If you can find your way to Austria from May 18th through May 21st, 2018, mark that weekend off as “busy” and prepare yourself for the most epic weekend of baseball, softball and party.

IBC member Steven Johnson waits for a pitch while fellow IBC member Ryan Rupp looks on

Finkstonball is the longest standing invitational baseball tournament in Europe and is held annually at a small town of 8,000 in Austria called Attnang-Puchheim.

In 2017 the host Attnang Athletics celebrated the tournament’s 20th anniversary, which has become recognized in international baseball circles as a party tournament and networking opportunity with some decent baseball. It is the only baseball tournament in Europe (and likely overseas) which combines baseball and party, held over the course of a long weekend totalling 3 days of baseball and 3 nights of live open air music directly at the ballpark. Starting in 2016, organizers decided to reduce the number baseball teams from 12 to 8 and host a women’s fastpitch softball tournament as well.

IBC members middle front from left: Gaby Gonzalez, Allyne Clark, Paige Crawford

In the 90’s, the baseball was at a low level, matching the then division 2 Austrian hosts level of play. Over the years, as the Athletics developed, the focus turned to increasing the level of play at the tournament.

The tournament, for the most part, is a place where teams from around Europe go to enjoy the game in a relaxed, international environment while enjoying the festivities at night. Some teams are there more for the party (Belfast Northstars) while others, like the Austrian National Team, are there for the baseball only. In the end, it always gets competitive and sometimes quite serious, exemplified by the benches clearing between the host Athletics and the Bad Homburg Hornets (Germany) in 2014 round robin play (cooler heads prevailed).

Here is a Youtube playlist highlighting Finkstonball from the past decade:

Over the years Finkstonball has hosted teams from the Netherlands, U.K., Germany, Czech Republic, Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary, France, Slovenia, Switzerland, Romania, Portugal, Russia, Turkey, Poland, Italy and the United States.

Since 2010, there has been a team assembled of import players, mostly from the U.S., who are playing around Europe. Annually the team features members from our website, providing them with a great opportunity to network and showcase their skills. In recent years, IBC baseball imports who were too late for a spot on the import team have been placed on other teams in the tournament to strengthen the level of play. 

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Wham Bam Body Slam is a local Austrian band gone international (also active Athletics slowpitch members) which year-after-year headline the open air stage with their unique, multi-instrumental folk-punk sound which provides the perfect atmosphere for the 500+ party goers to kick off the weekend. Across the parking lot is an even larger indoor concert which was originally the location of the Finkstonball music festival until it grew to be too big for tournament organizers to run on volunteer work, forcing them to contract it out to an entertainment company. The three day indoor concert called Pfingstspektakel draws local crowds of up to 2000 per night mixed in with a couple of hundred baseball and softball players after the open air concert ends at midnight. Here is clip from WBBS performing at Finkstonball Open Air 2017 with a little support from other local musicians:

Teams and individuals attending the tournament either sleep in their camper vans in the parking lot, in “Tent City” located behind the stadium or at a “Gasthaus” in Attnang-Puchheim or nearby Voecklabruck if they prefer to actually get some sleep. For those on a tight budget without a tent or camper van are given the option to sleep at a local school gym where they are supplied with mats. Those willing to volunteer on the clean up crew (7am-9am every morning) can receive special privileges such as housing, free beverages or a spot on the Attnang Athletics roster for the tournament.

For any teams or players who wish to participate at the tournament in 2018 please contact:

Baseball clubs: Philip Dressler – p.dressler@athleticsbaseball.at

Women’s fastpitch clubs: Nicole Wiesinger – n.wiesinger@athleticsbaseball.at

Baseball or softball players (import or EU): David Burns – dburns@baseballjobsoverseas.com

 

Finkstonball fun facts:

  • The name ‘Finkstonball” was coined by David Burns (Founder of Baseball Jobs Overseas) who was an import player with the Athletics in 1999 and mispronounced the name of the tournament & festival, then called Pfingstspektakel.
  • IBC member Joe Wittig spent his first night at Finkstonball in 2015 sleeping outside under the performance stage after consuming a few too many beverages. He ended up winning the Best Batter and Best Pitcher awards. He used the tournament to showcase his skills and has never looked back, signing with the Prague Eagles in the Czech Republic for multiple seasons which also lead to two stints in Australia where he currently is playing. 
  • In 2014, IBC member Clayton Carson flew to Europe to attend the event in hopes of getting picked up by a team as a coach or player-coach. That is exactly what happened as he signed on with the Hard Bulls of Austria after impressing at the tournament. Clayton has since signed contracts with clubs in Australia twice, Switzerland, Italy and Sweden. He will be returning to his former team in Hard in 2018.

We encourage you to share your Finkstonball story or memories in the comment section of the social medium where you read this post.