After finishing up the 2010 season with Almere and Hamburg and achieving his long term goal of pitching in the Dutch Head Class, Boomer was undecided about what to do with his baseball career and was leaning towards focusing on finishing law school and getting a job. After back-to-back years with no offseason and pitching 7-9 innings every start, his arm definitely needed a rest.
However during the 2010 summer while on break from pitching in Holland, Boomer visited a girl living in Budapest (Hungary) whom he met while in Italy the previous year. While visiting her, Boomer asked if there was baseball in Hungary and she googled it and found a local club of which he contacted by email with the help of his friend as a translator. They invited him out to practice and Boomer soon found himself practicing with grown men at a level he had never seen before, which was an interesting experience in itself and an eye opener. The Hungarians were immediately amazed as they had never seen anything close to a mid to upper 80’s fastball and said to Boomer that they “would be honoured to have a chance to try and hit him.” Boomer obliged and proceeded to mow them down throwing at about 75% velocity. Soon thereafter they offered him a job to coach the national team the following year however Boomer did not take the offer too seriously at the time because he was still playing for Almere in the Dutch Head Class and had not thought that far ahead about his playing career.
During the offseason, his new Hungarian friends contacted him and made an official offer for the position as an associate head coach with the national team for the 2011 season. Boomer contemplated the offer and found the potential to make a huge impact on a relatively new baseball market was very appealing to him. However he was not quite done playing so decided to come up with a plan to still play at a high level while also taking up the Hungarians on their offer. He reached out to the Hamburg Stealers and coordinated with them that he would continue to pitch for them in Germany while periodically flying to Budapest to work with the National team and to run camps and clinics (while also keeping up with his law studies). All parties were on board and Boomer found himself back in Europe come springtime to start his next adventure.
When he first started his journey overseas his focus was playing at the highest level possible in Europe at the Dutch Head Class. Now that he had accomplished that, he was now experiencing overseas as a coach, something Boomer found as a new form of satisfaction in his baseball career.
I found it so gratifying to make such an impact in a small country of baseball.
“That was really cool for me. I really got fully invested in making the program and the national team better. I found it so gratifying to make such an impact in a small country of baseball,” said Boomer when reflecting on his newly discovered passion for coaching.
Boomer did such a great job in Hungary that he was invited back for the 2012 summer as the full-time head coach of the National team and was in charge of player development for the whole country. He decided this time around to stick to just coaching and playing in Hungary while finishing up Law School during his time in Hungary. By doing do, he also had the pleasure of playing in the Interleague, a league consisting of clubs from Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia. This allowed Boomer to travel to new countries and experience new cultures all within one season.
During the winter of 2012-2013 he finished up law school and found that he had much more time to take on more baseball duties. So he returned in the summer of 2013 for a third season as the Hungarian National Team coach while also accepting a job offer a job from the Baltimore Orioles as the lead European scout. This time Boomer decided to play with a club (Hrosi) in nearby Brno, Czech Republic where he would play, coach and scout, while continuing with his role in Hungary.
During his time in Czech, Boomer met numerous talented kids who had no concept of the possibility to go over to the U.S. to play college baseball. He soon realized when reflecting back on his experiences, that there were numerous young athletes in Europe that were talented enough to go play college baseball in the U.S.. After this realization he aligned himself with coaches across Europe with the same goal of providing young baseball athletes the opportunity to go over to the U.S. and showcase their talents to college coaches. Thus, Boomer Baseball International was born and has placed 9 EU players in U.S. college since 2013.
As a spin off project, Boomer formed the International Stars tournament team, a team assembled mostly of professional players in Europe combined with some local talent to participate in Finkstonball (Austria) and Prague Baseball Week (Czech Republic).
When asked what advice he would give to other player-coaches who are considering a career overseas Boomer made a good point of comparing the potential impact you can make within any given program. He pointed out that there is much more opportunity to leave your mark with smaller market countries as opposed to in Italy or the Netherlands for example.
When trying to put a finger on a formula that helped him to maximize his overseas baseball experience, Boomer attributed it to his ability to immerse himself within the culture and that he truly wanted to get to know the people. He also tried not to burn any bridges and was always grateful for the opportunities he had.
Word’s to live by.
As of today Boomer is going into his 3rd year as a pro scout for the Orioles. In 2014 the Orioles reassigned him to start scouting minors leagues in the U.S.. Boomer split his time about 50/50 between scouting pro baseball in the U.S. and amateur baseball internationally including a stop in Guayana, South America where he was the first ever baseball professional to visit the country for baseball purposes.
In 2015 he spent about 95% of his time scouting the minor leagues, visiting 20-30 pro teams across the U.S.
I asked him if he would have ended up in this same position if he had not taken his career overseas as I find more and more aspiring off-the-field baseball professionals are looking overseas to leapfrog their way up the professional ladder.
“I am not so sure if I would have ended up staying in baseball if I would have stayed in the States. It is just so competitive you can get burned out pretty easily. What I love about baseball in Europe and baseball in Australia is that when you play over there, it is not just a job, you know, it is more like a lifestyle.”
At the time of writing this article Boomer signed on as the assistant coach for the Greek national team for 2016.