Bandits win back to back championships! What does this mean for Baseball Queensland and you, the baseball community?
Firstly my heartiest congratulations to Mark Ready, Paul Gonzalez, David Nilsson and their teams for the amazing season that culminated in the Bandits winning their second consecutive ABL title and keeping the Claxton Shield in Queensland. There is a small but dedicated team that works for the Bandits and it is credit to all of them that once again the Bandits were the most successful team on and off the field.
This year was a little different in that Baseball Queensland was asked to take responsibility for the game day operations for the Bandits and we knew straight away that we needed to engage and rely on the staff already in place. While the organisational structure was a little different, we did ensure the key people responsible for last year's success were retained for this year.
Some may say we took a risk in supporting the BA owned ABL this year but it was and still is an important part of our sport in Australia. The profile of the game continues to grow and the success of the Bandits provides BQ with enormous possibilities for partnerships to develop and encourage participation in our sport. Numbers are critical for the long term sustainability of baseball in Queensland and the success of the Bandits both on and off the field provides us with credibility in our ability to produce results.
The challenge for us now is to convert this success into opportunities at the grass roots level of our game. We need to grow our brand, our game, our business and our people to ensure we continue to succeed and maintain a sustainable level of participation and support.
As the ABL season comes to a close we will continue to develop strategies for the improvement and growth of our game. Our recent forum of regional and club representatives provided our baseball community with the opportunity to provide feedback and thoughts on how we can continue to grow as a coordinated and integrated model.
Six of our Bandits players will be part of Team Australia as they compete in the World Baseball Classic in Japan in March. Success in this arena, particularly with the reinstatement of baseball in the Olympics in Japan in 2020, will continue to shine a light on our sport and provide BQ with a strong platform to engage new players and supporters of our great game.
So, while we need to continue to focus on the grass roots aspects of our game, we also need to ensure the players at the highest level of our sport continue to inspire and set good examples for our up and coming players who hope and dream to play at the highest level they can or those of us who just want to play socially and everywhere in between.
Baseball Queensland and the Brisbane Bandits will continue to work together to provide the highest level of service to our members and players at all levels. However, winning championships shows that we can compete at the highest level and inspires us all to work harder. And it feels great.
Commissioner - Baseball Queensland