Baseball: GERMAN PITCHING IN WITH BASEBALL'S BIG BOYS.Byline: DARREN LEWIS
MICHAEL FRANKE, a 19-year-old third baseman third baseman
The infielder stationed near third base.
Noun 1. third baseman - (baseball) the person who plays third base
third sacker , will make history in April when he becomes the first German to join a Major League baseball "MLB" and "Major Leagues" redirect here. For other uses, see MLB (disambiguation) and Major Leagues (disambiguation).
Major League Baseball (MLB) is the highest level of play in North American professional baseball. team.
Franke, signed by the Milwaukee Brewers, impressed scouts with home runs that were still rising when they cleared the outfield fences 110 metres away.
The powerfully-built Franke has managed to acquire his skills in a nation where just 25,000 people play the game.
Franke, who comes from this small town east of Berlin, has just six years of experience.
Germany has only a few dozen baseball diamonds and even fewer experienced coaches.
He plays in the German Bundesliga.
It's a league of weekend warriors where players earn at most a few marks and the 16 teams travel around the country in car caravans to their Saturday double-headers.
Games attract fewer than 1,000 spectators and are never televised.
"I didn't even know what a baseball was Baseball WA is the governing body of baseball within Western Australia. Baseball WA is governed by the Australian Baseball Federation External Links
Australian Baseball Federation
Claxton Shield | until I was 13," Franke said in an interview.
He was speaking from snow-covered Strausberg, where the East German army once planned war strategy for a communist invasion of the West that never came.
"But they built a baseball field here out of two soccer fields and so I came over to give it a try," he said. "Hitting the ball was a fantastic experience.
"I hit eight of the first 10 pitches. It was an unbelievable feeling. Nothing feels better. I was hooked after that."
Franke, has earned the American-sounding nickname "Mitch".
He speaks little English apart from a clutch of insults picked up from American expatriates who play or coach in the German league.
He may need to give his new team mates a geography lesson. Franke said he was surprised during his three-week stay in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. at how little the locals knew about Europe.
One pitcher thought Berlin was in Denmark, he said, though his new colleagues all admired German sports cars and super-model Claudia Schiffer Claudia Schiffer (born August 25, 1970) is a German supermodel and actress, who reached the height of her popularity during the 1990s. Schiffer is one of the world's most successful supermodels, appearing on over 500 magazine covers .
"A couple of the coaches even wanted to learn some German," said Franke, who also plays third base for the German national team.
They finished fourth in last year's European championships There are various championships held in a variety of sports on a European Level:
"Maybe it's a bonus that I'll be playing for the Milwaukee Brewers organisation," he said of the team named after its famous breweries.
"It's the city with the biggest population of people of German descent. It would be a dream to make it there within a few years.
"But I have to tell you it is a dream just to be playing pro base
"They gave me a signing bonus A signing bonus or sign-on bonus is a sum of money paid to a new employee by a company as an incentive to join that company. These are often given as a way of making a compensation package more attractive to the employee e.g. if the annual salary is lower than they desire. but I was so happy I would have agreed to play without pay."
Franke will join the Brewers in spring training and start with their rookie league team, the Ogden Raptors The Ogden Raptors are a minor league baseball team in the Pioneer League. The Raptors are based in Ogden, Utah, where they play at Lindquist Field, which was rated the number one view in professional baseball. They are one of six farm teams of the Los Angeles Dodgers. in Utah.
"My first goal is to get to the double A," he said.
"But I need a lot of practice. Right now I would rather play every day in the rookie league to get as much experience as possible.
"Then we'll see what happens."