A youth baseball team all the way from Sweden made their way to central Illinois to play at the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex.
The Karlskoga Bats brought roughly 45 players on this trip which has been a work in the making for two years, and the trip is finally here.
“Baseball in Sweden is such a small sport. “We literally brought 7 or 8 percent of the entire baseball population here to Peoria. There’s about 1,000 active players in Sweden, compared to the U.S. where you have 15 million players. Obviously, we have a long journey to catch up, but the passion for baseball is the same. It’s 100 percent for the love of the game.”Daniel Lindkvist | Trip Organizer; Karlskoga Bats
The players and coaches wanted to come to America to experience some of the best baseball on the planet.
“It’s to show our kids what baseball is really about. To show this amazing facility, to meet ball players who share the same interests and passions as our kids. It’s really about showing them world-class baseball,” Lindkvist said.
And while it’s not common for the MLB to draft European players, the coaches hope this trip will give their athletes a taste of the best baseball on the planet.
“It’s been a dream of theirs for several years now and we worked hard to make this happen. And now the day has finally come to make it true and they’re loving every minute of it. Of course they have their dreams, it’s a long way, but having some Europeans like Max Kepler coming into the Twins, that makes it possible,” Lindkvist said.
The Bats will actually get to experience a Major League Baseball game on Tuesday as they travel to St. Louis for a Cardinals game.