Andrew Medeiros was a standout in his NCAA III conference where he was known as a speedy catcher who hits for average and power. The Westfield State University grad fell victim to an all to familiar story of a talented player slipping through the pro baseball cracks. After not being drafted and failed attempts at an Indy ball career, Medeiros decided to start a career in coaching. However before he really even got far down the coaching path a friend told him about the International Baseball Community website and Medeiros threw up a profile immediately. Within two weeks he was on a plane to Canberra, Australia to play for the Ainslie Bears in the Capital Territory State League.
When asked what he knew about baseball opportunities overseas prior to signing in Australia Medeiros claimed:
From what I knew, it was pretty much just the Asian teams and I kinda figured it was like major league baseball and their minor league system. I figured you pretty much had to know someone or have that kind of skill level. I never even thought of Europe or Australia to be honest with you.
Medeiros soon found himself living at a hotel owned by the club’s president, working at the hotel bar earning $26 an hour and spending evenings at the president’s house for dinner. To top it off, Medeiros could choose how much or how little he worked every week, allowing himself to take off and explore other parts of the country with the use of his own car supplied by the team. Medeiros even managed to make his way to Sydney for New Years Eve at the Sydney harbour.
Medeiros typically worked 20-30 hours a week to support his trips including a 10 day excursion to New Zealand during the Christmas break with a couple of other imports in the league including Alex Lee from IBC E47. They rented a camper van and drove around the south island stopping along the way for various outdoor adventures including a stop to try out one of the world’s largest bungee jumps.
That was probably the coolest part. Just three guys driving around in a camper van, stop when you want, doing like canyons and glaciers, it was cool.
On the baseball side of things, Medeiros’s presence on the team made an immediate impact. The team went from a 1-3 start to a final record on the season of 24-3 (minus a few rainouts) including a 20 game winning streak. Medeiros hit .462 with 17 doubles, 3 triples, 9 home runs and 21 stolen bases on the season, obviously a large part of the club’s success. In this podcast interview, Medeiros shares a lot about the league and the clubs within, how many imports per club, and much more.
With the season winding down, a visit to Canberra by an ex Bear from Belgium ended up in the signing of Medeiros and the two other current Bear’s imports to come play for the Deurne Spartans in Belgium Baseball League for the 2015 summer season. This is just another example of the “international baseball trap” that Lee referred to in IBC episode 47. Once you play overseas the opportunities keep popping up, opportunities that are difficult to turn down. Medeiros echoed Lee’s comments in this interview,
Once you go overseas for the first time, you kind of get that itch and just want to keep going.
Again Medeiros took full advantage of his opportunity as he hopped on a two hour bus ride to Amsterdam and then again for five hours to Paris to take in the Eiffel Tower.
Medeiros plans to go home for the winter unless he is able to land a job in the Australian Baseball League. He is hoping to return to Belgium in 2016 as a coach with the Belgium national team.