Thursday, February 28, 2013

Brad Thomas - 2012-13 Sydney Blue Sox

Former Australian MLB player Thomas returned for his second season with the Sydney Blue Sox for the 2012-13 ABL season. This season was the first time however that I'd managed to get a photo of him, so this is my first card of him.

Thomas pitched in 72 MLB games between 2001 and 2011, with the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers. In 2012 he played for the Brother Elephants in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. This means that during his career he has now played in the major baseball league in each of the following countries:

  • Major League Baseball, USA
  • Nippon Professional Baseball, Japan
  • Korean Baseball Organisation, Korea
  • Chinese Professional Baseball League, Taiwan
  • Australian Baseball League, Australia
2012-13 Sydney Blue Sox Brad Thomas card front - © 2013 Adam East

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Luke Hughes - 2012-13 Perth Heat

As a Perth Heat fan in Canberra, I was a bit disappointed with how some of the Perth Heat fans and even players and staff carried on during and post the 2012-13 ABL Championship Series. Unfortunately, Luke Hughes was one of those who seemed to come across as having a case of "sour grapes" in Twitter posts and comments about the Canberra team and their import quota. Disappointing behaviour for a player I've liked.  As a Perth fan in hostile territory, bad sportsmanship from those associated with the Heat doesn't exactly endear me to the locals either.

Still, hopefully he's mature enough to reflect on his behaviour. I did find a certain irony in his criticisms of Canberra having lots of American players. The irony being:
1. His Twitter post "Whose playing for the Cavs next year? #whoknows" The irony is: Where will Hughes be playing during the 2013 MLB season?  #whoknows After 2012 Spring Training, a regular MLB spot beckoned, but since then he's been on a downward slide.
2. Criticisms of Canberra as "Team USA". In light of the point above, it's more than likely Hughes is praying that he'll be spending the northern summer playing in a league against teams full of Americans ... :)

As fans, let's hope he has a good WBC and gets picked up by one of the MLB organisations again, and leaves the internal Aussie slagging behind.  It would be even more ironic for the 2013-14 ABL season if the stories about Canberra trying to entice Hughes to play for the Cavalry next season come to fruition. Apparently his girlfriend Anna Flanagan, is a Canberran who plays for the Hockeyroos.

2012-13 Perth Heat Luke Hughes card front - © 2013 Adam East

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Carlo Testa - 2012-13 Melbourne Aces

Testa was an American import from the Kansas City Royals who played with the Melbourne Aces during the 2012-13 ABL season. Testa had 5 years experience in the minors, and spent 2012 playing for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in the AA level Texas League. Testa took out the 2013 ABL Fan Choice Award.

2012-13 Melbourne Aces Carlo Testa card front - © 2013 Adam East

Monday, February 25, 2013

Adam Jacobs - 2012-13 Canberra Cavalry

Californian Adam Jacobs returned for his second season with the Canberra Cavalry in 2012-13. His 2011-12 season was cut short due to a broken collarbone  In between his two ABL season, he spent 2012 playing for the Hawaii Stars of the independent North American League.

Is the son of Gary Jacobs, owner of the San Diego Padres high A level affiliate, the Lake Elsinore Storm
2012-13 Canberra Cavalry Adam Jacobs card front - © 2013 Adam East

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cody Clark - 2012-13 Brisbane Bandits

American import Cody Clark spent 10 years in the minor leagues with the Rangers, Braves and Royals - playing in 2012 for the AAA level Omaha Storm Chasers.Clark joined the Brisbane Bandits for the 2012-13  ABL season. Clark took out the Player of the Week award in Round 4 of the season for his batting display.

2012-13 Brisbane Bandits Cody Clark card front - © 2013 Adam East

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Nathan Melendres - 2012-13 Adelaide Bite

Melendres is an American import from the Seattle Mariners organisation who played with the Adelaide Bite during the 2012-13 ABL season. During 2012, his second season with the Mariners, he spent time across their Rookie, A and high A level teams..

2012-13 Adelaide Bite Nathan Melendres card front - © 2013 Adam East

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chris Snelling - 2012-13 Sydney Blue Sox

Former Aussie MLB player Chris Selling made his ABL debut with the Sydney Blue Sox during the 2012-13 season. Snelling managed 93 MLB games between 2002-2008 with four different teams, and finished his US professional career in 2009. Although born in America, he is of Australian descent and considered an Aussie. He represented Australia at the 2009 World Baseball Classic and is a member of Australia's roster for the upcoming 2013 WBC.

