Last week, the Wiener Neustadt Diving Ducks foreign import Ryan Kroko sat down to answer a few questions about playing in Austria. Here is what he had to say.
You grew up in Georgia and pitched in college in South Carolina. How did you wind up in Austria?
I was training at a place called American Baseball Institute in Tampa. The pitching guy there, chris holt actually came over and played a couple years ago. The player personal for the ducks asked chris if knew any pitchers that would want to come play over here.
Had you visited Europe before making the move to play in Austria?
No this was my first time out of the country. I had to get my passport before I came here.
You are about a month into the season so far. What has it been like so far?
It gone really fast actually. I am really enjoying it here, everything from the food, people and lifestyle.
With league games on weekends, how do you spend the rest of your time?
I have gotten into a routine for the mornings of either working out or running. I started reading a little more once I got over here also. I just finished Tim Teebows book.
Have you met any of the other foreign players in the league? What advice or insights have they given you if any?
Actually one of my good friends plays for the Wanderers now. They needed a shortstop and a week later he was here. But most the teams we play I’ll talk to their import player after the game and see where they are from. Chris was actually really good about telling me about what it was going to be like here.
There are many players that are sort of on the European circuit so to speak bouncing from country to country. Is this something you are interested in?
Yeah I am interested in that for sure. Any chance that I get to put on a uniform and play I’m going to consider.
How has the level of competition been so far?
It’s been pretty good. I have had to pitch out of some situations.
How has the level of communication been so far being as Austria is a German speaking nation?
I have learned that either the people know english and I can have a conversation with them or they don’t know any at all. I have learned some of the basic words though.
Many of the players in Europe are also managers. Is this something you would be interested in getting into one day?
Yeah I would be. I have been blessed to have some good coaches over the years and I want to pass some of this knowledge on to younger players.
I want to thank Ryan for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. If you want to learn more about what it’s like to play in Austria, you can follow Ryan on his blog at Baseball in Austria, or follow him on Twitter, @rkroko.
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.