The February International Star of the Month is Left-Handed Pitcher and Outfielder Max MacNabb who has been pitching on the weekends for the Adelaide Bite in the Australia Baseball League since November as well as playing both pitcher and outfield for the East Torrens Red Sox in the South Australia State League competition. This dual threat earned the prestigious distinction of being a “Feature Star” after tossing 7 shutout innings, striking out 6, allowing no walks and scattering 5 hits in Game 1 of the ABL semi-final playoff game on February 3rd against eventual ABL Champ Brisbane Bandits. His final start of the ABL season capped off an incredible run to start the 2017 year by striking out 16 batters in 19.1 innings pitched across 3 games, while only allowing 1 walk in the highest competition of Australia baseball. The 24 year old Southern California native was a 2-way player in Europe this past season (2016) for Senart Templiers of the French top league and played for 2 different International Stars teams – first helping the Stars win the 2016 Prague Baseball Week championship against the Czech National Team in June and then playing for the Stars in the Yoshida Challenge in France in September. As Max continues to dominate Adelaide for both the Bite and East Torrens (clearly he likes to do things 2 at a time), he is still considering multiple offers to play in Europe again for the 2017 season. See below to read our interview with Max about his incredible journey through International Baseball….
IS: Congratulations on being named International Star of the Month… You’ve had quite a busy month of baseball in Australia, can you tell us a bit about your experience playing in the ABL for the Adelaide Bite and also playing for East Torrens in the South Australia Baseball League?
Max: The last month and really the last few months back here in Australia have been pretty busy and i have had a great time. Playing with East Torrens has been good, it’s an awesome club that has really brought me in and taken great care of me this season. The SABL is a great league that has a huge community of people that are really dedicated to both the State league as well as the ABL team. My time with the Adelaide Bite in the ABL was phenomenal. I got an opportunity to pitch for the team and ended up spending a majority of the season with them. Getting the opportunity to travel around Australia and get to experience playing at the highest level in the country has been a highlight of my time playing baseball internationally.
IS: Where else have you played overseas?
Max: Prior to playing this season in South Australia. I also spent a season in the New South Wales State League with the MacArthur Orioles. as well as a European season in the French League at the Senart Templiers.
IS: After playing collegiately at D1 University of San Diego and then a year of pro ball with the San Diego Padres organization – what brought you out overseas in the first place, how did that happen?
Max: I came overseas after I was released, and decided that I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to be able to travel the world and play baseball. It has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made and I will be going on my 4 straight season when I go to Europe in April .
IS: What has helped you have success in Australia (and abroad, in general)?
Max: I think my success has been helped a lot by being able to just relax and have a good time playing.
IS: What can you compare the level of baseball both in Australia and Europe to something back home in the States?
Max: I would say the level of competition really varies. It’s hard to put a label on it because the talent in each league is all across the board. There are players in any league that could have been great college players and played professionally back in the US. And on the same team you will have players that may not have competed at a good high school level.
IS: What have been your favorite spots to visit?
Max: My favorite places to visit have been Prague and Koln, Germany. As well as living in Paris and the South Coast of NSW, I have been able to go a lot of places and am looking forward to seeing even more over the next year.
IS: A favorite question we like to ask guys is what kind of music are you listening to or have you discovered while living abroad?
Max: I have been into a lot of new music lately, which always happens when in Australia the music scene is awesome here and they are huge on highlighting new stuff. So recently I have been listening to Skegss a lot, “spring had sprung” is my tune at the moment. Also the Kid Cudi stuff is great, love hearing him again bringing me back to high school when Man on the Moon was on repeat. New Empire of the Sun, and The Bamboos, as well as Childish Gambino – all stuff I have been grooven recently.
IS: What has been your favorite experience in your overseas baseball adventures thus far?
Max: Highlight of the international career had got to be this past season with the [Adelaide] Bite. Got to play with a phenomenal group of lads and had a bunch of fun traveling Australia. Off the field it was great and the support or the whole baseball community down here in SA [South Australia] is the best I have seen. Everyone knows everyone and when it comes to the Bite people really get behind it.
IS: What can you tell us about your experience with the International Stars?
The International Stars is one of the best things about playing in Europe. Being able to play with great dudes from all over the world and really create a brotherhood of guys that you will play against all over is awesome and just adds to the experience. Also playing in Prague Baseball Week is arguably the best week in all of baseball. As well as Prague I got to play on the Yoshida Challenge in Paris, against the national teams of France, the Netherlands, and Germany as they prepared for the WBC. I am looking forward to continue representing the International Stars in the future.