary because it goes to show you that you can find good baseball players, naturals, literally anywhere in this world. You just have to look. That evening I went to a cafe called Jubilee's for my one Hungarian friend (outside of baseball) birthday party. All of her friends showed up with cakes and delicacies... brought them to the cafe. That was strange I thought, but I try not to think too hard when I'm in foreign cultures... I just do (and go) to Morrison's 2, a club a few blocks away until 330am.
Tuesday was pretty much devoted to getting my visa sorted out and Wednesday morning I was up early going to a big park to teach baseball to a bunch of school kids who had never played the game, let alone see a baseball game before. This was an interesting experience, something I became accustomed to while playing in Holland for 3 years, and going around to schools to introduce them to baseball as part of a community outreach initiative. In Holland many of the kids at least heard of baseball (or honkbal as they call it) and maybe even knew the basic premise, but in Hungary the majority of the kids you had to show how to properly throw a ball, how to hold a bat, how to stand, how to wear a glove (actually we first had to tell them what a glove and bat even were). It was a successful morning, and after 3 hours, they were ready to try a game. I pitched to them, and they had a blast. In fact, when it was time to end the session at 12:30 they begged their teachers to let them continue to play. It was pure joy. We just threw down some bases in the middle of the park and played a game of baseball, Hungarian style, the concept of base running was the hardest to grasp, as the youngsters didn't really like to stop at the bases even when someone had the ball standing next to them. When you come from a country where baseball is arguably the most popular sport, you take for granted these simple nuanced rules that you are practically born knowing. I probably knew how to run the bases properly before I could walk... so it's funny and refreshing to be able to show 12 year olds the proper rules (with a translator of course). By 130 I was off to Andras' house for a quick Hungarian lunch of goulash (meat and vegetable stew), and then back to the city to for a quick coffee at my favorite cafe I have visited everytime I've been to Budapest since Crabby and I, first arrived in 2008: Castro. Then I had a few hours before my flight, so Andras picked up a guy from a nearby station, drove to an island with some open space, waited for me with the guy as I went on a 20 min conditioning sprint, then left me and this guy who didn't speak any english alone on a makeshift soccer field as I did some long-toss throwing, came back and picked us up and quickly took me to the airport where they didn't want to let me on the plane to Frankfurt with my 1 hand luggage, and backpack (as my laptop storage), everything fit into the little compartment measurer-thingy and I tried to explain I had no issues coming in. They were real jerks about it, and even made me wait until everyone boarded the plane (thus ensuring almost all the overhead bins would be full) and watched me show them that my backpack fit securely and neatly under the seat in front of me - which it did and which I said it did before boarding of course. Ugh. Always something when I travel... In Frankfurt they tried to say the same thing, before I had to show them that I just had come on a flight with these smalls bags from Budapest, so that really wasn't going to work... They didn't give me AS MUCH as a hassle. By the time I arrived in Hamburg around midnight, I realized I had about 36 hours until my criminal law exam. After a long practice on Thursday, and the exam on Friday, we had 2 games on Saturday in the middle of nowhere Germany that did not go very well for me. We played the last place team, and once again were in a slugfest for Game 1, we ended up winning 14-6. It looked like we were going to 10 run them after 7 innings to end the game sooner, so I got ready to pitch Game 2 in about the 6th inning. Of course the other boys scored 3 in the bottom frame so we had to play all 9, which meant that I was getting ready, not getting ready, getting ready and then not getting ready. I pitched a forgettable 5 innings. Filled with some good pitches, some bad pitches, and a lot of pitches that were borderline. Working the inside corner on their all right handed lineup due to the 275 foot right field fence, and the 20mph gusts of wind blowing straight in from left field, I really didn't get any swings and misses or swing attempts in the first place. The umpire called about 30% of my pitches strikes as I was seemingly on a full count with everyone. Their 2 american hitters stacked at the top of their lineup accounted for most of the damage driving in and scoring all 4. I departed the game and we were behind just 4-3 before they got to our bullpen in an 8 run 6th inning. We actually got our asses handed to us 14-4 in 7. After a day off yesterday where nothing was open because of the Easter holiday (technically nothing was open Friday and today, Monday, either) it's back to studying for Crim Law exam part 2, in which I have 48 hours to complete beginning in about an hour. After of which Ill be headed back to Holland (Almere, Amsterdam, Haarlem, Breda, Eindhoven, Den Haag, Enschede) for a week of scouting, baseball training, and catching up with old friends. There is the annual Queens Day celebration and then when I return to Hamburg the following week... another exam (constitutional law). Between studying for law school exams on the planes/trains, before and after games, playing and coaching and scouting... I know I'm very lucky and fortunate to have all these awesome opportunities... but it's not easy.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

