The Outlaws are coming.....
20 June 2015
During an era when it has become far more challenging for grassroots sporting entities to stay viable, the creation of any new baseball club – especially in regional Australia – offers cause for celebration.
Australian Baseball Alumni is delighted to learn of the pending arrival of Armidale Outlaws on the scene in northern New South Wales, where organisers hope to have a team entered in A Grade of the Tamworth Baseball Association for the 2016 winter season.
The project is the brainchild of former Victorian Mick Alldis, a baseball lifer who achieved at high levels in the sport and who has already garnered great support among the Armidale community.
Part of an outstanding baseball family and a Life Member with East Belmont Saints in the harbour city of Geelong, Mick Alldis was among the highest echelon of Victorian baseball players over many years – winter and summer - aside from being a great clubman and a fierce competitor who in more recent years discovered the joy of Masters.
“Baseball has a way of getting under your skin,” a clearly enthused Mick Alldis (below) told Australian Baseball Alumni this week.
“When I moved to Armidale in country NSW at the beginning of 2014 I thought I would be hanging up the cleats after playing for over thirty years in Geelong and Melbourne. But a few weeks into watching MLB games on my computer gave me the itch to get out there again.”
“A few Google searches later and I soon found myself driving a two and a half hour round trip and playing with the Warriors in the Tamworth Winter League,” he said. “It was great to be able to run around and be the ‘new kid’ on the block for once!”
“Like many regional or more remote leagues around, though, team numbers have slowly eroded away over the years and we seemed to be playing the same team every few weeks,” Mick Alldis said.
“This winter’s competition has seen the introduction of a new A Grade team from Gunnedah - which got me thinking that we really should have a local Armidale team enter the fray as well.”
What started as a casually-conceived idea quickly gained some currency as Mick entertained the proposition with friends and associates in the Armidale and New England area.
“We had a few chats over a beer, mostly about the really important things – like team names, logos and colours,” he said. “The idea was to test the waters and see if the locals would be interested in fielding a regular baseball team.”
“In a town of some 23,000 people - where rugby and hockey are the big winter sports - we have set our sights on targeting the local cricketers and giving them the opportunity to work on their skill set in the off season. The skills for both cricket and baseball are easily transferable and it will be of enormous benefit for the local young cricketers to learn to thrown properly, to develop some arm strength and work on their hand/eye coordination.”
“Hitting a round ball with a round bat might challenge them for a while - as will the more detailed rules - but that’s part of the assignment that I am really looking forward to.”
“I work at the University,” he said, “so maybe we’ll need a Baseball 101 unit to help us through the first season!”
A Facebook page soon stirred up further attention, with already over fifty “likes” and some expressions of interest in playing and administration. Even an American umpire has popped up on the radar.
The early signs are all positive, suggesting that this project will be a goer.
“We look like becoming the Armidale Outlaws Baseball Club,” Alldis said. “The history is there with Captain Thunderbolt – the gentleman bushranger - being a local identity in the 1880s. But despite the club name, there will be nothing very romantic about our humble beginnings. We will be starting our club with basically the gear that I have in my possession – two Baum bats, a handful of baseballs and not much else!”
While Mick Alldis and his gang of prospective baseball outlaws have received great in-principle support from the Armidale Sports Council and the Armidale Sportspower team, there is clearly a long way to go in bringing the new club to fruition.
As part of the process, a public meeting has been called to discuss the viability and the operations of the new club. The meeting will be held on Wednesday 15 July, starting at 7.30 PM in the Dining Hall of Mary White College, University of New England.
“I would urge everyone with an interest in the new club to attend the meeting,” Mick Alldis said. “Whether as a potential player, as an organiser, as a sponsor – or if you simply want to find out what baseball and the Outlaws are all about.”
“If anyone in the local baseball fraternity or elsewhere has any gear that they are upgrading or has anything – material or ideas-wise – that you think might be useful in helping us get a team on the diamond in April 2016, we’d love to hear from you!”
Mick Alldis (0477 397565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Australian Baseball Alumni group was delighted to hear from Mick Alldis regarding this exciting project for baseball growth in the New England Region. We wish organisers of the new club all the very best and we urge any interested parties sharing our enthusiasm to support the Outlaws in any positive manner that they may be able.
The Outlaws are coming..........