A team of baseball internationals is coming to Cody this week.
The World Baseball Showcase Colts will be playing the Cody Legion A and B teams Tuesday through Thursday.
“I’m super excited,” Cubs player Ethan Johnston said of facing the squad. “We don’t know what to expect, but we hope to see some good kids. It should be fun.”
There are five Americans on the squad who live abroad, including the Philippines, United Arab Emirates and Tunisia, but all sharing the common love of baseball.
Typically, the Colts are entirely made up of international players, but due to travel bans stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, team regulars could not enter the states this year. Coach Steve Fish has filled up the rest of his roster with players from the Portland, Ore., area where there is almost no baseball this summer. The team has been traveling the country playing as many games as possible.
“It’s been a ton of fun and the kids have been really receptive,” Fish said. “We’ve had our ups and downs but at the same time kids are grinding, they just want to play baseball. They haven’t done anything since last summer.”
Fish, also a Boston Red Sox scout, has spent 13 years coaching baseball teams in Australia, including managing the U-18 national team for the past six.
“Every summer I bring kids from Australia to the U.S.,” he said. “About 70% Australian kids, 30% from Dubai, Qatar, Manila, Southeast Asia.”
He said there is great baseball talent in Australia but not as much depth as teams in the United States. His U-18 team nearly beat the U.S. recently.
“There’s probably just as many baseball players in Wyoming as Australia,” he said with a chuckle.
Fish said he usually has a few players sign to play professionally or to play in college each year. He also coached Liam Hendriks, the closer for the Oakland Athletics.
Fish was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels himself and played seven years of ball in the minor leagues.
His Cody connection comes from being a college teammate with Andy Schroeder of Cody at the University of Nebraska. He has been to Cody once before.
“I’m just excited to get to Cody,” Fish said. “I just remember going to one of the best country western bars I’ve been to in my life there.”
The Colts play against the Cubs B at 5 p.m. Tuesday, and then A team for the remainder of their visit at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, and 5:30 p.m. Thursday.