Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Australian Baseball League 2013-14 Schedule Review

The Australian Baseball League has released it's schedule for the 2013-14 season, so I've been studying it today to determine what that means for next season's cards.

Same Number of Games
Again it's a 46 game season, split across 6 home and 6 away series. Some home series will be 3 games, some will be 4 games. Nearly all games are scheduled Thursday through Sunday, with 4 Monday night games scheduled during the Christmas School Holidays. I generally only get to Friday or Saturday games, so doesn't effect me a whole lot.

Less Doubleheaders
From my point of view, as an amateur photographer, I love Saturday double headers. My camera kit isn't good enough to capture decent shots once games go under lights, so I rely on getting shots during warm ups and during the first couple of innings of night games. This often means that I miss out on action shots of the pitching staff, with most of the bullpen coming on too late during night games. In contrast, double headers give me the opportunity to get far more usable shots, especially of pitchers.

Historically, almost every series contained a Saturday double header during the first two ABL seasons, however that was cut back during the 2012-13 ABL season, with only 3 doubleheaders played locally. Next season, there will only be two doubleheaders played here.  That means less action shots, and less shots of pitchers. :(

Playing the Heat Twice at Home
The ABL is a 6 team competition  Each ABL team play 6 home series, one home series against 4 of the other 5 teams and two home series against the remaining team. The first two ABL seasons featured 10 series of 5 home and away series, however the ABL acknowledged feedback from the teams that they didn't have the pitching depth to maintain regular 4 and 5 game series. Subsequently in 2012-13, they increased the number of series, but reduced the number of games per series. The increase in series means that there's the luck of the draw as to who you play twice. Last season the Cavalry played Sydney twice at home. In the 2013-14 season it will be the Perth Heat. That's effectively a tough draw for the Cavalry, noting that out of the three total ABL seasons to date, Perth have come 1st, 1st and 2nd.

From a card point of view, it means that I'll likely get more shots of Perth players. Given that most teams only bring 20-22 of their roster to Canberra for each series, multiple series means potentially a greater player spread for photos. Besides the Cavalry who are the team in the city I live in, the two teams I got the most different number of player photos of last season were the Perth Heat and the Sydney Blue Sox. Why? Because Canberra played two home series against Sydney, and played two series in Canberra (one home series and the Championship series) against Perth.

Not a bad schedule, but the lack of doubleheaders is the real killer for me. Maybe I can sweet talk the GM to getting me a Media Pass to try and get closer to the action with the limited shooting time I'll have. :)

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