Chris Mezger always stands out. It's hard not to when you are 6-foot-10. But he is standing out in the top French baseball division, playing for the perennial favorite Rouen Huskies, because of his pitching.
Mezger, who graduated with a degree in linguistics, has been dominating the French competition and taking the opportunity to enjoy his first time in Europe.
Per the New York Times:
The Huskies’ best pitcher is Chris Mezger, a 23-year-old from Colorado who played for four years as a walk-on at Southern California. After he was passed over in the major league draft, he looked around for a chance to pitch somewhere and heard that a league in France might have a spot for him.
He had never been to Europe, but having studied French, he wanted to learn to speak it. A few teammates speak only French, and he has conversed with them whenever he can. "It keeps me honest," he said.
This season, his first in the league, Mezger was 11-0 in the regular season with an earned run average around 0.50. "That’s one of the best parts of coming," he said with a broad smile.
The big right hander does say in the article that USC could beat the French professional team. The quality of competition, therefore, can't be that great, considering the Trojans did not have a winning season during Mezger's tenure. USC finished 25-31 Mezger's senior year. He compiled a 5.20 ERA in 48 career appearances, including four starts.
Nevertheless, it's great to see Mezger taking advantage of a door that baseball has opened for him. It's always good to see players get an opportunity to experience the world thanks to their athletic ability, but it's not often you hear of a baseball player getting that opportunity.
Mezger said later in the article that he thinks his long-term future is in academia. But for now, he's just enjoying the chance to still be playing baseball.