2012013 Sydney Blue Sox Chris Snelling card front - © 2013 Adam East

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Daniel Schmidt - 2012-13 Perth Heat

Originally born in Cairns, Schmidt 's 2012-13 ABL season was his third with the Heat. It was a successful one, posting a 7-3 win-loss record - the second best numbers in the league.

2012-13 Perth Heat Daniel Schmidt card front - © 2013 Adam East

Monday, February 18, 2013

Liam Bedford - 2012-13 Melbourne Aces

Melbourne youngster Bedford is only 19 years old, but was already appearing in his second ABL season for the Aces in 2012-13. Signed with the Philadelphia Phillies organisation in 2011, playing for the GC:L Phillies in the Rookie Gulf Coast league in 2012.

2012-13 Melbourne Aces Liam Bedford card front - ©  2012 Adam East

Friday, February 15, 2013

Kohei Shibata (柴田講平) - 2012-13 Canberra Cavalry

A veteran of three seasons and 184 games with the Hanshin Tigers in the NPB, Shibata was one of the Japanese imports to play with the Cavalry during the 2012-13 ABL season.

2012-13 Canberra Cavalry Kohei Shibata card front - © 2013 Adam East

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hirotoshi Onaka (尾中寛敏) - 2012-13 Brisbane Bandits

Okana spent 2011 and 2012 playing low A level ball for the Texas Rangers organisation, and joined the Brisbane Bandits for the 2012-13 ABL season.  He was signed directly from the International Pacific University in Japan, making him the rare case of a Japanese import playing in the ABL coming from the MLB system rather than the NPB.

2012-13 Brisbane Bandits Hirotoshi Onaka card front - © 2012 Adam East

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chris Adamson - 2012-13 Adelaide Bite

Aussie catcher Chris Adamson returned for his second ABL season with the Adelaide Bite in 2012-13.

2012-13 Adelaide Bite Chris adamson card front - © 2013 Adam East

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Michael Lysaught - 2011-12 Sydney Blue Sox

Lysaught is a local Sydney player who was signed by the Minnesota Twins as a 17 YO, and spent 3 seasons playing Rookie level ball between 2004-2006. He has played all three ABL seasons with the Sydney Blue Sox. These particular card designs were options for the 2011-12 season - from memory I think I ended up going with the top card design.

2011-12 Sydney Blue Sox Michael Lysaught card front - ©  2012 Adam East

2011-12 Sydney Blue Sox Michael Lysaught alternate card front - ©  2012 Adam East

Monday, February 11, 2013

Chris Coleman - 2012-13 Canberra Cavalry

The case of the phantom player. Chris Coleman was a collegiate player (Missouri Baptist University) who joined the Canberra Cavalry for the 2012-13 ABL season. He was recruited by former Canberra coach Steve Shrenk during a tryout for the Philadelphia Phillies, along with fellow Canberra imports, Chris Motta and Antonio Callaway. He had apparently been a two time Second Team All American first baseman at University, but was converting to full-time pitching. His stint Down Under was designed to work on this change.

Due to an elbow problem he unfortunately ended up returning back to the US half way through the season without playing an ABL game. I still managed to get a photo of Coleman warming up in a game early in the season.

2012-13 Canberra Cavalry Chris Coleman card front - © 2013 Adam East

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Congrats to the Canberra Cavalry - 2012-13 ABL Champions

I managed to attend both the 1st game and the last three innings of the 2nd game of the 2012-13 Australian Baseball League Championship Series in Canberra over the previous 2 nights. The advantage of catching the end of the 2nd game was I got to see the Cavalry take out the championship, as well as the post game awards and festivities. Congratulations to the Canberra Cavalry on winning the Championship.

Even though I'm historically a Perth Heat supporter (since the original ABL started back in 1989), I do support the Cavalry when attending their home games.  As much as previously I've been a proud wearer of my Perth Heat cap during Cavalry home games, one of the Canberra General Managers asked me who I would be supporting if it was a Canberra vs Perth final. When it's been Perth vs Canberra series, I've always gone for Perth. It was a big call, but I decided I would be supporting the Cavalry in the ABLCS ... not because I no longer supported the Heat, but because after 2 successive Championships to Perth, I thought it would be "Good For Baseball" to have the Cavalry win the ABL, rather than a Perth threepeat. The level of interest in baseball in Canberra has definitely skyrocketed with the Cavalry's success this year, and will hopefully continue to foster more kids into the game.