International Love

Its really sad, you have something really special with someone, and there is no fighting, nothing that changed in the relationship, and you sit across a table in a cafe with them, after not seeing them for about 5 1/2, almost 6 months, except on Skype, and you stare into their eyes, and they stare back, and you know deep down this intense feeling of passion and romance, love and admiration, curiosity and excitement still exists between you both, because no one says a word, and yet you both keep staring, the minutes linger and drag-on, no one is going to be the first to look away, yet the person sitting across from you, she has basically just stated that she knows that we you'll never be together again because she's back with her ex-boyfriend of 5 years, and who she has known for about 12 years or so, who lives in Budapest all the time and was there when she was lonely over the winter, figuring out what to do with this love situation with an American guy who plays baseball for a living, based in Detroit, scouts all over Europe, and now has gotten a job coaching the national baseball team in her country (because of her). You tell her that you are going to be in her city, a foreign place to you, many times over the ensuing months, and it would be good to see her, do things, hang out, just be friends - because you treasure her companionship, because you just love to hang out with her, even if it's not on a romantic level - she can't understand why you are not angry that she suddenly changed her mind (or just ran away from something hard for something easy) and decided to commit back to her ex at sometime in February or March. She tells you that she can't do it, and you ask her why not, especially since you are the party that has been hurt/harmed in this instance, she replies with - her boyfriend is extremely jealous and doesn't want her to see you. What can you say to this information? What can you do? Nothing, you just sit and look at her, and she gazes back - and that connection you felt in October in Detroit, last July in Budapest, in August 2009 in Amsterdam, and in July of that year in Rimini Italy - it comes rushing back, you don't say anything because you know she feels it too, but what can you do? You play baseball in Hamburg, you go to law school in Detroit, and you are about to get this job scouting around Europe, all over Europe - Italy, Spain, Netherlands... but you know, deep down, this girl is as perfect match as they come, I mean why else would both of you guys try to attempt this impossible thing of being together worlds and cultures apart, so many hours and time zones away... you know, because she has said, if you were there in Budapest during the winter, obviously she would have never gotten back with her ex, and you guys would be together now, but she was lonely, she rekindled something and now this is what she wants... someone who is so insecure they forbid her from doing what she wants to do, living her life... and this strong minded, independent thinking, and intelligent woman agrees to be in it. You know other things - because you know her family a bit, and asked someone close to her, for some guidance while you are in this foreign culture and land... without even bringing up the subject she interjected over coffee that your girl was scared, she pretty much ran away from the tough decision she faced to have something stable and secure there all the time for her. Knowing this information, what can you say? What can you offer? What can you do? Except gaze back, reminisce about the past months and recall every waking and non-waking moment together, how special it was, how you even decided to get a job in her country, a country where you have zero connections to, in your professional field - and realize that nothing has changed for you and that's what hurts most, because this happens sometimes in your life - because of your goals, because of your talents, because of your character... you try so hard, especially when you want something so bad and when it comes to the reciprocity from others, because of the nature of your lifestyle or societal pressure in the 21st century on women and relationships, you end up back to square 1. Alone in your room in Hamburg, writing emails about your most recent and greatest, lost love, and wondering how it could have went wrong and what you could have done to fix it. Thus is the life of an international baseball vagabond. Eventually you go out and pitch in 48 hours, shrug it off, enjoy your teammates company, take some law school exams, go scout for MLB, meet other women and experience the same of what you always have... and the question lingers in the back of your mind, the feeling never really goes away, the minutes that felt like hours that was really a few years, sitting in a sunlit and smoke-filled cafe called Castro, a few hours before boarding a plane back to your crazy professional baseball life in Hamburg and gazing into those complex and perplexing green eyes.... wondering if you'll ever be able to see them in that light again.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Game 2 vs. Bonn

