With all the violence that has taken place in France as of late, I can understand why someone may be hesitant to consider playing baseball there in 2016. However, when considering the alternative of staying and playing in the U.S. (for most of you), is France really any more dangerous? The U.S. by far dominates international headlines with regards to violent shootings, so why not take your career over to Europe? My ignorant impression from the outside as a Canadian living in Europe is that you are just as likely to come across senseless acts of violence or terrorism in the U.S. as you are in France. In the end, I guess the question we should ask ourselves is, “Should I allow the acts of terrorists to change my path in life or pass up on opportunities such as travelling the globe while playing baseball?” Only you can answer that for yourself but I know what my answer is and I am pretty sure what these guys would say.
There is no doubt we need to be more alert these days when travelling, especially when in high volume tourist areas in Europe. It is something that unfortunately travel lovers need to deal with today.
2015 Standings and Importing
In 2015, there were 22-24 imports in the French Elite League and around 3-5 in the second division. All of these guys had a great time and enjoyed their time in France. Here is a breakdown of the clubs in the leagues and where they finished in the standings.
As you can see, the league is quite unbalanced with the top two clubs dominating. With a good import pitcher, the bottom clubs can steal a game here or there from the top clubs, but for the most part, it is pretty clear who is going to make the playoffs and who isn’t. Rouen has dominated the league for the past decade+ winning 10 of the last 13 championships. In 2015, Montpellier surprised everyone by making it to the final over Senart. American imports Rob Herrmann, Will Musson and Matt Martin had a lot to do with that.
The French Cubs also had some very good imports in Jordan Liester, Josh Wyant and Rayner Oliveros, but when looking at their record, it is pretty clear that their French players are not at the level as some of the other French players in the league. However the French Cubs have made huge strides in their organization and I expect them to climb the ranks in years to come.
The second division also saw some importing amongst the top two clubs, Clermont (Arvernes) and La Rochelle.
In this episode I start off with a brain dump on French baseball. Basically I inform listeners about French baseball and what they can expect. Everything from where the clubs are located, who has the best and worst ball parks, cost of living, number of imports, compensation, level of play, which clubs will bring you the best exposure to the rest of Europe, the list goes on. I also include an interview with Michael Leach, a catcher who was imported to the French Elite League in 2014. He shares his experience on living and playing baseball in France for the French Cubs. He describes his set up, weekly schedule and travel adventures.