ABL springs to life for 2017/18
11 August 2017
After some false starts, a lot of rumour, innuendo and one particularly early tweet (looking at you, Blue Sox social media), we finally have a schedule of games for season 2017-18 of the Australian Baseball league.
Folks with a keen eye will have noticed that there’s not a massive difference from this year’s regular season to the last, but a return to a four-team playoffs format and a home and away Championship series will add a bit of interest at the business end in February 2018.
Here’s a few quick thoughts from a first glance at the 2017/18 schedule:
The competition format remains the same; Clubs play 10 rounds for 40 games, with five four-game home series and five away.
Round Three is the ABLCS rematch when Brisbane visit the Aces in Melbourne. The Aces went 7-3 against the Bandits last year… But two of those losses came being swept in the ABLCS. There’s sure to be a bit of extra spice to this one.
Again there are ‘double header’ home and away series before and after the All Star break. This period was fatal for the Blue Sox last year, who went from being 9-7 to 10-14 and all but done once the Aces were finished with them. Even though there’s an extra playoff spot this season, eight straight games against a hot team could leave some clubs a long way back.
There’s six Australian teams. There was talk the ABL may have an expansion team (or two) from Asia, but it would appear any plans remain on the whiteboard at HQ for now. Hopefully there will be more information and progress on this front as the season plays out.
The post-season format is pretty straightforward. Teams finishing 1 and 2 will host a three game semi-final series, with the winners through to the ABLCS. The highest ranked winner gets to pick the travel arrangements for the Championship Series, with the choice of hosting game one or game two and three.
At the time of writing, there’s 101 days until the first pitch of ABL season 2017/18 and that will be a flurry of roster announcements (hopefully featuring the best up and coming young Australian talent), membership spruiking, administrative wrangling and most importantly, hope and expectation from ABL fans.
Australian Baseball Alumni will have a more detailed ABL preview closer to opening day and like previous seasons will be publishing weekly previews, summaries and occasional interviews and feature pieces throughout.
ABOUT: AJ Mithen is a writer who loves all sport, except golf. He’s co-host of the podcast ‘A Sporting Discussion’ (www.facebook.com/asportingdiscussion) and is always keen to chat to anyone and spread the good word about Aussie baseball. Tell him what he’s got wrong on twitter using @AJMithen or stalk him on Facebook if you have an idea you think would make a good story.