A blog by John Dobkowski, pitcher for the Gauting Indians, who is participating with Poland at the European Championship Qualifier in Antwerp, Belgium.
As I say my final goodbyes to my friends and teammates in my last week in Munich, I head on my 9 hour train ride to Den Hague on Saturday. I spent the night with my former President of the Den Hague Storks Michel Spaans and his son Sean who I coached three years ago on the junior team. We caught up on what’s going on with the club and how I have been playing in Germany.
The next morning I head out to Antwerp, Belgium to meet my teammates who left Poland at 15:00 on Sat and arrived the next morning at 10:00. As I arrive I greet familiar faces and say hello to new ones. We all check in to our rooms and most of the guys took a nap because they couldn’t sleep that much on the bus. I unpack and get ready for the Technical Meeting with all the officials and coaching staffs. Marc Janssens, the head coach of Hoboken Pioneers drove us to the meeting and I go to know more about his team and the league in Belgium.
At the meeting I saw one of my buddies Ty Eriksen (Haar Disciples) who is here to help coach Austria and who I play against in the Germany Bundesliga. I also met, Kristaps Aldins who is the Head Coach of Latvia. The funny part is we played against each other in college in 2005, where he played for Vassar College and I played for John Jay College. He is now an assistant coach at Harvard University.
Soon after we had our passports inspected, then we head out to meet the rest of the team for dinner. We got to get to know each other better and share funny stories about baseball. We walk back to the hotel after dinner and I got ready to play catch with Gracjan Kraszewski in the parking as well as get to know him better. He has played in Belgium and Czech League in the past but lives in Pennsylvania now and is married.
After I played catch I went out to do a 20 minute run around the neighborhood then receive my arm massage from our trainer. I called it a night after because we play the first game of the tournament tomorrow [Monday] vs. Slovakia at 13:30 Brussels Time.