Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Kurt Heyer Interview On His 2018-19 Experience From Australia

Setting a goal to reach the majors may take some time and miles of travel.  Kurt Heyer has been doing both and still intends to see the day when he steps onto the field of a major league team.  The 28-year old right-hander has spent eight seasons pitching professionally making stops at six different St. Louis minor league affiliates, two separate trips to MLB spring training with two different organizations, three different independent league clubs, and hurled in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and now Australia during the offseason.

After all this, Heyer still has the drive to keep pushing along and take advantage of any opportunity to make that goal come true.  He signed a 2019 contract with the Milwaukee Milkmen of the American Association, making this his fourth indy ball team in the last three seasons.

I reached out to Kurt about taking some questions on his recent tour of duty in Australia.  He played with one former Springfield teammate in Mikey Reynolds, on the Adelaide squad, and pitched against former St. Louis Cardinal Pete Kozma.

This is the third edition of Kurt Heyer from....wherever.

Joshua Jones: How do you feel about the past couple seasons, having pitched in the indy ball circuit?

Kurt Heyer: 2017 is a season I wanted to put behind me. I was at the lowest part of my career. But 2018 was a huge turnaround for me in terms of throwing striking and going deep into games.

J.J.: Do you still have a goal to pitch in the Major Leagues?  Any other goals for the coming 2019 season?

K.H.: Of course I’m still shooting be a big leaguer. The thought of retiring hasn’t even entered my mind. I’m aiming to get picked up by a affiliated team. 2019 is going to be exciting as I’m heading to the American Association to play for the Milkmen.

J.J.: What went into the decision to pitch in Australia instead of returning to Venezuela or Dominican Republic?  Were there any offers from Latin America?

K.H.: I wanted to travel to a new country and play baseball in Australia. I never got contacted from Venezuela or the DR. No offers lol

J.J.:  What did you intend to work on while pitching in Australia?

K.H.: I wanted get more innings under my belt and continue working on my Changeup.

J.J.:  What was the atmosphere like while pitching in Australia?  Fans/club embrace you?

K.H.: The atmosphere was the same as back in the states. Great fans and teammates. The club was first class and made feel like a real Aussie.

J.J.:  What were the similarities/differences pitching in Australia compared to Venezuela and Dominican Republic?

K.H.: Obviously there was no language barrier haha. The competition was great. I don’t think people realize that there are still MLB prospects sent to Australia where they can hone their batting and pitching.

J.J.:  What were the living arrangements like in Australia?

K.H.: Most of the imports either lived in apartments near the beach or some in the city. I stayed in the city with the other import pitchers.

J.J.: Did you do any sight seeing or take part in any activities in Australia?

K.H.: I tried to sight see as much as I could. I went to Bells Beach in Geelong and got to see the Indian Ocean. There was never a dull moment in AUS. There were also plenty of kangaroos.

J..J.:  Did you have to make any adjustments, living wise, while on your stay in Australia?

K.H.: living in the city was pretty simple. Getting a routine down was easy as there were many places to go and eat.

J.J.:  Was there anyone there that helped you settle in?  (I see you're playing with former teammate Mikey Reynolds)

K.H.: The imports stuck together for the most part. We all experienced everything at the same pace. I hung with Mikey quite a bit. He doesn’t want to leave haha

J.J.: What's it like getting to pitch against former Cardinal Pete Kozma?

K.H.: Pitching against Kozma was a great test to see how your stuff plays against a professional. I love pitching against guys like him.

J.J.:  Are at all disappointed you couldn't reach the majors with the Cardinals or Marlins?

K.H.: I think everyone gets a little disappointed with not making it with the team you started out with. But at the end of the day there are 30 teams and you just need to one to like you.

J.J.:  Would you recommend the ABL to other players?

K.H.: I would highly recommend young players to start their careers in AUS. For guys who don’t get a shot right off the bat it’s a great experience. You can’t go wrong with Australia. I might come back depending on my situation after this upcoming season.

Past Installments:
Kurt Heyer from Dominican Republic 2015 
Kurt Heyer from Venezuela 2016

Kurt Heyer on Twitter

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