Adam Sowell is a veteran of the European baseball leagues having played in Sweden (where he was MVP), Belgium, The Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and now Austria. So we asked Adam to tell us a little bit about life in Europe as an American player.
You initially went to Temple College in Texas out of high school. What was it like playing for former MLB pitcher Craig McMurtry?
Probably the scariest coach I’ve played for, lol. I remember after an away game watching Coach McMurtry turn a trash can round to hide the huge hole he put into it from beating it with a bat after something went wrong during a game. I was with him
in his first 2 years as coach, I enjoyed playing for him and I always try to check up on the Leopards to see how they are doing.
After college you signed with the Rivercity Rascals in the Frontier League. What was the biggest difference in playing in the minors and college ball?
In college if you don’t run hard in practices, the coaches are yelling at you. Once you get to the pros, the coaches don’t watch you anymore, you’re on your own.
You quickly found a home in the leagues of Europe jumping around from Belgium (Hoboken Pioneers), to Sweden where you were the MVP, to a short stint in the Dutch League, and so on while playing in the Czech Republic last season. Why do you keep returning to Europe?
I enjoy seeing new countries and learning new cultures. Little responsibility, some monthly cash, a free apartment and lots of baseball…. I guess I’m just a big kid at heart.
What has been your favorite place to play in Europe?
The Czech League. The weather there wasn’t as cold and rainy as the other countries I’ve played in. The Eagles complex was also very impressive.
What about your favorite city to live in or visit?
So far it has been Karlskoga, Sweden, a small town with a population of about 27,000. The people in the town were very friendly, spoke pretty good English and it was easy to get around. I enjoyed going to the night club Stat and hanging out at Cafe Paris, a popular coffee shop in the city center. Okay who am I kidding, the girls are hot and my exact type. I’m considering returning to Sweden at some point to play for a team.
How would you rank the leagues in Europe against say college or the independent leagues in the States?
I’d say if you took an average independent league team and put them up against one of the better teams in Europe, for one game, it would be close. Teams in America have a lot more depth and the gap between the best college teams and the worst college teams are much smaller than the best and worst in Europe.
Aside from playing ball in Europe, what was the best part of living there as an American?
I feel like I continue to improve and grow as a person as I learn and experience the non-tourist cultures of every new country I live in. Most Americans rarely travel outside of America and when they do, it’s only for a short time in a touristy area where everyone speaks perfect English.
You are currently in Thailand, but are you looking to return to the diamond somewhere in Europe for the 2012 season?
Yes, I just committed to the Schwaz Tigers in Austria today as the new player/coach. They are in the process of getting the contracts together so it hasn’t been official announced yet. I chose the Tigers because the town and the club reminded me a lot of the Karlskoga Bats in Sweden in which I enjoyed greatly.
With your experience and success, have you ever thought of trying to make it either back in the States in the minors as a player or coach?
I haven’t really given it too much thought. It might be something I’d look into further down the road, but for now I’m looking into crossing off a few more European countries on my baseball list over the next few years.
I’d like to thank Adam for taking some time to answer a few questions for us.
You can follow Adam and his adventures overseas on his blog at AdamVanWildest and on his YouTube page. Right now you can check out some videos on living in Thailand and hopefully soon some videos on life in Austria.