Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Well, the Major League season is wrapping up with both League Championship Series under full swing, followed by the World Series. I wish I could write about it, but we all know that famous express written consent disclaimer:

Anyway…back here in Australia, the local league is about to start up again. You might be wondering – you’re Australian, why do you like baseball? Back in primary school, I played boys’ softball – so I’ve always been familiar with the game. At the time, however, I wasn’t really in to sports. I was your stereotypical nerd. I only wanted to play softball in primary school to say that I’ve was on a representative sports team for my primary school, especially being elected house captain.

It wasn’t until later in life that I had grown an appreciation for sport. My re-introduction to baseball was during a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates vs Atlanta Braves. Again, I can’t disseminate accounts of the game without express written consent, so I’ll leave the video below of what happened.

I joined in at the 8th inning, but after watching the conclusion, I was dumbfounded but yet fascinated. I took time to relearn the game. Fuelled by this new fascination, I decided to attend a local baseball game from the Australian Baseball League, which at the time only started the year before. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it solidified my love of the game. The smell of the grass, the crack of the bat, the pace of the game. It sounds cliche, but it’s true!

RNA Showgrounds 2011
The former home of the Brisbane Bandits, the RNA Showgrounds.

At this point, I didn’t have a Major League team to follow. The St. Louis Cardinals were an option because I was given a personalised Cardinals cap with my name with it when I was younger. However, I didn’t seem to connect with the team. My uncle, who at the time lived near the San Francisco Bay Area, was a passionate Giants fan.  We also got a few Giants games on local television because they could be aired at a midday time slot, rather than an early morning time slot with the East Coast teams. I watched a few games and I was impressed with what I was seeing. The team’s fanbase is passionate, and the players are something. In addition, AT&T Park is beautiful. At the time, the Giants came off a 2012 World Series win, so with no knowledge of what the future would hold, the Giants became my team.

Fast forward to this 2014 and this year, and my passion for the game is unmatched. I became a season ticket holder for the Brisbane Bandits, and I also got to meet two distinguished Aussies baseball players who are also MLB All-Stars – Dave Nilsson from the Milwaukee Brewers, and Grant Balfour from the Tampa Bay Rays/Oakland A’s. That was an honour. Nilsson is now the current manager of the Brisbane Bandits.

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With the Major Leagues, the Giants won the 2014 World Series from a NL Wild-Card spot. I’m not gonna lie – I had genuine tears of joy after Game 7!

With how the Giants made it in to the Postseason, and the World Series back and forth between SF and Kansas City, it was an emotional rollercoaster! So I guess the tears could be warranted.

It’s now the dawn of the 2015-16 Australian Baseball League season. Play ball!

The current home of the Brisbane Bandits - Holloway Field.
The current home of the Brisbane Bandits – Holloway Field.

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