I hate making excuses. Since I was a youngster, my father and grandfather both taught me that making excuses is not tolerated in our family or in baseball. I learned this quickly. As a coach/player/scout, I'm definitely not one to tolerate them from younger teammates or players I coach or end up scouting. Things happen in baseball, you give up hits - you give up runs as a pitcher. As a batter you strike out, you're picked off. You win, you lose and sometimes it rains (to quote the great Nuke Laloosh/Crash Davis)... That being said, this past Saturday's game can only be summarized as excuse city. We lost game 2, my start, 13-3, and for that I can start the list here:
1. I didn't pitch well. I said to the team after the game that the loss was on me, of course, it's a team game and no one was buying that, but had I pitched like I threw last year in Bonn (8 2/3 of 1 earned run) we would have won. And the funny thing is I actually felt that this year's Bonn's lineup was nearly as dangerous as last years.
2. They're offense was actually good. They put 6 runs up in the first inning on our very good other "foreign" starter Max in Game 1. I say "foreign" because Max, as previously mentioned on this blog is an American who played college ball at Harvard, and summer college league with me in Virigina in 2005, but has a greek passport so can pitch Game 1 (the EU/German pitcher game)... and their offense did a good job when I was getting ahead in counts of 0-2 and 1-2 and fighting me off, making me throw a lot of pitches and putting balls into play.
3. I didn't finish guys off. When you get batters 0-2 and 1-2 you need your put away pitch to put guys away and I just didn't do that, at all. Granted it's the 2nd game of the season without pitching spring training for me, so I have room to work on this and grow but obviously with every game being important in the regular season, I expect to be sharper.
4. Still learning my catcher and my catcher still learning me. Jakub Voljak is the catcher for the Czech National team and an awesome receiver but we've only been battery mates for about 6 innings so far and I was half asleep the week before so we really didn't click this game. Everything was out of synch with the pitch calling, partly because he hasn't entirely grasped my repitoire and what pitches I can command and in what counts I like to throw them. He also just caught the previous game, all 10 innings (more on that later) and was run over in the first inning, so you can't blame him for being tired and a bit out of it, I know I couldn't do it, but hey that's why I'm a pitcher :)
5. The previous game. We managed to win a thrilling comeback 11-10 in 10 innings and pretty much used up all of our energy doing that. We just came out flat as a team, didn't score runs, didn't play good defense, and obviously (me) not pitching well... maybe beceause
6. The previous game. I have a set routine I like to do warming up before the game, and I was set to go and then we went into extra innings. That's really no excuse but it certainly could have played a factor in my mental preparation.
7. Red bull. Thus by the time I drank the red bull in the 8th inning - the extra innings kinda caffine crashed me by the 3rd and in the 4th is when I really started laboring and ended up throwing about 30 pitches that inning. Didn't make it to the 5th already down 5-1 or so.
8. Con Law paper. Have I mentioned don't do law school while trying to play baseball professionally overseas? Had this con law paper hanging over my head, and it still wasn't done with about 48 hours before it was due... and on top of that...
9. Was flying at 630 AM to Budapest for my first day of coaching with the Hungarian national team. Worry abut getting to sleep at a decent hour so I could wake at 5 AM, getting the paper done before that point, coaching this team for the first time, and seeing the girl in Budapest for the first time in 6 months...
10. Early season cold/stiff/soreness.... Thanks Detroit winter. Only my 4th or 5th time outside on a mound, so still need to build up mechanics/arm strength, etc.
11. Harry Potter. It was one of those unusual times in my baseball career where I couldn't "clear the mechanism" in the words of the great (and imaginary) Billy Chappel from For Love of the Game. I wear glasses when I pitch, ever since I learned in 2007 that the reason I couldn't see the catcher's signs at night in Israel wasn't because of the shadows, but my blurry vision for small objects at the 60 foot distance from the pitching mound to home plate. Anyways, Bonn was all over me calling me Harry Potter, and lame jokes from the movies, which actually I take as a compliment, because doesn't Harry Potter crush his more powerful and elder opponents? I digress, the fact that I could hear their bench when I was on the mound, and couldn't hear my own guys supporting me, was a bit frustrating. You can't get frustrated when you're doing something you love and you don't know how many more times you'll be able to do it... So just laugh it off, lock in on your target and make your pitch. Easier said then done in the moment, clearly.
12. Anyways, the comeback win in Game 1 was great, but we have to figure out a way to make this Game 2 thing work. Now off to Budapest in a few hours....

