澳洲新的職業棒球聯盟是由美國大聯盟(Major League Baseball)和澳洲棒球聯盟會(Australian Baseball Federation)共同成立，新的職業棒球聯盟叫做澳洲棒球聯盟(Australian Baseball League)。新的職棒聯盟由美國大聯盟持股75%，雙方至少將合作經營五年以上。將加入聯盟的城市球隊有Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney 和 Brisbane，另外，聽說Gold Coast也想要加入，所以這一隊該不會以日本人為主吧，因為日本人集中在黃金海岸。至於Canberra，也在考慮是否加入。
Australian Baseball League
It’s a project that has been in the pipeline for several years, but is now assured of becoming a reality.
AUSTRALIA – America’s Major League Baseball is big backer of bold plans to have a new Australian national league up and running by November 2010.
Ten years after the old Australian Baseball League folded, the Australian Baseball Federation and MLB have begun the groundwork for a new national competition which will have the Claxton Shield as its prize.
The two groups have formed an ABL joint venture which will rely heavily upon the American sporting power for financing a league that will double as a developmental tool for Australian and foreign players.
Although leading officials are yet to decide upon a name, tender process or firm timelines, indications are the resurrected ABL would be an eight to 10-team competition played from November to February each year.
Newly appointed ABL chairman Mark Peters was confident each State would be represented and also felt Canberra, Northern Territory and regional areas like the Gold Coast could form teams.
“There’s unbelievable enthusiasm around,” Peters said on Wednesday.
“Some people may think we’re crazy with the present economic climate: ‘Why would you even be thinking about doing a national league?’
“Well we’ve got the confidence that there are people out there that will support us and with MLB’s backing, one of the best brands in the world, this will be successful.”
Peters said baseball had learned the lessons of the past when the ABL – featuring teams such as the Waverley Reds, Brisbane Bandits, Perth Heat and Daikyo Dolphins – disbanded after 10 years of competition in 1999.
“One of the big issues is going to be facilities,” he said.
“If we’re going to run a spectator-friendly sport then we’ve got to have the right facilities in place.
“The days of playing on the side of rugby and football ovals are something we can’t cope with if we’re going to be professional.
“We’ve all learned a lot from other (national leagues), including our own from a few years ago.”
The joint venture – to compete with cricket, the A-League and the revamped National Basketball League over the summer months – also intends controlling team expenditure.
The ABL received a boost to its plans on Wednesday with Federal Sports Minister Kate Ellis delivering a $400,000 grant to help set up the league.
Australia, baseball silver medallists at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, has seen 126 baseballers graduate from its Gold Coast-based academy to professional leagues around the world since 2000.
MLB International Operations senior vice-president Paul Archey said baseball needed a presence in Australia and a national competition would deliver that.
“From that perspective I think it’s crucial,” Archey said.
“This country is very conducive to baseball with the weather and the athletes and people love sport. I think baseball is tailor made for that family entertainment.
“What has changed in the last 20 years is the product, there’s been a significant improvement in depth and level of play.”
Note: The ABF and MLB have not given any official commencement date or timeline for the national league – the dates outline in this article are speculation only.
Photo courtesy of www.baseballvictoria.com.au