Oct 29, 2010

The ABL: Season launch and local media roundup

We are now a week out from the season launch of the ABL, and starting to see a bit of coverage in the local media. All six teams have now released their rosters, which has revealed quite a few marquee players and a few interesting imports.

Yesterday was the official season launch, and you can check out details of the launch at the ABL website, it included some promo photos from representatives from each of the teams.

Chris Oxspring [Sydney], Justin Huber [Melbourne], Paul Mildren [Adelaide], Phil Stockman [Brisbane], Luke Hughes [Perth] and Nick Kimpton [Canberra] Image from http://www.theabl.com.au/
I particularly liked this mean looking shot of Chris Oxspring:

Image from www.theabl.com.au

The official season launch has also generated a bit of press coverage, with articles appearing in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Herald Sun, Courier Mail and ABC among others.

Most of the focus is on the calibre of players that are involved in the league, with plenty of current and ex-Major Leaguers dotting the rosters, as well as a lot of up and coming players. There is also a lot of optimism being expressed that the ABL can survive in the long term, particularly since it has the backing of Major League Baseball - which you would have to think is critical to financing the league, but at the same time a great endorsement from the US.  It seems that the players certainly have the right idea. Luke Hughes speaks about being an ambassador, and making sure it succeeds so that 10 years down the track kids will have something to aim for.

Things are getting pretty positive. The Blue Sox GM is quoted as reporting that the Blue Sox have sold out a number of games already, in addition to the 500 season tickets they've sold out. All the media coverage looks great. Hopefully this will continue - and pick up - when the season fires up and the sport can get the profile it deserves.

Stay tuned for more info and season previews soon!

Oct 24, 2010

The ABL has been given new life

Hello world.
This little old blog has not been updated in quite a while, and there's been a heck of a lot happening on the Oz MLB Player scene: we have had two Aussies go to Divisional Series for Major League teams; there has been some increased game time given to a number of other Aussie players - Brad Thomas, Trent Oeltjen, Rich Thompson; Ryan Rowland-Smith had a bit of a bastard of a year (as did the Mariners fullstop) but has kept fighting hard.

And...we have a new local professional league. The ABL is back baby.

Now I will admit it, I was a little skeptical about whether the ABL would be successful. While Major League Baseball threw its support behind it, I was thinking there were too many factors suggesting it would not work. Crowds at the Claxton Shield over the past couple of years have been pretty poor. There is increasing competition through T20 cricket and the A-League, and most top class Aussie players play winter ball in South America.

However, so far I have been pleasantly surprised.

The ABL has relaunched and appears to be doing a pretty good job promoting itself using some (reasonably) decent websites and social media.

The Sydney Blue Sox season memberships sold out.

The roster for the Blue Sox contains a number of Major League players, including RRS and Trent Oeltjen, as well as ex-MLB and Japanese journeyman Chris Oxspring.

The ABL have announced official sponsorship from Rawlings, and has launched a merchandise range through New Era, including official 5950 caps.

They seem to have attracted quite a bit of sponsorship (albeit it is somewhat 'second tier sponsorship').

So now, I am feeling a little optimistic and have something to write about. Huzzah!

A few people manage to stumble across this page through google searches for Aussies in the MLB, so I figure I might do my thing for promotion and coverage of the ABL.

So come back soon, expect some player profiles and background information soon, with some live coverage and game reviews available in the near future.