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Interview with Mister-Baseball

Last month I sat down with Mister-Baseball (okay, I was sitting and talking with reporter/writer/player/friend Ty Eriksen on skype, but you get the point) ... to talk about everything baseball in Europe and my recent signing with HSV Stealers:

Mar '1117

Interview Justin Prinstein of the HSV Stealers

Ty Eriksen talked to Justin Prinstein for The right-hander is coming back for a full season with the HSV Stealers. He also will serve as pitching coach for the Hungarian National Team and will scout European prospects this year.

Interview Justin Prinstein of the HSV Stealers Ty Eriksen: Justin, news is out that you’re returning to Hamburg for your 5th season in Europe. Can you tell us how you got into baseball in Europe to begin with?

Justin Prinstein: I got into the whole European baseball thing by sheer coincidence. Before my senior season at George Washington University I felt that I may have some draft possibilities if I put together a good season. I ran into our former volunteer assistant coach from the previous season who had gone over to play and coach in Holland. He gave me his number and told me if the draft didn’t work out to give him a call. I didn’t get any serious consideration to be drafted because I’m undersized for a RHP. While trying to hook on with an independent team I got in touch with Brad and he put me in touch with his agent who specialized in recruiting Americans to Europe. I got offers in winter 2006 from teams in Austria, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, England, and Belgium. I ended up choosing the Hoboken Pioneers in the Belgium first league, their pitcher the year before was Leon Boyd who had a great season and went right into the Dutch Head Class, which became my goal from the beginning – to be a foreign player in the Dutch Head Class,

Ty Eriksen: Tell us about your different stops and your journey through the leagues in Europe:

Justin M. Prinstein: Starting in Belgium in 2007, Hoboken release me after only 4 weeks even though I pitched a no-hitter and a one-hitter in my two first regular season starts. It was my first pro ball job and I was already out, and I felt like that could have been the end of my career right there. A team in the Belgium league (who I no-hit) tried to sign me but Hoboken blocked any move. I had the options of trying my luck at independent ball or signing with the upstart professional league in Israel that was getting a lot of publicity. In May I heard that the Israel Baseball League offer was still open, and it turned out to be a great experience. The league had a lot of talent, Tel Aviv was an awesome city to live in and I ended up being an All-Star pitcher for my team.

I had the opportunity to go down to Adelaide, Australia, to pitch for 3 months in winter of 2007/08. I decided to go straight back to Holland to play in 2008 because I thought it would give me the best chance of reaching my goal of pitching in the Dutch Head Class. I didn’t know much about the Netherlands baseball but I took a chance on a team in the Dutch First Division (2nd league) – Tex Town Tigers. I had a great season and a wonderful experience in Holland – I really took to the culture and I established myself as a dominant pitcher and DH. The Almere Magpies, demoted from the Dutch Head Class and looking to get back, they signed me for the 2009 season. We had one of the greatest teams I had ever been around, losing maybe 3 times all year . We faced off against RCH in the promotion/relegation series, and in the 5th game I came out of the bullpen, down 2 runs and pitched 6 innings of 1 run ball to get the win that gave us a promotion into the Dutch Head Class. I came back to Almere the following season, 2010, after playing the winter in Perth Australia. It was a great experience, but the team was bankrupt and both of us foreign players left. I had a great opportunity to finish the season in the German Bundesliga season with the HSV Stealers in Hamburg. I pitched the best I had all year throwing 2 complete games and helping them get into the playoffs and I recently resigned with them for this upcoming season.

Ty Eriksen: You’ve seen a lot of baseball from all over the continent, what is your view of the talent level in Europe?

