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View Full Version : The importance of Donald Lutzīcall up - from a German perspective



Dwarftree
05-14-2013, 09:04 AM
With this thread i am trying to give you a little insight of how important the call up of Donald Lutz to "The Show" might (!) be for a baseball developing country like Germany.

Over 20 years ago some buddies and me founded a baseball club. Founding a club ainīt that hard over here. You just need 7 people to sign a form, hand it in and then: There you go! You have a registered club. Maintaining a club instead is a whole different thing. That is work. Real hard work that you have to do in your spare time. Especially if it is a club that deals with something wide outside of the view of the public. Like baseball over here.

Just to give you an impression about the staus of baseball here, some numbers. Germany has about 82 million inhabitants. According to the website of the German Baseball Federation we have around 30.000 active players. Soccer, which of course is the #1 sport over here (and probably will forever be) as far as i know has around 6.5 million players. I hope that gives you an idea how "big" baseball is in Germany.

As stated above, founding a club is one thing maintaining one is a whole different story. It all starts off with the infrastructure. There are almost no real baseball fields in Germany. Meaning you mostly have to play on soccer fields. If (and thats a big IF) you get access to a field at all. Be it for game time or be it for practice. Suggesting you manage to get a field to play ball it continues. As we all know it takes at least 9 people to play the game. As we all know you definitely need more than 9 people to play a whole season. Where to get them? Someone might get injured, someone might get sick, someone might need to attend his grandmaīs 70th birthday on a game day and so on. And there you go. Not enough players. So you have to start recruiting people, getting them interested in the sport of baseball. Most of them have absolutely no idea what an "Out" a "Strike" or a "Stolen Base" is. In case you manage to get some more people on board: Where are the coaches? Next issue. Most of the time you send one of the people that founded the club to a seminar in order to get a coaching license. Next problem fixed. Next problem coming up. Umpires and scorers. Every club needs to have a certain amount of umpires and scorers so their respective league can run at all. Again: Send people to the according courses in order to obtain their licenses.

While all the above can be managed with a lot of heart, soul and the love for the sport there is one thing that you also need. And yes you guessed it right: Money! You need sponsors to run a club. Be it for game balls, be it for spare gloves or bats for potential newcomers or even kids, be it for onfield equipment like bases or a pitching screen, dirt or grass seeds to repair damages on the field ... you name it. You need to convince people to give money to a club that plays a game no one really is interested in. Another not so easy task to accomplish.

What i am trying to say: Playing baseball in Germany has to do with a lot of improvising on all ends. Playing baseball in Germany is all about giving everything you and your fellows can to keep a club up and running in order to be able to play the sport you love. Every individual that is involved in club activities be it as a player, as an umpire, as a coach, as an "official" or whatever lives, loves and breaths baseball more or less 24/7.

And this more or less is the environment where Donald Lutz managed it to make it to The Bigs. Sure. Players from Latin American countries for example had to face the same or even more hassle. But baseball is much more known to the wide public in these countries compared to Germany. Over here you have almost no media coverage at all. Actually the WBC qualifyers in Regensburg as far as i know were more or less the first baseball games that were broadcasted live in German tv. Albeit on a very small channel, but hey. Itīs a start. And Donalds call up might (!) be a start to put baseball more on the German sports map. After he was called up to the Majors it was on the frontpage of the websites of the most important German news magazine "Der Spiegel", of the most read German tabloid "BILD" and on the frontpages of two of the most important German sports webportals "spox" and "sport1".

And this is why his call up hopefully was so important for German baseball. Finally some attention from the real big names in German media. Maybe this might open up some eyes. Maybe this will get more people and kids interested into the sport of baseball. For someone who has built up and maintained a club and that has been through all the trouble described above that is a great, great sign.

Thank you for reading. :)

RedTeamGo!
05-14-2013, 09:23 AM
With this thread i am trying to give you a little insight of how important the call up of Donald Lutz to "The Show" might (!) be for a baseball developing country like Germany.

Over 20 years ago some buddies and me founded a baseball club. Founding a club ainīt that hard over here. You just need 7 people to sign a form, hand it in and then: There you go! You have a registered club. Maintaining a club instead is a whole different thing. That is work. Real hard work that you have to do in your spare time. Especially if it is a club that deals with something wide outside of the view of the public. Like baseball over here.

Just to give you an impression about the staus of baseball here, some numbers. Germany has about 82 million inhabitants. According to the website of the German Baseball Federation we have around 30.000 active players. Soccer, which of course is the #1 sport over here (and probably will forever be) as far as i know has around 6.5 million players. I hope that gives you an idea how "big" baseball is in Germany.

As stated above, founding a club is one thing maintaining one is a whole different story. It all starts off with the infrastructure. There are almost no real baseball fields in Germany. Meaning you mostly have to play on soccer fields. If (and thats a big IF) you get access to a field at all. Be it for game time or be it for practice. Suggesting you manage to get a field to play ball it continues. As we all know it takes at least 9 people to play the game. As we all know you definitely need more than 9 people to play a whole season. Where to get them? Someone might get injured, someone might get sick, someone might need to attend his grandmaīs 70th birthday on a game day and so on. And there you go. Not enough players. So you have to start recruiting people, getting them interested in the sport of baseball. Most of them have absolutely no idea what an "Out" a "Strike" or a "Stolen Base" is. In case you manage to get some more people on board: Where are the coaches? Next issue. Most of the time you send one of the people that founded the club to a seminar in order to get a coaching license. Next problem fixed. Next problem coming up. Umpires and scorers. Every club needs to have a certain amount of umpires and scorers so their respective league can run at all. Again: Send people to the according courses in order to obtain their licenses.

