Mar 16, 2009

Eight Aussies in action today; Snelling, Moylan solid

A whopping eight Aussies appeared in spring training games today! Big effort.
It was a bit of a mixed bag though. Chris Snelling was good, hitting a three-run double and scoring a run for his new team the Padres. Also, Peter Moylan picked up a win, after not giving up any hits in one inning of work. Also appearing were Trent Oeltjen, Rich Thompson, Luke Hughes, Brad Harman, Grant Balfour and Scott Campbell. You can find links to the relevant box scores at the right of this page!

Interestingly Luke Hughes, who has usually played third base for the Twins, had a game a second base today. This could be a promising sign for him, as the Twins recently signed Joe Crede to play third, perhaps they are checking out whether Hughes can cut it at second? He is getting the job done with the bat though - he went 2-for-3 today and is batting .444 through spring training.

And yes, I have said nothing about the Aussies' loss to the Mexicans the other day. I'm hanging out for the 2013 Classic!

Mar 15, 2009

Ryan Rowland-Smith snaps M's losing streak, picks up two hits

Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched a solid 4 innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 runs, while striking out 3 and walking none, as the Mariners beat the Rockies 10-5. What's more, taking his first at bats in nearly ten years, Rowland-Smith went 2-for-2!


Check out his second hit in the video below, and for more info check out the Seattle Times blog, which includes some commentary and an interview with Ryan.

Chris Snelling signs with the Padres

After a pretty solid WBC performance, Chris Snelling has signed a minor league deal with the Padres. Its a similar move to the one the Friars made last year with Justin Huber. The Padres are looking pretty woeful this year. Apparently Snelling will be given a chance to make the MLB roster. Their outfield is crowded, but you wouldn't say it is filled with stars. Fingers crossed he can replicate some of the pop he had at the WBC and at the Phillies last year.

Mar 11, 2009

Card Tribute to Aussies in Spring Training - Part 2 - WBC Edition

So the Aussies got done by the Cubans today. Big bummer. But, they played outstandingly, it really only came down to one (perhaps lucky) hit, from a big bopper on the Cuban team.

So we meet Mexico again tomorrow....can we do it again.....OF COURSE WE CAN!!!!!

So here is the WBC tribute!

Travis Blackley
What an awesome game from Blackley today. Outstanding pitching over 5.2 innings, only giving up one run. Great job from the fiery lefty.

David Welch
The man with the next tough job, Welch will face off against Mexico tomorrow, with Australia's future in the WBC on the line. Welch has pitched well this spring and this is a fantastic opportunity for him to make a name for himself.

Michael Collins
Try doing a search for Michael Collins cards on ebay! See how much luck you have!

Justin Huber

Come on Huber, you have been there before, you have been an all star, you are on a GOLD card, you can do it!

Chris Snelling
Snelling has shown some real good swings so far in Mexico. He has had horrible luck with injuries in recent years....could 2009 be his year?

Mar 9, 2009

More on Australia's defeat of Mexico at the WBC

Weellllllllll. Had some time to let the amazing victory sink in.

The good news is that it is actually making some news:

Almost hidden under Phil Hughes' headline you can see the World Baseball Classic line at the SMH. You can also read about it at, where Andrew Graham said 'We're a force, a team that's going to bring some force. We're going to try to win every game we play.' Or, at the Baseball Radio National Forums you can read coach John Deeble's thoughts, or at the Australian, Yahoo Sports, or ESPN.

Mexico is a strong side. They have plenty of major leaguers in their midst and won their pool in the 2006 Classic. Their starting pitcher Oliver Perez signed a 3-year $36m contract with the Mets this year. And their closer, Francisco Rodriguez joined the Mets on a 3-year $37m contract. Against the Aussies - who don't have any current major leaguers - Perez and Rodriguez gave up 10 hits and 6 runs over 2.2 innings combined.

The Aussies, who are largely a bunch of fringe-MLB players and prospects, showed that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts today. There were some outstanding performances, and a cursory glance at the box score highlights these:

  • Trent Oeltjen: 4-for-5 with a walk and an RBI, and an excellent sliding catch in centerfield
  • Luke Hughes: 2-for-6 with 3 RBIs
  • Chris Snelling: 3-for-5 with 2 homers and 3 RBIs
  • Ben Risinger: 2-for-5 with 3 RBIs
  • Brett Roneberg: 3-for-4
  • Brad Harman: 3-for-5 with 4 runs
  • Andrew Graham: 4-for-6 with 3 RBIs
  • (20-year-old!!!) Liam Hendriks: 1.1 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs
  • Damien Moss: 1.2 IP 1 hit, 0 runs
  • Rich Thompson: 2 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 3 strikeouts

What a game! And we mercy-ruled them. I didn't even know you could do that once you stopped playing T-Ball!

