19 October 2015
The Australian Baseball League will burst into its sixth season – for each of the six foundation teams - with a four-game Opening Round starting on Friday 23 October.
Notwithstanding the largely unanticipated changes at management level over the past ten days, the league appears well-placed to build on the considerable advances taken since it was resurrected for the 2010/11 Australian summer.
Enjoying enhanced credibility among United States and Asian baseball interests, the league has again attracted high-quality coaching staff while providing an ideal opportunity for player development – both of local and international baseballers.
Club grounds and facilities have been steadily improved over the past several years, free online streaming of all games will be available and the general quality of match reporting and coverage continues on an upward plane along with the standard of play – and of players – that has impressed plenty, both here and overseas.
While attendances have not increased as significantly as might have been hoped – especially in the vital Sydney and Melbourne markets – Australian Baseball League games offer a quality ballpark experience that is becoming increasingly exposed and attractive to our discerning sporting market.
Although discussion continues over possible expansion of team numbers, it will again be the founding six clubs that will slug it out over an expanded 56-game ABL season that will culminate in the Claxton Shield Championship Series to be held in early February 2016.
It should be a great summer of elite baseball, played on a stage built for heroes. And for heroics.
Australian Baseball Alumni urges its members and followers to take out a club membership or even simply to express their support for the national competition by attending games whenever possible.
Although in-depth, timely coverage of the Australian Baseball League season will be provided by communications staff at the various clubs, Australian Baseball Alumni will again be aiming to complement that by regular reporting of our own – including previews and post-event summations. We will be seeking to build upon the outstanding service that Stuart Capel kindly provided us during the 2014/15 ABL season.
We are pleased to announce that qualified journalist, sports fanatic and current producer of the SEN Major League podcast Xavier Player has agreed to help us out with weekly series previews and the occasional baseball feature as time and circumstances permit.
We welcome Xavier on board.
We anticipate series previews to be posted on our website and linked via Facebook by late Wednesday or Thursday morning prior to each series, starting from later this week.
Australian Baseball League primed for explosive opening
While team prospects may become somewhat clearer with release of full rosters over the next few days, we can be assured that each of the six clubs will be striving flat-out for Claxton Shield glory – in three instances under new playing management.
Taking the reins at Adelaide Bite from Brooke Knight, Steve Mintz will be seeking to take his club one step further after dropping last year’s Championship Series to Perth Heat – which will be gunning for its fifth title in six years of the revamped league under highly credentialed new manager Kevin Boles.
Guided by returning manager, former Major Leaguer and Australian baseball Hall-of-Famer David Nilsson, Brisbane Bandits will suit up a team blessed with local talent and serious prospects from the Rays organisation, while Michael Collins is back in charge of Canberra Cavalry, which nailed the ABL Championship in its stunning 2012/13 season.
Stung by a couple of disappointing years, Melbourne Aces have secured the Head Coach services of Minnesota stalwart Joe Vavra, who will be joined at Altona by emerging local players and a group of exciting professionals including two of Vavra’s sons.
A perennial finalist, Sydney Blue Sox faces a first-up road trip south of the border under the tutelage of returning Head Coach Jason Pospishil, who will enjoy magnificent management back-up in the shape of former Major League pitcher Jim Colborn as the Sox club fields an impressive squad of players proven at this level.
It is shaping as another fascinating season for the Australian Baseball League.
Check back soon for our in-depth appraisal of your team’s prospects for the new season.