Now that the Cavalry have won one, I'll be more than happy for Perth to get back to winning the Championship next year ... and I'll still support the Cavalry ... unless they're playing the Heat :)

Sad to see some  opposition supporters labelling the Cavalry as Team USA and complaining about all their imports. As I point out - why weren't you complaining when their imports left them in last place for the previous two seasons?

They also seem to casually ignore the fact that other ABL teams have been luring Aussie Cavalry players interstate. The Crawford brothers moved up to the Bandits, Tim Atherton went to the Blue Sox (where he joined another former Cavalry Aussie - Luke Wilkins) and that even Perth manged to get a game out of former Cavalry relief pitcher Phil Brassington. And although not an Aussie, even Adelaide are using Cavalry's original Indian import - Rinkhu Singh.It's hard to get a good core of Aussies when they get lured to the "big smoke" when they start showing some promise.

Anyway, thought I'd share a couple of photos. The first is a panorama of the storms in the background of Fort Narrabundah during Game 1 of the ABLCS.

Fort Narrabundah - ABL Championship Series Game 1- Panorama (click image to enlarge) © 2013 Adam East

And a couple from the post-game celebrations of Game 2. My lenses are rather slow, so not the best for night photography, but thought I'd grab a few happy snaps anyway.

Cavalry players pile on pitcher Sean Toler after the final out - © 2013 Adam East

The Claxton Shield - © 2013 Adam East

The Cavalry celebrations begin - © 2013 Adam East

Friday, February 8, 2013

Aaron Bonomi - 2012-13 Perth Heat

Bonomi returned for his third season with the Heat during the 2012-13 ABL season. Having observed him in the dugout during a couple of away games, it appears that he was very much the "enthuser" in the team, trying to gee up the other players.

I actually had difficulty finding a decent shot of Bonomi in my photos from this season. I wanted a good shot of him because his 2011-12 has been the most viewed card on this blog, so I wanted a good followup for his 2012-13 card. Eventually I discovered this portrait shot I'd taken of him. It's a lot closer than I'd usually use on the card designs, but I think it works well.

2012-13 Perth Heat Aaron Bonomi card front - © 2013 Adam East

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Kellen Kmiecik - 2011-12 Canberra Cavalry

Kmiecik was a bit of an American journeyman who made it onto the Canberra Cavalry roster during the 2011-12 ABL season. His career has included stints at the Southern Wesleyan University, the Normal Cornbelters of the independent Frontier League in 2010, and the Berlin Sluggers of the German Baseball-Bundesliga in 2011. This was interspersed with time playing for the Ainslie Bears in 2010-11 and 2011-12 in the ACT Baseball Association, where he caught the gaze of Cavalry staff.

2011-12 Canberra Cavalry Kellen Kmiecik card front - © 2012 Adam East

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Nicholas Spence - 2012-13 Melbourne Aces

The 2012-13 ABL season is Spence's first in the ABL, having previously left his home in Geelong and played for the Central Arizona College in the USA. Younger brother of MLB pitcher Josh Spence.
2012-13 Melbourne Aces Nicholas Spence card front - © 2013 Adam East

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Jeremy Barnes - 2012-13 Canberra Cavalry

Barnes was a prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies organisation who played across their high A, AA and AAA teams in 2012 before being released after 4 years in the minors. He came as an import to the Canberra Cavalry for the 2012-13 ABL season hoping to catch the eye of scouts once again.

2012-13 Canberra Cavalry Jeremy Barnes card front - © 2013 Adam East

Monday, February 4, 2013

Brad Dutton - 2012-13 Brisbane Bandits

Brad Dutton returned for his third ABL season with the Bandits in 2012-13, this time without younger brother Wade.
2012-13 Brisbane Bandits Brad Dutton card front - © 2013 Adam East

Friday, February 1, 2013

Jonathan Jones - 2012-13 Canberra Cavalry

Jones is an American import from the Toronto Blue Jays organisation who played with the Canberra Cavalry during the 2012-13 ABL season. He spent 2012 playing for the Dunedin Blue Jays in the high A Florida State League. Unfortunately he had to return home after only 8 games due to a hamstring problem that curtailed his ABL season.

2012-13 Canberra Cavalry Jonathan Jones card front - © 2013 Adam East