Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Which ABL Team Should I Follow? - Sydney Blue Sox

If you like baseball and want to follow some games during the northern winter, why not check out the Australian Baseball League. This is the sixth and final in a series of articles about the teams of the ABL, and a lighthearted view about which team is right for you to support. Links to previous parts are below:

The Sydney Blue Sox
Uniform Design / Colour Scheme: Carolina Blue, Black and White, with Carolina Blue being the dominant colour
Mascot/Logo: Syd ... the Blue "thing"? Maybe he's an anthropomorphic sock?
Home City Characteristics: Ask anybody not from Australia to name a city in Australia, and they'll probably answer Sydney. Sydney is Australia's international city. With a population of nearly 4.7 million people, Sydney is Australia's oldest city, and the capital of the state of New South Wales. Sydney is big, loud and cosmopolitan. Because it's the biggest city in Australia, Sydneysiders often assume it's the best at everything in Australia too .It's a beautiful place to visit situated on the Harbour, but it is also sometimes criticized as being a congested, superficial and fickle place as large cities can often become.
End of Regular Season Standings: 
  • 2010-11: 1st (24-15)
  • 2011-12: 4th (20-25)
  • 2012-13: 2nd (26-19)
Postseason Results: 
  • 2010-11: Eliminated in Preliminary Final Series
  • 2011-12: Eliminated in Preliminary Final Series
  • 2012-13: Eliminated in Preliminary Final Series
2012-13 Had Import Players from: Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, St Louis Cardinals
2012-13 Had Australian Players affiliated with: Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers
Past Players You Might Know:
  • Chris Oxspring - Oxspring is an Aussie who pitched 5 games in the Majors for the San Diego Padres back in 2005. Oxspring has also played for the Hanshin Tigers in the NPB in 2006, the LG Twins in the KBO between 2007-2009 and in 2013, the Lotte Giants, also in the KBO. Oxspring has been a playing coach for all three ABL seasons with the Blue Sox.

2011-12 Sydney Blue Sox Chris Oxspring card front - © 2012 Adam East

  • Dae-Sung Koo - A Korean picher who has also spent time in MLB, the NPB and the KBO. Koo pitched in 33 games for the New York Mets in 2005 either side of stints with the Hanwha Eagles and Orix BlueWave. Koo "retired" to live in Sydney has been playing for the Blue Sox across all three ABL seasons to date.
2010-11 Sydney blue Sox Dae-Sung Koo card front - © 2011 Adam East

  • Brad Thomas - is a local Sydneysider who had two stints in the Majors. Between 2001 and 2004, Thomas pitched in 11 games for the Minnesota Twins, and then returned to the Majors in 2010 and 2011 with Detroit, pitching an additional 61 games in the Majors. Like most other Blue Sox professionals, Thomas has had stints in the NPB and KBO with the Nippon Ham Fighters and Hanwha Eagles respectively. In Australia, Thomas has played with Sydney during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 ABL seasons.
2012-13 Sydney Blue Sox Brad Thomas card front - © 2013 Adam East

  • Chris Snelling - the Seattle Mariner's prospect who continually got injured managed 59 MLB games with them between 2002 and 2006. He was then transferred around in 2007 and 2008, managing a further 34 MLB games split between the Phillies, the A's and Washington. Snelling returned to his hometown and played with the Blue Sox during the 2012-13 ABL season.
2012-13 Sydney Blue Sox Chris Snelling card front - © 2013 Adam East

  • Rich Thompson - pitched in 81 MLB games for the LA Angels between 2007 and 2012, and a single game with Oakland in 2012. Thompson played three games for his hometown team of Sydney in the inaugural 2010-11 ABL season.
Rick Thompson 2011 Topps Update Cognac Diamond Anniversary 286

  • Trent Oeltjen - Between 2009 and 2011, Oeltjen played 99 MLB games with the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers. Oeltjen returned to Australia to and played in two games for the Sydney Blue Sox during the inaugural 2010-11 ABL season
Trent Oeltjen 2006 Bowman Draft Future's Game Prospect Relic 20

Reasons to follow this team:

  • If you're from a "big city"
  • If you support a "Sox" team of some other colour
  • If you like big money teams with big name players
  • If you're a fan of the colour Carolina Blue ... or maybe even from Carolina
  • If you think socks are scary
  • If you empathise with, follow or feel sorry for a team that chokes in playoff games. (Sydney have reached and then been eliminated in the Preliminary Finals Series of every ABL season to date.)
  • If you want to maximise your chance of seeing former MLB, NPB or KBO import players.
  • If you like abusing fans of other teams. (The only times I've been abused at ABL games has been by Sydney Blue Sox fans.) OK - probably not fair, but why is it that there only seems to be trouble when Sydney fans are about?

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