ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The National Baseball Team of Finland was recently in Rochester for a special collaboration.

The game of baseball is still fairly new over in Finland, so the Finnish team was visiting the Rochester Red Wings for a learning experience.

While it continues to develop, Finnish Baseball-Softball Confederation President Jukka Ropponen wanted an experience where he could learn from the professionals. He thought, why not reach out to the Rochester Red Wings?

“Rochester is really a second home for us,” Ropponen said.

Ropponen, is quite familiar with Rochester. While he grew up in Finland, he spent several years in Rochester working for Kodak. It was here in Rochester where he met Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason.

“Juk and I played men’s league hockey here in Rochester a long time ago, he was our goalie,” Mason said.

During the pandemic, Jukka wanted to reconnect after all these years. This time, he wanted to reunite through the game of baseball.

“He reached out and was interested in doing some collaboration with The Wings,” Mason said.

“What are the things we can take from here to enhance our training?” said Ropponen. “For our national team, and the rest of Finnish baseball, which is in a good growth spurt right now.”

That’s exactly what the two teams did: A week-long collaboration where both could learn from each other.

“Here in Rochester, we probably have more people that play the game of baseball than they have in the country of Finland right now,” said Mason. “They’re really in the infancy stages of the development of the game over there.”

The teams discussed the marketing side of things and techniques on the field. Mason and Ropponen said both teams had opportunities to learn from one another.

“Finland is advanced with software development more than the social media, so there are also things we can bring to them, and help each other that way,” said Ropponen.

“The international exchange is not something that happens every day,” said Mason. “Out of 120 minor league teams we were the ones, Jukka reached out to us, that makes us feel very fortunate.”