Every year dozens of players from all over the world come to Europe to play, coach and lead programs. Baseball and softball more so than other sports, depend on knowledge and traditions being handed down player-to-player across generations.
David Burns, who plays for the Attang-Puchheim Athletics and began Baseball Jobs Overseas in 2012 says, “The import-club relationship is a win-win situation and ultimately great for the game of baseball itself.”
The symbiotic relationship created when imports come abroad allows European clubs to gain knowledge to grow their teams to the next level of play. The players gain experience often needed to take further steps in their own professional careers in coaching and management.
An import player himself, David created the company to help fill the gaps between need and experience on each continent. His blog and online community help to grow the pool of recruits each year.
Burns told EBSM, “Being an import is not just an opportunity to extend a career but a chance to make an impact on the game on a global scale. The local players sponge up everything and make huge strides in their game and suddenly baseball starts changing from a hobby to way of life. More and more I see European players striving to play college or pro, or even just play outside their own country at a higher level.
On the flip side, the impact playing or coaching abroad can have on the import, is life changing. The average import minimally has created some great memories and returns home proud of the mark they left. However a large number of these players have had their lives changed forever as a result of their baseball abroad experience.” Players like Burns, who married an Austrian woman, begin relationships with locals that last a lifetime.
Because Finsktonball is a non-regulation tournament, there were a higher-than-usual number of import players at the event. EBSM sat down with a mixed group - imports and local, baseball and softball - from the Budapest Reds to discuss the impact of import play on their own lives and community.