Why? Well in the name of baseball of course.
Just a couple of short weeks ago Sean Jarrett, the Bandits' newest import, was staying with friends in Dallas, TX, giving pitching lessons and throwing bullpen sessions. On Monday he made his way to Brisbane after a 27-hour journey that originated in Denver, CO, and stopped in Los Angeles, CA and Auckland, NZ along the way.
"I was staying in shape and throwing and doing different things like that just hoping that I would get a winter ball job either here or Venezuela or Mexico," Jarrett said of the off-season activities that led him down under.
The right-hander was drawn to the Australian Baseball League after having heard about it earlier this year from Melbourne Aces Jason Hirsh and Shane Lindsay, who both had nothing but good things to say about the Aussie game.
"I've always wanted to come over and see Australia so I figured I would send some emails and make some calls and see if it would work out," Jarrett said. "I figured it would be a fun experience. Hopefully I can get signed for next year and if not, at least I get to see Australia."
Jarrett is looking for a new place to sign after being released from the Rockies organization this August. The 28-year-old had a good campaign in 2010 with Double-A Tulsa, posting a 1.80 ERA but suffered a finger injury that allowed him only 30.0 innings.
Heading into the 2011 season the righty expected to get more time with the Drillers but was placed into a less-than-ideal situation. Jarrett started the season on the inactive list and bounced between it and the roster, just taking up innings and filling holes.
"It's a little bit of a rollercoaster because you out there and you throw well and you think that you're moving up in status or in their minds," he said. "But then when they don't pitch you again for 10 days it's like it didn't even really matter. It's kind of like once they make up their minds on you then there's nothing that you can really do. So I was kind of happy that I got my release and hopefully I can get on with a different team."
For the Bandits the pitcher will likely start in a reserve role in the bullpen with the potential to start games down the road. With his strengths being the command and movement of his pitches, Jarrett is looking to work on his slider and build his arm strength during the ABL season.
Not having faced a batter since September, he got his first chance at work during the Bandits exhibition game Tuesday night. Jarrett threw his first clean inning in a Brisbane uniform, giving up one hit and notching a groundout and two fly outs. Though he pitched mainly off of his fastball, he worked in his slider and should be ready to go for the Bandits five-game series this weekend in Sydney.
"Really I was just trying to get through it," Jarrett said of the exhibition outing. "I think I'm still feeling a little jet lag and I have a stiff back so I was happy to just go out there and move around a little bit and not give up too many hits."
With just one full day in Australia under his belt and more than two months without throwing in a game situation, Jarrett was tossed right into the thick of things and gave an impressive performance, getting through it without any damage.
The Colorado native has shown perseverance throughout his entire career, most notably coming back from Tommy John surgery in just his inaugural season of professional baseball.
"It was my first full year and I had just been moved into the closing role after like a week or two into the season and I was doing well," Jarrett said. "I think I finished the year with a 1.10 ERA but I only had 15.0 innings before I blew [my arm] out.
"I was just closing one game and had two outs and it popped. It didn't feel good. It was like fire went down my hand and it just sucked. It was a bad feeling, but I threw a strike. With two outs and one strike I thought, 'Well, let's try a curveball here, maybe it won't pop because that was a fastball.' But I threw a curveball and the whole rest of it blew."
After 16 months of rehabilitation, Jarrett made it back to extended Spring Training followed by short-season ball and eventually worked his way up to Double-A Tulsa.
Though his velocity has decreased since the 2007 surgery, he is still a threat to batters and has found success at different levels of baseball. Jarrett's priority now is to continue on that path with the Bandits and beyond their 33 remaining games.