After a playing and coaching career that has seen him move from the United States to Japan to Eastern Europe, Jason Pospishil has landed the top job for his hometown team. In just the Sydney Blue Sox third year of existence, Pospishil is ready to take over the managerial position.
Pops, as the Penrith native is referred to by players, coaches and staff, spent the past two seasons serving as an assistant coach for the Blue Sox under manager Glenn Williams in 2010/2011 and Kevin Boles in 2011/2012 before earning the promotion this season.
"I have been able to see how both (Williams and Boles) have prepared our ball club the past two years and what systems we have in place," Pospishil said. "Since we have had very little roster turnover the past two years I am very familiar with the players so I know what each guy can and can't do so that allows us to see where we need to add and subtract."
While the position with the Blue Sox is Pospishil's first managerial position at this level, the 29-year-old has a wealth of baseball experience as both a player and coach. Originally he was signed as an international free agent by the Minnesota Twins at the age of 18 and stayed in the Twins system from 2001-2003. At the conclusion of his playing time in the States, he proceeded to play in the Japanese Industrial League in 2005 and then the Croatian Baseball League from 2006-2008.
In addition to his professional playing career, Pospishil spent the first half of 2012 as a coach in the Twins minor league system and then returned to Australia to coach at the Major League Baseball Australian Academy as an infield coordinator. It's this kind of experience that helps Pospishil prepare.
"The beauty of being a utility player in professional baseball is that you have to be across so many aspects of the game that it becomes an education in itself," he said. "With (the Twins) letting me manage one of their extended spring training teams, well that showed a great deal of trust which gave me increased confidence that I could manage at the professional level."
With a roster that includes former major league players such as Chris Oxspring, Trent Oeltjen and Dae-Sung Koo, Pospishil has a large reason to believe the team will be successful on the field along with the promotion of baseball in Australia.
"(Having former MLB players) is so important in many ways," he said. "First, it bring instant credibility to the league that players with major league experience see it as a valuable league to play in. Second it gives our young professional players idols to aspire to as they are standing on the same field as players who have reached the pinnacle of our game."
With the Blue Sox season beginning on the 26th of October with a three-game series against Team Australia, and their Australian Baseball League season beginning on the 2nd of November at the Canberra Cavalry Pospishil is confident the team is prepared.
"We have set about the goal of developing a more positive culture around the club and by what has transpired so far in Spring Training, I feel we are well on our way to achieving that goal," Pospishil said. "Apart from that, winning an ABL championship is a goal that every team will have set and we are no different. If I told you we weren't working towards that then I would be lying more than a sloth does in a tree."
While Pospishil is confident in his team and is prepared for the 46-game ABL regular season which concludes at the end of January, he understands the bigger picture.
"This isn't about me but about our organisation as a whole moving forward in trying to become more professional and trying to achieve our goal of winning an ABL championship. In addition, it is imperative we continue to look into making the ABL a viable league moving in to the future."