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How the Bandits are spending the holidays
What your favourite players are doing away from the ballpark this week
12/24/2011 5:34 PM ET
Ryan Searle in his Bandits 2012 debut
Ryan Searle in his Bandits 2012 debut (Jerad Williams / SMP Images)
The holidays are a time for family, friends and so much more. At the very least, this time of year is a chance for most people to take a break from work and enjoy some free time.

While the Brisbane Bandits are continuing to work hard, not getting much of a break from the ballpark, the players are still looking forward to their respective holiday plans. For returning starting pitcher Ryan Searle, he'll enjoy his time while keeping baseball in the back of his mind.

"I'm just going to relax and have a big Aussie barbeque," Searle said. "And then get right back into training to prepare for the New Year's series [against Canberra]."

For Australian players like Searle, Justin Erasmus and Rory Rhodes, they can take the opportunity to catch up with loved ones they've missed throughout the year while they were playing baseball overseas in the US.

Searle is back with the Bandits fresh off of his fourth season in the Chicago Cubs minor league system. The right-hander finished up the North American summer with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies of the Southern League, going 5-3 with a 3.51 ERA. He threw 84 2/3 innings with 11 starts in 23 games for Tennessee and will make his second start of the season for the Bandits when Australian Baseball League action begins once again.

Erasmus, who will be taking a family holiday to Sunny Court over Christmas, spent his American baseball season with the Greenville Drive, in the South Atlantic League. The Boston Red Sox farmhand now has three years of minor league service under his belt with a combined 1.68 ERA in 96 2/3 innings over that time. The ABL All-Star has posted a 0.79 ERA for Brisbane so far this season over 11 1/3 innings in eight games.

Rhodes is back from Elizabethton, where he played for the Twins in the Appalachian League. The Minnesota Twins prospect batted .261/.363/.389 this season in rookie ball and is looking forward to his time at home in the upcoming days.

"Almost every Christmas I catch up with a lot of family and friends that I don't get the chance to see too often," Rhodes said. "It's always good to see them."

For Bandits imports, it's not so easy to spend holiday time with family and friends. Unless of course, they travel across the world to visit, which is what Jon Durket's family has done. The left-handed reliever's mother, father, two brothers and sister made the trek from California to Brisbane to give him all that he could ask for, for Christmas.

"My family is here to visit and I get to play baseball," Durket said. "That's pretty much everything I want."

While the Durket family will spend their Christmastime in Sydney, visiting tourist destinations and soaking up the sun during the California winter, another American Bandits player will take his time to explore a little more of Australia as well. Colorado native Sean Jarrett will find himself in the Gold Coast and Byron Bay for parts of his holiday.

So far this ABL season, the two US imports have been effective out of the bullpen, with Durket posting a 4.85 ERA in 13 innings over eight appearances, and Jarrett with a 0.93 ERA in 9 2/3 frames in just five games.

While all of the Brisbane Bandits are looking forward to getting back to the diamond, adding some points to the win column and entertaining fans who will spend part of their holiday at the RNA Showgrounds, here's what they've asked Santa for, for Christmas:

Ryan Searle wants to spend quality time with family and friends. Sean Jarrett is hoping to sign a contract with a Major League Baseball team. Steven Chambers would like a new surfboard. Rory Rhodes is hoping for good weather, because he wants to be in the pool on Christmas Day. Daniel Lamb-Hunt is wishing for a flight back to Germany so he can have his first white Christmas with his girlfriend. Justin Erasmus would love a pair of white-framed Oakley radar blades sunglasses with ice iridium lenses, and an iPad 2.

In addition to writing a Christmas wish list, the Bandits are also looking ahead to the New Year, and have made some resolutions for themselves:

Ryan Searle is looking to get his walk rate down. Sean Jarrett wants to get in good shape for next season. Steven Chambers would like to learn how to cook so that he can survive on the road. Rory Rhodes is going to try to make it to a higher level in the Twins organisation. Justin Erasmus will be living life to the fullest in 2012.

The Brisbane Bandits will be back in action at the RNA Showgrounds for a five-game set against the Canberra Cavalry starting on 29 December. For fans looking to end 2011 and start 2012 on the right foot, there's nothing better than a baseball game, and no better place to take one in next weekend.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.