Back during my wildly unsuccessful college career, there were a few guys on the team who seemed to know me the best. One of them was Brandon Brinson, a righthanded pitcher our coaches converted into a sidearmer. 

Well, now he’s over in the Czech Republic, living a dream, going 8-1 with the Tempo Titans, striking out 61 guys and holding down a 1.59 ERA. 

I’m proud of the dude. He’s getting a paycheck to play the game, something I still and probably always will dream about. 

His hometown newspaper just did a writeup about him, featured on the Barton College website. An excerpt:

Brinson said his team included one other American and that there were “one or two” players from America, Canada or Australia on every team in the league. Brinson was asked if there was an obvious bias against Americans by the umpires with how balls and strikes are called.

“As far as umpires go, they are pretty good for the most part,” he wrote. “Normally if an umpire is squeezing me, he’s squeezing the other pitcher as well. The one thing I have noticed is players over here respect American ballplayers in the sense they want to get better, and anything they can learn from you will help them.”

The players aren’t the only ones that have sought to learn from their American counterparts, either, he added.

“I have had umpires come up to me after the game and ask, ‘How was the strike zone and was it OK?'” he said.

Brinson said his most memorable game to date was a 2-0 loss to the No. 2 team in the Czech Republic.

“I started and gave up a two-run homer in the first (inning) and then both teams battled the rest of the game. We ended up out hitting them (seven to five), but couldn’t put a run across the plate,” he said. “But that was by far the best defensive game I’ve seen from both teams.”

Brinson had an even more memorable experience off the field. His girlfriend, Nicole Schnell of Wilmington, spent a week with him. The pair did some sightseeing, including tours of European castles and cathedrals.

And then he popped the question.

“We actually got engaged over here,” he wrote. “So it has been a pretty exciting summer.”

For the full story, click here.

P.S. The book drops Tuesday, people! That’s four days! We’ll have them in hand on Monday! Exclamation points! If you haven’t yet, check out the website and secure your copy now –