Mar 24, 2012

UPDATED: Super Official Ultimate DIY Guide to following Aussies Playing Major League Baseball

Update 10 April 2012 - added info about ABC Strike Zone, and The Pitch newsletter

Spring Training is a great time for a bunch of young up-and-comers to get some big league experience under their belt. This also means it is a great time to be following Aussie MLB players, as there are stacks of them doing the rounds. To support you - the ever committed Oz baseball fan, presents the Super Official Ultimate DIY Guide to following Aussies Playing Major League Baseball.

For a long time I have tried to share as much news as I possibly can through this blog, as well as through twitter and facebook, but with the volumes of Aussies in the US increasing, I just can't keep up. However, luckily there are a bunch of ways that any ole Aussie baseball fan can keep track of their favorite players, and I thought I might share some tips for how you can stay up to date. Depending on your budget, time, and devotion, there is a whole suite of options available. I have outlined some of my best tips below, in order of simplicity - starting with the simplest (and cheapest) and winding up to the most deluxe options.

If you have any other ideas/tips - let me know.

Pre-interwebs technology - Paper? What's that?

Many Australian newspapers publish daily results for Major League games. Usually these amount to nothing much other than the score - we don't even get a box or a line score. So, this is really a very generic way to follow your favorite Aussies, and it is reliant on you knowing who is playing where and when. So all up, probably not the greatest way to go. However, it is an option if you're desperate!

Pre-interwebs technology 2.0 - the wireless

Yes kids, 'wireless' used to mean something entirely different!

Anyways, recently the ABC launched STRIKE ZONE, a fantastic digital radio show hosted by Chris Coleman (@CJ_Coleman on twitter). You can listen online or through a digital radio. For more info, check out the ABC Grandstand blog.

Internet v1 - its on their website!

Thanks to the goodness of the internet, we no longer have to wonder about what is going on over in the USA. We can get literally second by second updates on how teams and players are going. In terms of keeping up to date with Aussies, I suggest the following:

1. Add Aussie players' 'Player Pages' to your favorites

Go to MLB. com (or for minor leaguers), in the search box type the name of the player you are interested in:

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This will take you through to the player page, which is the hub of all the information you could want. It includes at a glance

  • Stats for the last ten games
  • Total season stats
  • Career stats
  • News stories
  • Video highlights
  • and a whole bunch more, all for FREE!

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With modern browsers like Google Chrome, you can add shortcut buttons to each of these pages and have a nice shortcut bar at the top of your browser, so each player's page is just a click away:

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2. Checking box scores daily

Both and have a very clear and useful way of displaying box scores each day, which you can quickly scan to see which Aussies have played, and how they went.

Just click on 'Scoreboard', and you will be taken through to a list of all the games in progress/completed on the day. From there you can scan to see which games featured Aussies, and then click through to particular box scores.

Web 2.0 - have it delivered straight to you!

There are a couple of very handy (relatively) new tools on the internet that will actually do all the hard work for you, and will deliver Aussie baseball news to your inbox/desktop/mobile/ipad etc. They are Google alerts, and RSS feeds.

Google alerts

This is my number 1 tip for staying in touch with Aussie baseball news. It is so easy, it takes seconds to set up, and it delivers relevant information to your inbox quickly and regularly. This is the number one way to get up to date information about Oz MLB players.

Go to Type in the search term you wish to use (eg 'Josh Spence' or 'Trent Oeltjen'), fill in the rest of the boxes on the page, and click 'Create Alert'.

You can choose what to have it send you (I recommend 'everything'), and  how often. If you are dedicated, you will want to set 'as it happens', however you can also choose once a day or week. Once you have set it up, that's it, Google will deliver the news right to your inbox.

The key trick with this tool is to get the search criteria right. Players like Trent Oeltjen and Ryan Rowland-Smith work well, because they have quite unique names, but search terms like Rich Thompson and Luke Hughes, or Brad Thomas can bring back stuff unrelated to our Aussie MLB compatriots. To fix this, just use a more accurate search term like 'Rich Thompson Angels', or 'Luke Hughes Twins'.

