As baseball stories go – and they are legion in the annals of American literature, from Ring Lardner's hilarious story “Alibi Ike” to Roger Kahn's nostalgic memoir The Boys of Summer to Bernard Malamud's mythic novel The Natural - this one might be hard to match.

The tale begins in Slovakia, travels west to Ireland for a brief time, then comes to rest in Alberta, Canada, culminating in a seventh-round selection, 216th pick overall, in the 2019 MLB amateur draft.

My own part in this baseball yarn is small and inconsequential.

But I'll relate it anyway.

Among my various tasks as a stay-at-home dad in Dublin in the early 2000s, I made sure to school my Irish American son in the subtle arts of baseball. I undertook this essential skill-building as soon as he was able to fit a fielder's mitt onto his miniature left hand. (For the record: feeding, clothing, and counseling the boy – often on matters more important than sports, it must be said – was also in my job description.)

To supplement his baseball education, I was directed to the Greystones Mariners club in Co Wicklow, Ireland's oldest proponent of America's national pastime.

After a few training sessions on the village green in Greystones, I came on board as coach and mentor to an interesting mix of boys and girls: Irish kids returning from life in the US with a taste for baseball, as well as relocated juvenile Yanks who wanted to pick up where they'd left off. We also included in our ranks youngsters who had never kicked or thrown a ball of any description. There was no talk of training academies or elite travel teams. It was all for fun.

Then, in 2012, along came 11-year-old Bratislava-born Adam Macko. Adam's devotion to the game caught his coaches in Ireland off guard. We'd never seen a kid operating at his skill level or with his determination.

As it turns out, Adam's involvement with baseball was something of a fluke. He was only introduced to the game when he signed up for his primary school team after a brief try-out during a general sports day. This surprised his family. Slovakia's main athletic pursuits are ice hockey and soccer, so competition was going to be scarce.

A short time later, the Macko family arrived in Ireland – an English-speaking, fellow EU country that suited their plans for an eventual move to Canada – and through a quick internet search, Adam found the Mariners club.

Adam's command of English at the time was just emerging, making his coaches' rudimentary instruction even less enlightening, but our unlikely phenom's interest in baseball only intensified as he studied online videos of fellow pitchers David Price and Justin Verlander. (Our main goal as coaches was to get Adam to keep his fastball under control, out of concern for the safety of opposing batters.)

After a year or so in Ireland, which included two seasons with the Mariners Little League team, Adam and his family emigrated again, this time to Alberta, another ice hockey stronghold but also a place with a strong baseball development system.

Adam soon drew the attention of coaches there, and he was approached to enroll at the Vauxhall Baseball Academy, an elite preparatory school that boasts on its website of a 100 percent graduation rate as well as 18 MLB draft picks.

To no one's surprise, Adam excelled at Vauxhall and then got the opportunity to take his talent and intelligence to Purdue University in Indiana.

But Major League Baseball came calling. Adam and his family decided to defer college after he was selected by the Seattle Mariners (a nice touch there) in the 2019 amateur draft, making him the first Irish youth player that I know of to scoop such an honor.

I'd like to think I'm partly responsible – along with my coaching colleagues – but that's like saying a fellow who once shouted some casual encouragement to Irish Olympic boxer Kellie Harrington somehow contributed to her gold medal at the 2020 Summer Games.

It's a stretch.

But I'll take it.

*Boston native Steve Coronella has lived in Ireland since 1992. He is the author of "Designing Dev," a comic novel about an Irish American lad from Boston who runs for the Irish presidency. Coronella's latest book is "Looking Homeward - Essays & Humor from a Misplaced American."

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