We have Cuba up next - Wednesday Aus time, with Travis Blackley taking the mound

Aussie Baseball team beats Mexico in World Baseball Classic

What can you say!!!!

Australia 17
Mexico 7

22 hits


4 home runs


Team average of .489


Knocking off the Tournament hosts at their home ground

More on this later, but for now check out the box score!

Mar 8, 2009

EPIC WIN! Channel Ten's One HD to show MLB games

If you haven't heard of it already, Channel Ten in Australia is set to launch a new digital channel in late March. Called One HD, it will be a 24-hour-a-day sports channel. Although it is not easy to find, their website is now showing that they will show 5 games of MLB per week, PLUS "live prime time" coverage of the playoffs and World Series!!!!! I'm not sure how the "live prime time" coverage will work, as most East Coast games in the States are over by mid-afternoon here...but WHO CARES :)

That is absolutley fantastically awesome.

Free to air Major League Baseball, 5-times-a-week. WOW!!!!!! Bring it on.

Mar 6, 2009

Card Tribute to Aussies in Spring Training - Part 1

With so many Aussies in Spring Training camp at the moment, what better way to kick off some card related posts.

Rich Thompson 2008 Triple Threads
This is a sweet looking GU card from the 08 Triple Threads set. There are a whole bunch of parallels with different colours, including green and white I think. Can't see too many on ebay at the moment.
Phil Stockman 2005 Donruss the Rookies Auto
This is a good looking card. Purple and green somehow go well together.

Luke Hughes 2004 Bowman First Year

It's been a few years since this 'first year' card was printed, and after having a stellar 2008, 2009 could really be Luke's first year in the Bigs.

Grant Balfour 2001 Bowman
Bit more old school action here, with Balf in his Twins threads, and looking a bit younger.

Brad Harman 2008 Bowman DPP XFractor

Mar 4, 2009

2009 Spring Training underway; WBC Roster announced

Alright, things are ramping up for the 2009 season, teams are playing again, roster battles are underway and Topps and Upper Deck are battling it out to see who can have the worst gimmick. It's an exciting time.

After much thought, I am going to try and post a lot again this season. I have started a new job this year and am working a lot longer hours. So that makes it tough, but I will try and post at least once a week. I also want to get more into the card side of things - something I didn't really do last year.

The rosters for the World Baseball Classic have been announced, with games set to commence in a couple of weeks. Both Grant Balfour and Ryan Rowland-Smith opted out of the WBC, which is not really a surprise. Balf is a genuine contender in the Rays bullpen this year, and RRS is battling it out to make the Mariners' rotation for opening day. It seemed that RRS was genuinely tossing up about playing the WBC, but in the end he chose to give Spring Training his full attention. I think this is a smart move. No matter what happens this time round, he should be in a good place to play the WBC next time. It makes sense for him to capitalise on the success he had at the end of 2008 and really stake a claim for the Seattle rotation.

There are stacks of Aussies in and about Spring Training. We have:
  • Pete Moylan and Phil Stockman at the Braves: with Moylan looking real good, and possibly set for an early return after his surgery last year. The two Aussies met up with Marcus Ambrose at the Nascar Daytona 500, which sounded like a hoot.
  • Ryan Rowland-Smith with the Mariners
  • Trent Oeltjen has backed up with the Diamondbacks again this year, and Travis Blackley has also signed with them. With some injuries to some of Arizona's regular bullpen arms, Blackley is apparently a bit of a good shot - although it seems he may have done himself no favours by showing up late one day
  • Luke Hughes is back with the Twins, although his chances of cracking the bigs at third base were dealt a blow when they signed Joe Crede recently - although Luke will be looking to repeat his 2008 successes. Justin Huber will join him in the Twins organisation after the WBC, after signing a minor leauge contract
  • Brad Harman is on the roster for the Phillies spring training, and
  • Rich Thompson is back in action for the Angels, and
  • of course Grant Balfour is back with the Rays.

So that makes TEN Aussies in or about the mix at this time of the year. That's good stuff. And there were truckloads of Aussies in the minors last year, so there seems to be a steady supply of young Aussies headed to the show. There were some awesome results last year, and hopefully 2009 can offer some more great stories.