Justin M. Prinstein: It’s a difficult question. It’s kind of all over the place… there’s no one consistent level where you can say – “Belgium is like college ball or Holland that’s like AA.” I had teammates in Belgium that would have been starters on my D1 college team, on the same team a young 15 year old kid was our starting Right Fielder and was signed by the Mets the following year. We also had guys on that team who probably couldn’t play on my varsity high school team. I think that dichotomy makes things very interesting in Europe. At its best – as the Dutch, Italian and German national teams have proven – they compete with Major League caliber players, and yet I always feel that in team sports, especially in baseball, you are only as good as your weakest link. When you get into the individual leagues sometimes that weakest or least talented player is a kid, 16 years old, because European teams struggle to get numbers sometimes, the kid is talented enough and playing on a top European team with guys twice his age. I thought that in my 3 years in Holland, between the First Division and Head Class – the level of baseball fell somewhere between college ball and low level minor leagues, even independent ball at best. My two seasons with Almere, I could easily place some of our guys on a good college team or some lower level of pro ball. Facing DOOR Neptunus, Dutch Head Class champions last year, I thought was one of the best hitting lineups I had ever seen, and they could have definitely been competitive, stacked with ex minor league and major league guys, in pro ball in the States.

As a scout I’ve seen a lot of young talented prospects throughout the various countries, but these days those guys are signing to play in the States which brings down the talent level of the leagues a lot, however those spots are being filled by foreigners, Americans like myself, Latin Americans, Australians, Canadians: guys with some great experience. Eventually the talent ends up back in Europe at some point and those experiences in pro ball infuse the league with more well rounded players that European leagues probably lacked a few decades ago.

Interview Justin Prinstein of the HSV Stealers Ty Eriksen: Between Hamburg, Hungary, and MLB, tell us about your commitments for the coming season:

Justin M. Prinstein: I’m really excited for this year. I’ll be the game 2 (foreigner game) pitcher for HSV Stealers in the German Bundesliga. We had a good finish to last season in the North Division, sneaking into the playoffs. We’re shooting for first place with the team GM Sven Huhnholz and Manager Jens Hawlitzky built this off-season. I’ll probably do some clinics and youth trainings in Hamburg while I’m in town.

I was also recently named Assistant Coach/Pitching Coach of the Hungarian National team that will be competing in the European Championships Qualifier this July in Barcelona, and I will be travelling to Hungary every month to do training with the national team in preparation for the tournament. Part of my role is actively recruiting players with Hungarian ancestry in the States, and I hope that I will be able to provide the Hungarian national team and the region with valuable baseball instruction and resources from my experiences for the years to come.

For the last two years I was working as a scout for the Houston Astros in the Netherlands. In going to play in Germany this year I had to leave the major recruiting ground of Holland, but allowed me to look at a more expanded scouting role in Europe with an MLB team that I am currently in the interview process with. I’ve also been assisting the Almere Magpies on management/personnel/sponsorship decisions and will be visiting Holland quite often to scout and look forward to helping out at Almere as much as time will allow.

Lastly, I’m very excited to play this year with a sponsorship from 3n2 Baseball company, they’re outfitting me with some awesome products including their cleats/turfs/running shoes and they’re hoping that they can enter the European market.

Ty Eriksen: You’ve been involved in the full range of the business side of baseball, what do you see as the biggest barrier for US companies like 3n2 when looking at the European Market?

Justin M. Prinstein: Shipping costs. Whether the American company has a distributor (like Covee or Sidney de Jong’s company in Holland), or if they are just looking to sell through their own website and ship themselves, there has to be enough demand that they can ship over in bulk. A small company like 3n2 or Sam Bat make such good niche products that they can be a bit more expensive, especially to ship. Once they have the definite demand for their products it will be much easier to send over in bulk or work out a distributor partner. I the mean time, they talk to top players and especially foreign players because of the attention, and get their name and product out into the market through this attention.

Ty Eriksen: What has been your best experience over the years in Europe?

Justin M. Prinstein: The girls. Just kidding, the whole experience is pretty amazing – learning new languages, new cultures, seeing great cities and the lasting friendships with teammates and other people you meet along the way. Without a doubt, being the winning pitcher in the Dutch First Division championship with Almere in 2009 against PSV-Eindhoven, and then a few weeks later winning the decisive Game 5 of the Dutch Head Class promotion series, just pitching on adrenaline and fumes. Proving that I could be “the foreign ace” on the highest level. I’ve been fortunate to be in the position to train a lot of great young players, and it’s been really fulfilling to see a lot of them become really good ballplayers over the years – from Tex Town to Scimitars Academy to Almere, I’ve worked with hundreds of Dutch youth players … and I get a lot of satisfaction sharing my baseball knowledge and helping young players.

