|Teammate Jamie Lethborg|
Looks Exactly Like
Someone told me a saying about Canberra. They said the the most beautiful thing about Canberra is the road leading out of town. While the road was indeed beautiful I thought the city had more to offer than I was able to see. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see Parliament house or the famed War Memorial. The weather didn’t really cooperate with us during the trip. It was rainy and really cold for the first three days. In fact we got rained out of the second game and ended up playing a double header on Sunday. The rain on Friday was hard, off and on at times but consistent throughout the day. If I was going to see the sights that Canberra has to offer that would have been the day to do it. Saturday morning it rained until we left for the field around 3:45pm so Saturday was a wash too. Oh well maybe next time Ill get to see the sights more up close than this time around.
I did enjoy our accommodations however.
The outside of the building wad definitely dumpy looking and I think we
all wondered what we were going to get.
The courtyard was over landscaped and over grown and the décor on the
building was reminiscent of something from the 70’s. Boy was I was surprised when I opened the
door and walked into your suite. To my
left was our bedroom; two single bed with a
nightstand and a small closet. To
my right was a kitchenette with stove, range, fridge, sink and dishwasher. The main living area had a couch, love seat,
flat screen tv, coffee table and dining table with chairs. Just beyond my bedroom was the bathroom
complete with shower and washer and dryer.
Just past that another bedroom, slightly bigger than my room; also with
2 single beds but a bigger built in closet.
Out the back door was a patio and gate with easy access to the
street. A very modern
The ballpark was a short drive from the hotel which was accomplished in 3 large
vans. We pulled in through the back gate
and unloaded our gear. The field was a
proper baseball field. All grass, dirt
infield, large spacious dugouts and deep fences. A pitchers park for sure, except when the
wind blows out. From information I
gathered from various sources, the Canberra ball club received a massive 3
million dollar grant from the government to redo their park. That figure dwarfs the alleged 60k the Aces
received. Not sure why there was such a
differential but this park definitely felt like a real minor league
stadium. The Canberra Cavalry are orange
and black and have a similar color scheme to the Baltimore Orioles. The team is mainly composed of imports
similar to myself from America and Asia.
They do have a small contingent of Australian players however they don’t
play a major role with the team. There
is no rule in the ABL that states you must have X amount of player from
Australia on your team so I was curious as to why this team had so few. The answer was simple. Canberra is part of the ACT or Australian
Captial Territory. A small town with an
equally small population and very few club teams to draw players from. For example Canberra may have 6 club ball
teams where a city like Sydney or Melbourne may have 30-40 club teams to draw
players from. The Cavalry matched up
well with Aces. Both teams had good
pitching and good hitting. Both teams
lacked power but played station to station and manufactured runs. We lost the first game of the series on a
walk off homerun in the bottom of the ninth.
A heartbreaker to say the least as we had that final hitter in a 1-2
count and just hung a fastball in the wrong spot. The next day was a washout as I previously
stated, it rained all day and night.
Friday was a circus. We started
the game under ominous skies and ended up taking an hour and half rain to delay
before continuing the game. During that
rain delay they only covered the mound and home plate because they thought the
rain was subside quickly. As the rain
picked up in force they decided it would be a good time to pull the field tarp
(A rarity in this league). Almost as
soon as the field tarp was drawn tight over the field the rain ceased. Then both teams stood outside their dugouts
waiting for an hour and half while no rain fell. No real explanation as to why we continued to
wait so we ended up having a little fun with practical jokes and foolish games
with the other team. We stuck gummy
worms in the fingers of one of the Japanese players gloves then asked if we
could play catch. When he stuck his hand
in his glove his smiling face soon turned to concern and everyone got a good
laugh. We were exchanging stories and
trash talking with the other team by writing on baseballs and throwing them
across the diamond. The other team would
respond and throw the ball back with their own talk. Its amazing what baseball players can think
of when they are bored. After the rain
delay the field crew pulled the tarp.
Almost immediately after they pulled the tarp and started the game back
up it started raining again. Ironic?
Annoying? Yes. The game was close with
both teams scoring runs in the top and bottom half of the first few
innings. The ninth inning came and went
and we were tied. A fitting way for this
game to go I guess. It took until the 12th
inning to determine a winner and it was the Melbourne Aces who managed to
manufacture 2 runs in the top half of
the 12th and hold off a late charge by the Cavalry to win the game
by a run. It was definitely a win we
needed to have especially after playing so many close 1 run games and ending up
on the losing side. We ended up leaving
the field around twelve midnight and arriving back at our hotel after a short
stop for some food. We had a double
header in 10 hours and I was starting game 1.
|Aussie Parking Job|
After the game everyone showered and changed into their travel clothes. We had some time to kill so we drove back into town to grab some non-airport food and to wind down from the long day we just endured. Fellow American Nic Ungs and I ate at a little café in town where we both ordered the wagyu beef burger which came at the recommendation of the staff. We both enjoyed it immensely and ate every last crumb. It was the perfect wind down to the long day and the perfect precursor to the short flight we were about to embark on. Overall I would say Canberra needs a second look, and not just by me. I think it gets a bad wrap because of where it is, the business that happens there. I thought the scenery was great, the fans were better and the baseball perfect.