Thursday, April 15, 2010

The boys are back in town

One of the first foreign players to play major league baseball was Joe Quinn, who was born in Australia. After Joe, it was over 80 years before another Australian, Craig Shipley, would play in the majors. Since then, there has been an explosion of sorts in baseball talent from Oz. 24 players from Australia have played in the big leagues, with 5 of them still active. Good baseball talent is in abundance in Australia, but unfortunately, there is no professional league for them to play in. That, however, is about to change.

Baseball is coming back to Australia. After a 9-year absence, a new league will be starting up, and they're going to have some help:
More than a decade after the demise of the Australian Baseball League, a topflight national competition will return - with a financial boost from Major League Baseball.

The new six-team Australian Baseball League will begin play in November, bankrolled by MLB in the U.S. and the Australian Baseball Federation.
Which will be much better than having one person do it:
The old ABL folded in 1999 amid mounting debts and was purchased by former Milwaukee Brewers catcher David Nilsson, an Australian. The competition created in the wake of the ABL, the International Baseball League of Australia, folded in 2002.
To be honest, it's not entirely the best way to run a league, but they have to do what they can:
Foster said all the teams will be essentially owned by the league, with separate operating staff that will report directly to the ABL. The teams, however, will be responsible for acquiring sponsorships and run local promotions in their cities.
For those of aware of history, this is what the Trujillo brothers tried to do in Mexico after the war, and it failed miserably. I think they will be okay here, as it's not owned as a profit-making entity, but as a true baseball league:
There are three main minor league levels under the majors, Triple A, Double A and Single A. But often major league players looking for extra conditioning during the offseason play in the winter leagues, and Foster hopes to see some established stars head to Australia from time to time
.As of right now, it doesn't matter who owns the league or how it's structured, as long as there is a league. Baseball is popular in Australia, and would have been even more so if the Aussies hadn't got screwed in the last World Baseball Classic. It's  nice to see Bud actually investing some money here, but it's only because Australian players have been in the league for 25 years.

Anyhow, baseball, shrimp, Fosters, and Shiela's. What a way to spend an evening.

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