February 24, 2024

Dominick Scheffler becomes a professional baseball player in the USA: 'I'm on cloud nine'

The Cincinnati Reds introduce their new signing.picture: Instagram/zfg

Dominik Scheffler has signed with the MLB Cincinnati Reds. In the summer, the 17-year-old moves from Zurich to the USA to play baseball at the professional level.

01/27/2023, 06:26January 28, 2023, at 11:23

Ralph Mele
Ralph Mele

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In Switzerland, baseball is a wallflower, even among fringe sports. It's very different in the United States, where sports are an integral part of everyday life. The heart of the sport beats in the United States; Playing in the major leagues is every baseball player's dream.

Dominik Scheffler is much closer to achieving this dream than most. The 17-year-old is from Zurich-Oerlikon From the Cincinnati Reds Get a professional contract. “It feels incredible,” Schaeffler says happily in an interview with Watson. “I never thought I would achieve this, let alone at such a young age. I'm still on cloud nine now.”

Scheffler, a pitcher, came to baseball by chance. The father worked in Australia for a year, and the family accompanied him, and young Dominic discovered the sport when others were playing it. “I joined and had fun and it became a bit more serious.”

A year abroad in Japan

When he returned to Switzerland, his grandfather helped him look for a team. Scheffler found With Zurich Barracuda Sports home, where he initially played in the junior team, Rümlang Kobras. At the age of 14, he was already playing for the Barracuda in the National League B and has been with the under-15s ever since. Member of the Swiss national team.

Dominik Scheffler Cincinnati Reds Zurich Barracuda

The next step in his young career was extraordinary. Scheffler spent a year abroad in Japan, where baseball is very popular. “Of course school was very important to me,” Scheffler asserts, although perhaps not as important as it was to his mother.

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“The main focus for me there was baseball, even if I didn’t always talk about it that way,” the teen says with a laugh. He was at the training ground twice a day in Chiba, a large city outside Tokyo.

Dominik Scheffler Cincinnati Reds

Scheffler has also been reported in Japan.picture: sbsf/zvg

Boarding baseball school in Bavaria

From the land of the rising sun we went to the land of beer, white sausages and pastries: Bavaria. In Regensburg, Dominik Schaeffler visits a sports boarding school located on the baseball campus of the local Bundesliga club and, according to him, attended by about 80 percent of baseball players. He's graduating from high school there He plays in the second team of the Regensburg Legionnaires In the second German league.

Perhaps among the 50 or so spectators who watch games in this league is a scout. But the fact that Schaeffler made it to the top teams' rosters is primarily due to the Internet. In the academy, scouting databases are fed, values ​​are entered, and video clips are uploaded. Then, people hope – or, in rare cases, interested parties bite right away, as was the case with Schaeffler. “My first video went viral instantly,” he says.

He immediately got the chance to get a scholarship from several colleges. Better yet: It's also piqued the interest of professional teams. They sent scouts to see Schaeffler in the flesh, and they seemed to like what they saw. The Cincinnati Reds hit and signed the Zurich native.

Advantage of being left handed

Schaeffler is 1.93 meters tall Experts are particularly impressed With his fastball. He himself highlights his work ethic as a great strength, “And also because I come from a country where baseball doesn't play any role and I had to fight for everything. Of course I was also lucky with my physical fitness and athleticism, which is what sets me apart as well.

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The Swiss also benefits from the fact that he is left-handed. It is especially popular because it can cause problems for opposing batsmen once they are different.

“If the ball suddenly comes from a completely different angle, it makes a big difference for the hitter,” Scheffler explains. “He only has a millisecond to evaluate the throw. A left-hander has a huge advantage.

Goal: In the MLB in four years

At the end of June, Dominik Schaeffler will travel to the United States, where he will work in the state of Arizona. In the junior league He will play. Only those who are good make it to the farm team, and only those who impress there are accepted into the Reds' major league team, which wins their fifth and final World Series in the fall of 1990.

MLB, Baseball Men, USA Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds, April 15, 2017 Cincinnati, Ohio, USA General view of Great American Ball Park during a game with the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds...

The Cincinnati Reds play in front of about 43,000 fans at Great American Ball Park.Image: www.imago-images.de

Scheffler realizes that there are still many hurdles ahead of him after signing a professional contract before he can actually play in the MLB. “You've come a long way now. But it's like everywhere in life: the last steps to the top are the hardest.”

A Burney resident who immigrated in the 19th century is called To this day, Otto Hess is the only one Swiss-born players in Major League Baseball. One day, Dominik Schaeffler could follow in his footsteps. “Of course it is difficult to evaluate this. But I am ambitious and I believe my goal can be achieved in about four years.

This American baseball player shows what true sportsmanship is

Video: Watson

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