Fiasco Sports spoke with Assistant General Manager of the Adelaide Bite, Brett Marshall about himself, his outlook on the upcoming ABL season and the state of baseball in Australia.
Major League Baseball announced an exhibition match between the Arizona
Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers to take place in Sydney in 2014. How
important is an event like this to help bring awareness to baseball in Australia?
It’s huge! Obviously the game is still in its infancy. You’re getting a lot of people playing and
the amount of players is growing here in Australia. I think there’s over 6,000 people on the
database for South Australia, for Baseball SA, which is huge. Those people are players,
coaches, umpires, those people affiliated with the game and who actually care about it.
So you’re seeing a lot more people playing but the numbers can grow, they can always get
better, you can always expand. So that’s the big thing really, to see MLB put their efforts
behind this. This is the first time in 100 years so that’s saying something and it’s also
saying something with the game being played at the Sydney Cricket Ground. 52,000 seats
are sold, people are coming to each game, its massive. I mean and it sold out quite
quickly. Obviously clubs like us and the ABL will see the trickle down and residuals on that.
That just shows there are those people that will support us and that really love the game of
baseball; or there will be people who have never been to a game and just want to
check it out and see the league grow.
Is it just as important with Australian players having made it to the Major Leagues and
those same players coming back in the offseason to play in the ABL?
That’s huge, I mean you’re seeing more and more players from Australia make the Major
Leagues and have that traction and that success. For instance, Grant Balfour made the
All-Star Game this year, he’s Sydney born and raised. Travis Blackley, and Stefan
Welch who plays for the Adelaide Bite had quite a bit of success in the Minor Leagues
this year with the Salem Red Sox. His team won the League Championship and he was
a contributing factor to that team, so that’s great.
I mean to have those players not only have success here locally, but then take their talent
overseas, those are the players that the kids are going to grasp and hold on to locally here.
It’s great that we bring in the imports, but at the end of our season, at the end of the day
they’re from other parts of the world and they take their talents elsewhere.
The players that have their grass roots here, for instance Stefan at
Goodwood, they played from the ground up locally so that’s huge. It shows the up and
coming talent and younger players are going to say, for instance, Ben Lodge, who is on
our roster “I love the way he plays”.
That’s awesome, that’s something that you can strive for, to maybe one day make the Bite
roster and to take your talent to a higher level, to an MLB club level. You’re seeing more
and more players from Australia have signed at a professional level, so that’s only good for
baseball in Australia.
Stay tuned for Part 4 of this interview tomorrow on Fiasco Sports.
Written by Fraser Fyfe