Monday, February 20, 2012

From Palmetto Tiger to Baldham Boar?

The Baldham Boars.
That's the name of the ballclub Ryan Williams will be departing for shortly to begin training.
They're not a minor league team for some American League or National League organization.
They don't train in Arizona or California, either.
Not by a long shot.
You need a long trans-Atlantic plane ride to get there.
All the way to Munich, Germany.
What's up with that?
"I've never gotten baseball out of my system," said the 2003 Palmetto High School grad and former Tiger.
Williams had scouts looking at him as a University of Tampa outfielder before he injured a wrist his senior season.
That may have cooled some teams, but he never lost his passion for baseball.
After Williams got back from six months roaming New Zealand and other exotic locales in the Far East in 2009, he got a phone call from the Boars manager.
Turns out an old pal had played in Baldham and recommended him to the skipper, who kept his name handy.
Then when another American player bailed, the Boars boss called Williams and offered him a shot to play.
The club had done its due diligence on Williams, calling former coaches, etc., and decided to take a chance.
He said OK.
"I flew there and literally two days later I was playing," he said.
According to their website, the Boars are a third-division ballclub, which raises this question:
You mean Germany has a first- and second-division?
In baseball?
"It's soccer, soccer, soccer over there," Williams said. "Baseball is more like a curiosity thing. We play in front of 200 people one day and 10 the next."
Plus, they play weekends only, which gives him time to do what he also loves:
"Italy's only a four-hour drive," Williams said.
Sweden is another fave.
He ran with bulls in Pamplona, Spain, too.
"Intense," he called it.
How long will Williams play?
"Until I can't do it anymore," he said.
Oh, yeah.
The Baldham Boars' website said they need a catcher and second baseman.

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