While all the above can be managed with a lot of heart, soul and the love for the sport there is one thing that you also need. And yes you guessed it right: Money! You need sponsors to run a club. Be it for game balls, be it for spare gloves or bats for potential newcomers or even kids, be it for onfield equipment like bases or a pitching screen, dirt or grass seeds to repair damages on the field ... you name it. You need to convince people to give money to a club that plays a game no one really is interested in. Another not so easy task to accomplish.

What i am trying to say: Playing baseball in Germany has to do with a lot of improvising on all ends. Playing baseball in Germany is all about giving everything you and your fellows can to keep a club up and running in order to be able to play the sport you love. Every individual that is involved in club activities be it as a player, as an umpire, as a coach, as an "official" or whatever lives, loves and breaths baseball more or less 24/7.

And this more or less is the environment where Donald Lutz managed it to make it to The Bigs. Sure. Players from Latin American countries for example had to face the same or even more hassle. But baseball is much more known to the wide public in these countries compared to Germany. Over here you have almost no media coverage at all. Actually the WBC qualifyers in Regensburg as far as i know were more or less the first baseball games that were broadcasted live in German tv. Albeit on a very small channel, but hey. Itīs a start. And Donalds call up might (!) be a start to put baseball more on the German sports map. After he was called up to the Majors it was on the frontpage of the websites of the most important German news magazine "Der Spiegel", of the most read German tabloid "BILD" and on the frontpages of two of the most important German sports webportals "spox" and "sport1".

And this is why his call up hopefully was so important for German baseball. Finally some attention from the real big names in German media. Maybe this might open up some eyes. Maybe this will get more people and kids interested into the sport of baseball. For someone who has built up and maintained a club and that has been through all the trouble described above that is a great, great sign.

Thank you for reading. :)

Wow.

Thank you for sharing this, I really enjoyed reading what you had to say.

I went to Germany in 2006 to attend the US group stage matches and had a funny experience involving baseball. A German bartender was wearing an Atlanta Braves hat, I asked him how he became a fan of the Braves and he said "who are the Braves?" and I told him what his hat was and after a few moments realized he had no idea what I was talking about. I then attempted to explain baseball and he got even more confused. I just gave up and said "It is a great sport, if you get a chance watch a game." Perhaps now that Lutz has made it to the majors he has caught a Reds game and switched from that ugly Braves hat to a Reds one.

Dwarftree
05-14-2013, 10:21 AM
Yeah. You have that all the time here. Me being a "mean" person from time to time i kinda made a sport out of that, setting people up that are wearing a cap.

Me - "Hey, you did not do that well yesterday, what was wrong with your relievers?"
Random dude in the subway wearing a red Yankees cap - "Huh?"
Me - "Your bullpen got torn apart by the Angels. What went wrong?"
Random dude in the subway wearing a red Yankees cap - "What the heck are you talking about?"
Me - "Nevermind."

Best thing i ever saw was someone wearing a Yankees cap and a Redsox shirt at the same time... Oo

Beer&Bourbon
05-14-2013, 02:11 PM
Very interesting. I was in Luebeck (northern Germany) for 6 weeks last fall after touring several other countries in Europe. I saw a lot of baseball caps. They were all Yankees or Dodgers or Cubs. I was surprised to see people were interested in baseball - until my friends in Germany told me that it was just the cool thing to do. Oh well. I hope this does increase baseball awareness over there.

IABucFan
05-16-2013, 07:56 PM
Wow! Neat story! Thank you for sharing. I would love to see baseball catch on more in Europe.

redsmetz
05-16-2013, 08:27 PM
Excellent post and welcome to Redszone. I'd love it if you could link some of the German articles to this. I'd like to forward them to some friends in Germany.

Back in the 70's, I got to know some folks from Germany who came and visited the lay Catholic community I belonged to. In 1977, I went and visited them as my brother finished up studying at Heidelberg University and we went around to some other cities - Würzburg, Neuendettelsau and Munich. Some years later, one of them came and worked on his doctorate at the University of Cincinnati.

They moved back after he finished, but came back for a visit with their three kids (one came to Cincy with them, another was born here and the last was born back in Germany). On that visit, we took them down to some ball fields and taught them how to play baseball (they were about 13, 10 and 8). They liked it so much, they went to a used sporting goods store and bought some equipment to take back to Germany. So these kids briefly were teaching their mates in Lörrach how to play baseball.

I've been sharing with their oldest son, who I'm friends with on Facebook, that there was a German player on the Reds now. Again, I'd love to be able to send them some German language articles - and it will be good practice for me with my German.

redsmetz
05-16-2013, 08:35 PM
I found the article from Das Bild:

http://www.bild.de/sport/mehr-sport/baseball/er-wurde-auf-einen-schlag-beruehmt-30218440.bild.html

Dwarftree
05-17-2013, 05:35 AM
http://www.spox.com/de/sport/ussport/mlb/1305/News/erster-homerun-von-donald-lutz-cincinnati-reds-sieg-gegen-milwaukee-brewers.html

That was the only article i still was able to find about Lutz. Tbh all these "articles" have not had that much content anyway. It was basically only "Donald Lutz - first German to make it into the Majors" and "Lutz hit his first homerun in The Bigs". It was more about that some of the more influential German media and sport sites showed the public: "Hey! Look! There is a sport named baseball that is play over here and one of "our" own has kinda made it".