Louis Cohen spent his college baseball years at Cal State University Northridge in the Big West Conference where he spent most of his time in the bullpen chomping at the bit to get on the mound. As his college career drew to a close there were no promising professional contracts on the horizon.
“As my senior year came to a close I felt defeated by the system, not the game, just bummed about how things were turning up. I knew I wasn’t going to get picked up and that it wasn’t going to be easy to make an independent team. Plus I really didn’t want to start my life up quite yet. So I was really interested in figuring a way to continue to play,” reflected Louis.
As my senior year came to a close I felt defeated by the system
Louis then decided to turn his focus to overseas baseball after a friend tipped him off on the opportunities that exist. The thought of continuing to play baseball and the adventure of travelling the world was very appealing to Louis. When asked about what intrigued him Louis replied “Leaving home and doing something totally abnormal and learning new languages and ways to communicate.”
After signing up with the International Baseball Community website, his first overseas opportunity came about in the form of the ACT Bandits of the Capital Territory State League based in Canberra, Australia.
With the Bandits Louis was set up with a host family and a job as a bartender at a local sports club.
“Everything was great. My host family is now my second family, I really miss them and can’t wait to see them again. I really enjoyed the working experience and friends I made while working,” described Louis of his new found life Down Under. “In Canberra I really enjoyed the people and the open space.”
While playing with the Bandits, Louis got noticed by the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League (ABL) and was called up to pitch some games for them. In fact, he ended up starting four games for the Cavalry including a complete game win. Louis finished out the ABL season with 25 innings work while striking out 22 and posting an ERA of 3.60.
As a member of the Bandits, Louis set a league record for strikeouts with 195 over 153 innings pitched en route to a 17-1 record and an era of 1.64. Louis’ performance on the mound earned him league MVP and was a large factor behind the Bandits repeating as state champions.
Louis describes playing with the Bandits as a “family and fun environment” which he really enjoyed and his experience with the Cavalry as his opportunity to challenge himself and play a higher level of professional baseball.
As his Australian season came to a close Louis jumped on an opportunity to pitch in the German Bundesliga for the 2016 summer with the Stealers in the beautiful city of Hamburg.
In Germany Louis has a room at an import house which he claims helps him to “learn to be more independent.” With the Stealers, baseball is his only job therefore Louis can focus on his game on a daily basis and for the first time in his baseball career feel and act like a professional player.
Here is what his weekly schedule looks like in Germany, depending on whether they play Saturday or Sunday:
Monday- recover, relax, travel, enjoy life;
Tuesday- set up for the week, food, training, practice;
Wednesday- Practice and help the team prepare;
Thursday- gear up for the weekend, get work done in practice and body set up;
Friday- stretch and keep it loose for the weekend;
Saturday- get food for sunday- monday, games or still keeping loose;
Sunday- Games or recover and enjoy life
During his free time Louis is taking full advantage of his location by enjoying the city of Hamburg and exploring German history.
When asked what he enjoys the most about baseball overseas Louis replied, “Politics and speed of the game. Its much more relaxed and freed up.” Whatever it is about overseas baseball it seems to work well for Louis. As of the publishing of this article Louis is putting up similar numbers in Germany as he did in Australia with an ERA of 0.87 while striking out 65 over 52 innings work.
“I’m going where I can, just going with the flow and enjoying being in the moment. Back to Australia then I’d like to play for team Israel in the WBC and maybe after that go and play in Japan or if possible get my foot back into the door for a club in the States,” said Louis on his future baseball career plans.
I’m going where I can, just going with the flow and enjoying being in the moment.
In parting with this interview, I asked Louis to share some advice for other aspiring professional players thinking of taking their career overseas.
“Go and do it, have fun. It might be a risk, but it is definitely worth taking. Keep an open mind, the more flexible the better. Understand this isn’t like baseball in the States, you’re nature and learning will drive you more than what you might think at the moment.”