RSS feeds

While Google alerts will keep you very much up to date with specific information related to individual players, if you are looking for a bigger picture story, or are more interested in following the overall team performance, you can still get information delivered to you. RSS feeds are offered by all MLB teams, and most (if not all) minor league teams. Basically, an RSS feed streams news content directly from a website to an 'RSS reader'. This means you don't need to browse the web each day to find information relevant to you - it gets delivered to one place (you can learn more here). I recommend Google Reader as a simple, easy and free RSS reader - and the great think is you can sync it to apps on mobile devices (more on that later).

Official newsletter of MLB International - The Pitch

MLB International produces a very decent newsletter through the MLB season containing a list of news articles, YouTube clips, statistics and local TV listings for Aussie players. You can subscribe by emailing

Social media (beginner's style)

You can also get really good information about Aussie players through social media. All MLB clubs have twitter and facebook accounts you can follow, and many Aussie players are active on social media, including Rich Thompson, Luke Hughes, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Peter Moylan, Josh Spence, and a few minor leaguers.

I have found twitter to be a really useful way to follow minor league teams, particularly at the lower levels of the system - they often don't attract a lot of large scale media coverage, but you can connect directly to the people involved at the club very easily.

Here's a list of a bunch of Oz MLB players on twitter:
- Peter Moylan (@PeterMoylan)
- Rich Thompson (@chopper63)
- Ryan Rowland-Smith (@hyphen18)
- Josh Spence (@joshspence)
- Travis Blackley (@travis_blackley)
- Luke Hughes (@lukehughes38)

Social media (more advanced)

There are countless twitter clients available on the internet these days. Many or most of these allow you to set up standard searches (in much the same way as you would set up a google alert). This means you can have a whole crazy dashboard set up tracking all the twitter references to all your favourite players. Google 'best twitter client' to find a whole bunch of options. I use Hootsuite, and I hear TweetDeck is pretty good too.\

Hack some fantasy sports sites

Most big fantasy sports providers (see ESPN or Yahoo Sports for example) give the option to generate a 'watchlist' of players. Once you add a player to your watchlist, you will receive regular news and updates on your players' results.

Spend some money

So there are heaps of options if you have some cash to throw behind the cause.

Pay TV

The immediate - and really starting to become old-fashioned - approach, would be to get pay TV. This is still an option these days, but in my humble opinion it might not be the best or most cost effective. If watching baseball is your only reason behind getting pay TV, I would think again. Some of the options below might be better. subscription

Thanks to the goodness of broadband internet and the goodwill Major League Baseball, international baseball  fans can get really awesome access to baseball at a reasonable price. MLB TV is the official subscription package, and for less than around AUD$150 you can get access to pretty much every single game live, or you can watch archived games later on. This year your MLB TV subscription includes a free iphone/ipad app, which will include streaming live to your mobile device. Or, if you have a PS3 or XBOX - you can stream the feed live to your TV. The quality (assuming you have a reasonably decent internet connection) is amazing, and you can choose the home or away team feed, and use a split screen to watch up to four games at once.

If you can afford to lay out the cash for this sort of set up, I highly recommend it.

If you are interested in minor league baseball, you can get a similar (and much cheaper) offering through

Fly the heck to the US

If I had the money and the time, I would take six months off work stack up on some cash and haul ass state-side to follow the season in person. I'd choose a team and follow them across the country side - hitting up all the road trips and watching all 162 games (plus maybe a few more in Spring Training and the post season).

An alternative option would be to pick out the list of minor league teams and see how many you can check out in person.This would be an ace way to see the sport at the grassroots level.

Maybe one day!

And of course, you can follow ozmlbplayers on twitter

So as you can see, it is now easier than it has ever been to follow the growing legion of Aussies battling it out in the US. 

I hope this guide helps you find a way that works! If you have any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them, leave a comment or send your suggestions to me on twitter.