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Big Bite - unpacking all the news
What you need to know about owners and teams
06/06/2018 12:22 AM ET
Crows midfielder Hugh Greenwood hangs out with a pair of young fans.
Crows midfielder Hugh Greenwood hangs out with a pair of young fans. 

Baseball fans in Adelaide are still digesting a historic 48 hours that have changed the sport's landscape Australia.

On Monday evening we learned the Adelaide Crows acquired the Adelaide Bite, proudly presented by SA Power Networks, and they will take over operations of the club. Then, on Tuesday morning, we learned New Zealand will officially become the eighth member of the Australian Baseball League (ABL).

The news kept rolling in that evening when fans learned the eight-team ABL will re-align as a two conference system that has us in a conference alongside Korea Winterball, Perth Heat and Melbourne Aces.

It's an exciting time to be a baseball fan and there is a great sense of hope and optimism surrounding the sport. But what exactly does it mean for the Adelaide Bite? Let's unpack it for you.

ADELAIDE CROWS TAKE CHARGE

It's not every day that baseball is front page news of The Advertiser, on every major news outlet and is a topic of conversation around the city. This is the kind of power, strength and excitement the Adelaide Crows bring to the Bite and baseball in South Australia. They bring an incredible wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise as to how a sports organisation should operate.

Crows chairman Rob Chapman alluded to just that during Tuesday's press conference at West Lakes.

"[Crow's CEO Andrew Fagan] and his team have expertise and capability in sports management and sports administration and when we talk about growing businesses you should play to your strength," he said.

Chapman also said the Crows asses a lot of opportunities that come across their desk, but this one fits 'hand in glove.'

"It's South Australian. It's about helping a local team who deserve the opportunity to be the best they can be. Andrew and his team have some capabilities to lend them and build upon a great base they've built for a number of years."

That "base" which Chapman speaks of is the incredible, family-friendly and grass roots feel you experience at a baseball game.

Bite General Manager Nathan Davison said this does not change with the purchase of the club and we are looking to grow the fan experience. 

"Every year we want to make sure the feeling when you enter the ballpark improves. The interaction, player involvement and fan engagement opportunities all stay the same and we'll try to make this the best year possible," he said.

"We want to offer the best value for money and best experience in South Australia for any sport around. It's hard to have a bad time when you come to a game - anyone who comes to the baseball knows this.

"Our hope is that with more support we can get more people to the games to experience what we know is the best sport in country."

The positivity continued with Crows CEO Andrew Fagan adding there is plenty the Crows like about the Bite and that's exactly why they jumped on board.

"Whether it's fan development, market development, commercial development and just building on the work that Baseball SA has put in over the last series of years, and looking to apply our resources and expertise in sports management to ensure baseball will be prosperous for many years to come," Fagan said.

For fans worrying about a name change or difference in branding, Fagan has assured nothing will change; the Bite will continue to operate as the Bite.

"There's been some equity built in that brand and we are going to sit there and provide capability and support and look to drive growth for the sport of baseball," he said.

Meanwhile, Davison and his team here at West Beach it's full steam ahead in preparation for the season.

"Manager Chris Adamson will stay with the Bite alongside his coaching staff of Luke Prokopec, Michael Dunn and Scott Gladstone. He said the deal with the Crows gives the club some opportunities that would not normally be available.

"In terms of tapping into expertise on how they run their organisation it's huge. We can learn a lot in terms of player attraction, off-field support, medical staff, high performance departments," Adamson said.

"It opens a lot of doors in what we can do and the success we can have."

He also added that whether the sport is baseball or football, the end goal is the same.

"The Crows are an organisation that has a proven track record of having success in the sporting realm. Albeit that baseball and football are different sports the goal is still to have success on the field and they can help us align that to baseball."

For more coverage you can read about Reece Homfray's breaking coverage of the story and the Crows building their reach. You can also watch the story from Ten News Adelaide.

2018/19 SEASON STRUCTURE CONFIRMED

Adelaide will play in the Southwest Conference for our 40-game season which will remain the same with five series at home and five away. Against Northeast foes Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney and New Zealand each series will either be home or away and will swap in 2019/20.

For Adelaide we will get eight games against a Korean team featuring young guns, some All-Stars and veterans with 16-year Korean Baseball Organisation (KBO) veteran Kim Kyung-Eon committed to the team already.

Other Koreans with a link to Adelaide include current Milwaukee Brewer, Ji-Man Choi, and pitchers Hei-Chun Lee and Seon-Gi Kim, with Kim currently at KBO side Nexen Heroes.

All 40 of their games will be broadcasted into Korea and theymay be based in Geelong, although not confirmed.

Adelaide's Southwest Conference provides plenty of intrigue for Davison, and opportunity.

"Ours is a great challenge. Melbourne and Perth have historically been arch rivals and we have had some classic games vs. them in the past," he said.

"Eight games against Korea is going to be a challenge and exciting, and it offers a chance to expand our brand to Asia, too," Davison said.

"We saw the effect that Asian players like Chang Tai-Shan had with our team last year so there is the chance to expand on that."

Manager Chris Adamson is also excited to see what this means in terms of recruitment with up to 12 import positions now available, with negotiations already under way.

"Straight away - the access we can have to a wider base of players. GIven the expansion is looking to get into Asia it's a market that has been relatively untapped. We had a taste of it last year… we are excited to get more," he said.

There is also familiarity with the New Zealand, even though we don't know their roster. Several Kiwis have played for the club including Connar O'Gorman, Max Brown, Beau Bishop and former big-leaguer John Holdzkom. Excluding Holdzkom, that trio represented New Zealand in the 2017 WBC Qualifiers alongside Canberra's Scott Cone and recent Philadelphia signee and Sydney rookie, Kyle Glogoski.

Former Arizona and Atlanta pitcher, Josh Collmenter, is a potential import after being announced as a member of New Zealand's Under-15 pitching staff team.

Baseball Australia CEO Cam Vale said the addition of both teams will provide positives for fans.

"To have secured two expansion teams is exciting for the sport, the teams and baseball in Australia as a whole. It means more games for fans to engage with, either in-stadium or from their devices," he said.

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