Ty Eriksen: How long do you see yourself staying involved in European baseball

Justin M. Prinstein: After graduating from GWU in 2006, my goals were to play professional baseball and eventually work in government. I had never been to Europe, let alone outside of North America. Now, heading into my 5th year, I can’t foresee a time not involved. Either playing, coaching, scouting, or administrative/consulting level. I know I have a few good years left to play, but I also really look forward to my post-career with scouting/coaching and finishing up my law degree. I like to live by the motto that if you want something you have the ability to make it happen, I hope that I can continue to be involved with European baseball as long as others (teams, MLB, etc.) want me to be involved here.
In my wildest dreams I never really imagined these opportunities happening and you can’t plan for it – you can only just hang on tight and go along for the ride while it lasts.

Ty Eriksen: Any last thoughts or comments?

Justin M. Prinstein: I’m looking forward to this season with my teammates at HSV, and I appreciate the support of my family and friends along the way. TT, and my law school, University of Detroit Mercy, for allowing me to work towards my degree while I continue my professional baseball career. I do a bit of blogging on about my experiences along the way. Thanks to Mister-Baseball, its a great service for baseball in Europe, and you for this interview, I appreciate your time.

Mister-Baseball thanks Ty Eriksen and Justin Prinstein for the interview.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First Game

WARNING: This account may have a few inaccuracies. I was two days off the plane from Detroit, in which I had about 20 minutes of sleep in total. So after my brief home opener games account, I’ve included some other accounts from around the internet.

I remember we won the first game 11-10, but we had to use a lot of our relief pitchers for that. So I went into the second game as the starting pitcher and I told our manager Jens that I could probably go about 75 pitches before I would hit bad fatigue. We scored one unearned run in the first inning off of Dortmund’s American pitcher who led the German Bundesliga in strikeouts last year. We didn’t score again. I actually was pitching a “no-no” going through 4 innings, a shutout through 5, and entered the 6th inning leading 1-0, but was at 75 pitches. I told Jens I was pretty much done but he asked me to give him 1 more to help make the game shorter for our bullpen. I got 2 outs, but also had 2 guys on, when their #7 hitter, a lefty, who had 2 strikes on him took a low-and-away change-up that he Juuuust made contact with, and floated the ball just over our SS. The run that came around from 2nd base was actually tagged out on his back at the plate, but the umpire standing on the other side of the plate (out of position) didn’t see this and called him safe. Tie game. Next guy got a single up the middle and they went up by 1. I was done and we lost 3-1 eventually.

Impressions? Don’t pitch within 48 hours of a plane ride of 8 hours without sleep and if you do, don’t go past the 5th inning…

FROM The HSV Stealers and the Dortmund Wanderers settled for a split on Sunday. Game one was dominated by both offenses. The Stealers used a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh for the fourth lead change in the game and the 11-10 win. Max Warren had the decisive hit with a two-out RBI single. He also got the win in relief. Jakub Vojak hit a three-run homerun for Hamburg. Marco Dietschtook the loss. In the second game Matt Kemp (W 2-0) out-dueled Justin Prinstein (L 0-1) to lead the Wanderers to a 3-1 win. Daniel Groer had the big hit of the game with a two-run single in the sixth.

Standings North
1Pulheim Gophers4039121.0000W4
2Paderborn Untouchables302141.0000.5W3
3Dortmund Wanderers223220.5002W1
4Solingen Alligators223233.5002L1
5HSV Stealers222930.5002L1
6Bonn Capitals121721.3332.5W1
7Berlin Sluggers131235.2503L3
8Dohren Wild Farmers041138.0004L4

This is funny because it's from our website,, which is in German, but I translated it in google, so it may not be a perfect summary in English, but a bit more detail from Mr. Kujoth.


HSV Stealers I also against Dortmund with split 1:3 11:10
Posted by: Michael Kujoth
Monday, 11 April 2011 at 12:59 clock

To Match the start of the Bundesliga season, the baseball team win the HSV a renewed comeback win in game one defeat and the Dortmund Wanderers 11:10. In the following section, the thieves are, however, no remedy against a good mood and Matt Kemp are subject to 1:3.

