Two decades: that’s how long Adrian Kaufmann has been playing baseball. And also the length of time that he has been playing for the Therwil Flyers. But not just him. “We are all long-standing players. While there are frequent departures and changes to other teams, we are a committed team,” he says. And a successful one at that. The 15 players have won the Swiss championship ten times, making them the record champions. “Personally, however, I view the greatest success as qualifying for the European Cup, which we managed to do in 2015. We beat more superior competitors like the Czech Republic,” remembers the National League A player.
Pitching, catching and batting. Kaufmann is a so-called utility player, who is used in several positions. “Variety is important to me, and baseball offers me that,” says Kaufmann. He particularly likes playing defensively, in the outfield, where he catches long, high fly balls hit by the batters. “I am able to use my speed in the outfield. But for me, the best playing position is the one that serves the team as a whole.”
The attacking nature of batting also has its charms though, as Kaufmann explains: “The pitcher tries to throw the ball to his catcher from a distance of 18 metres in such a way that the batter can’t hit it. That’s at a pitching speed of up to 130 km/h. It’s all played out in milliseconds.” Then there are the different pitching techniques. Kaufmann continues: “The pitcher can influence the speed, rotation and direction by using different techniques while throwing the ball. This makes it more difficult for the batter to assess the pitch and hit the ball.”
A solid pitching technique and speed are no disadvantage in this sport. But the key requirement for baseball players is something different altogether: “Not all players have to be able to do everything. However, every player must have good hand-eye coordination.” He advises young candidates “simply to drop by to try out the baseball experience”. That’s how he got started. As a small boy he played baseball on a trip to the USA. He obviously liked it.
He has been a passionate player ever since and does not regret having swapped a football for a bat and glove. “I enjoy the variety and the combination of team and individual sport,” comments Kaufmann enthusiastically. He would find it frustrating not to be on the playing field due to injury. Yet this passionate player is not ruling out becoming a coach one day.