About the author: Perched in a tree nibbling on who-knows-what that it found who-knows-where, the Ballpark Possum is the Australian Baseball League's newest colour correspondent. Likes: knee-buckling curveballs, bat flips and sacrifice bunts. Dislikes: intentional walks, short porches and backwards K's.
Come my fellow ABL fans, come gather 'round and I'll tell you a story that starts with a stitch - 108 of them to be exact. Let's go!
And a very Happy Holidays from the possum eating the scraps you left out in the bin after a holiday feast!
ICYMI: There's really no excuse for having missed this
Santa came early for Team Australia, and he looked an awful lot like Stefan Welch. With last year's ASG walk-off hero Trent D'Antonio on second base and the score knotted like a shoelace at 1-1 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Welch hit a liner into right field, driving in D'Antonio with the game-winning run and propelling Australia to its seventh consecutive home win in row and second-straight ABL ASG walk-off.
Whew. Our tiny possum heart is racing just writing that.
It was a thrilling way to cap off an exciting and engaging game of baseball. Give credit too to World All-Star outfielder Ronald Acuna, for trying to make the most of a do-or-die situation in the outfield.
Next stop for the Southern Thunder: the World Baseball Classic.
Micheal Nakamura talks real good
No knocks to the dulcet voice of Dave Nilsson, but in his first ABL broadcast, former Major Leaguer, former NPB-er, and Baseball Australia Hall of Famer Micheal Nakamura did a solid job on the mic in the ASG. Possums like baseball, and Nakamura (and Andrew Reynolds, we'll admit) called a good game from up in the broadcast booth. Didn't watch it? Check out the replay and be intrigued.
Rays Spring Training just got a little more sunshine-y (and a little bite-y)
The Tampa Bay Rays recently rewarded several of their young prospects with invitations to Major League Spring Training next year. Both Florida (home of the Rays' Spring Training and regular season action) and Queensland are nicknamed "The Sunshine State," so it's no surprise that among the studmuffins were several former members of the Bandits, including Patrick Leonard (2013/14), Johnny Field (2014/15) and Nick Ciuffo (2015/16). Also in the MLB camp mix is 2012/13 Bite pitcher Andrew Kittredge, who was traded from Seattle to Tampa Bay in November.
In 2014/15, "Johnny Field" became a synonym for "web gem" around the league.
And last year, before his season was cut short by a broken finger, Ciuffo (the Rays' No. 24-ranked prospect) did some studly things of his own.
What's the Answer for Everything in his absence?
The ladder-leading Aces were dealt a blow recently when they announced that Atlanta Braves farmhand Acuna would not be returning to the club for the second half of the season. Acuna was hitting .375 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 20 games.
And boy, could he hit.
He also showed off a gun of an arm, even though it was sometimes in vain.
Tune in next week for another round of observations from around the diamond, courtesy of your new favourite baseball-loving marsupial. Possum out.