Game 1: home run of Vojak, four points in the seventh inning for the second win of the season

An offensive slugfest with many points and multiple leadership changes were the spectators at the Hamburg Langenhorst in the first game of the day to see. Because of the injury-induced loss of René Herlitzius Daniel Harms started on the part of the Stealers, his opposite was Dennis Stechmann. Harms was struggling with control problems at the start and had already in the second inning to walk, hit by pitch, and a Doublesteal Groundout make the first point. After he began the next inning with two walks, he had to vacate the mound for his brother Eric. This could free himself while in the inning, but not before Alyosha Heller Runner by both single for a 3-0 lead had brought home. In a direct lookup turned the spot-free by then-offensive Stealers it to. Bases loaded at the first two runs of Thomas Ried scort agent sacrifice fly and the subsequent error of the Dortmund Center fielder Elliot Biddle. Sam Boone's Basehit worried then the short-term balance before Catcher Jakub Vojak the leather ball balanced on a 3-run home run and the first guide of the Stealers on the Left Field fence.

In section four game both teams took one further run on home plate and one inning later, the Dortmund turned their hand to score. RBI singles by Tobi Willach, Jovert Bolze, Roy Wescott and Biddle and a Passed Ball brought the score to 9:7 in front. From the sixth inning Max Warren took over the work on the mound for the Stealers, and sent back the first three by strikeout batter into the dugout, had to take part in the seventh game, however, a RBI-triple by Wesche for Dortmund 10:7 leadership. In the lower half of the inning put the HSV baseball but then again to strike back at. Michael Fliedner's double brought against the new pitcher Marco Dietsch connection point home and transported by Phillip Soosten to third base, from where he scored the equalizer on Jerome Rousseau's sacrifice fly.Warren perfected with his two-out RBI single gave the comeback and the Stealers 11:10-a leadership that would also represent the final score. The last six Dortmund beat people he sat with three strike outs and ground on the bench for the second win of the season to secure.

Game 2: Kemp leads Dortmund to Split

The second game of the Bundesliga Double headers are told usually fast and often follow a similar pattern: strong, mostly American pitching dominated along with the defensive series, a points poor game, and at the end wins the team that can at the right moment to land the decisive blows. On Sunday came the team from Dortmund.

Supported by an error of the Short Stops the Stealers were able to score in the first inning but already a point against Matt Kemp. On the remaining eight innings but not a single thief reached over the home plate, only one made it to the rest of the game play on the third base.And yet it looked like the beginning, as if the brief 1-0 lead enough for a double victory. Even for the Stealers a capable pitcher stood on the mound. Justin Prinstein, arrived just in time for the game in Germany, gave his hand, the Wanderers on a short leash and allowed the first five innings of no points. it also played a key role Catcher Vojak, the three potential base-stealer with his throwing arm in each case turned into an out. In the sixth game section Prinstein then showed signs of fatigue, however slight, that exploit the Dortmund consistently. In the case of two occupied by Biddle and Trevor Howell and Double Walk the Bases, Groer and Daniel took care line drive into right field for the equalizer. Stechmann then brought with his Bloop single to the shortstop to make it 2-1 to the Wanderers home. In the last game section presented Biddles RBI single against the return to the position of the pitcher's substitute Warren ago the 3-1 final score.

"The team, just as it did last week, showed good morale. In the first game we have never let us irritate the residues of us, and fought back into the game," summed up Coach Jens Hawlitzky at the end of the day. Also in relation to the second lot was the Stealers-Head Coach make any negative aspects about the performance of his team. "Matt Kemp is one of the better pitchers in the Bundesliga and has now thrown a good game. Two, three balls are more or less a gap in the field and the game is not 1:3, but from 3-1.'s How it is sometimes in baseball. "

For the next Saturday held home games against the Bonn Capitals should Hawlitzky outfielder Chris Schoettler available again. Rene Herlitzius but will be out due to a calf injury even longer. The Capitals could also gain a win on Sunday against the division of Solingen Alligators, after they lost in the previous week at the Paderborn Untouchables. remain leaders of the First Bundesliga Nord Pulheim the Gophers, who are after two victories against the Berlin Sluggers unbeaten this season.