As an un-drafted graduate of a small NAIA school, Mark Boyer was not getting a lot of opportunities to continue his playing career until he set his sights on third division Germany. Being a true utility guy, he knew he could help a small club in more way than one, and when combined with some coaching experience at the high school and college level, he could be an asset to a club’s youth program as well.
Like any aspiring professional player, Boyer desired to play the highest level of baseball possible, but was aware that he may first have to prove himself at a lower level of baseball like the German third division in order to make a name for himself overseas. Boyer got his chance with Ingolstadt Schanzer, a club from Bavaria, Germany, home of Oktoberfest.
Boyer claimed the baseball to be at “college level” and often first division German players would play for their club’s third division team, thus increasing the talent within the league. Boyer used this as an opportunity to network and showcase his skills to German Bundesliga clubs when playing their third division team. He was also invited by a nearby German bundesliga club, the Dohren Wild Farmers, to compete in their tournament against other German clubs from the top division. These networking opportunities led to multiple discussions with different Bundesliga clubs on the possibility of playing for them in 2015. He also received an offer to play in Australia for the winter but decided to turn it down.
Boyer was stoked about his arrangement which included a return flight, room and board, a free gym pass, and enough of a salary to cover his food expenses and still have about €200 left over at the end of every month for “travelling and beer. ” He took full advantage of his location by testing out the German beer at numerous festivals and even used the extra cash to buy a pair of lederhosen.
His schedule was relatively busy between practices and coaching youth as he found himself at the ball park almost every day. However, he still managed to get some time off to travel to France to see Paris, to Austria to go hiking and he also made his way to the Czech Republic. Boyer credits his teammates for showing him around and providing him with ample opportunities to experience the German culture.
During this podcast interview Boyer states that almost every club within the southern German regional league that he played in had an import, and this is just one of many regional leagues in Germany. Since Boyer’s signing, the International Baseball Community has been more proactive at reaching out to all regional league clubs across Germany. This has led to a number of German regional league clubs using the IBC website in search of imports for 2015, opening the door for more to do the same.
When asked to provide a tip for others looking to take their career overseas Boyer had some good advice.
Be open minded. I know some guys that play minor league ball and independent ball in the States and they all say I have the better gig. I only play twice a week and I get to travel Europe almost all expenses paid. So yeah, just be open minded and go for it.