Sunday, June 3, 2018

Card Of The Week June 3

The Australian Baseball League is going through a bunch of changes this year.  One thing that is going on is that they are shifting from having the league own all six teams to having independent ownership of the teams.  They are also looking into possible expansion for the 2018-19 season.  It's not clear how well this process is doing.  So far only there has only been ownership announcements for two of the teams - the Sydney Blue Sox and the Canberra Cavalry - and only one new team revealed.  It is expected that the league will reveal what it will look like this upcoming season after the Baseball Australia board meeting this Tuesday - how many teams will be competing and where the new team will play.  Actually to be fair it was expected that we'd have the reveal this past week on May 31st but it's been delayed for a week.  Which may not be a good sign.

That new team is very intriguing.  It will be an all-Korean player team run by an outfit called Winterball Korea.  As I mentioned above, it has not yet been formally announced where the team will play (although I've seen a couple sources including this article saying it will be Geelong, a city on the southern coast of Australia just southwest of Melbourne, so apparently it's not exactly a secret).  I was a bit surprised to realize that this team will NOT be a developmental team for the KBO.  Instead they will be composed of un-drafted amateurs, players who've been released from their KBO teams and Korea players under contract with MLB teams (as long as their MLB team gives permission).  The team has announced that they've signed their first player - 35 year old Kim Kyeong-eon who was released from the Hanwha Eagles this past season after a 17 year career split between Hanwha and the Kia Tigers.  Here's a card of Kim from the 2015 Superstar Baseball Season One set (#SBC1501-135-N):

The other expansion team is expected to be based in New Zealand but it's not clear that all the obstacles standing in the way of a Kiwi team joining the league have been overcome.  Tuesday should prove interesting.


SumoMenkoMan said...

Oh wow. Do the Australians have baseball cards sets for their teams?

NPB Card Guy said...

There were a number of sets for the original ABL back in the 1990's. Since the league restarted in 2010 I think there was one year (2012?) where they had team card sets available. There's a great blog called Australian Custom Baseball Cards whose writer makes (obviously) custom baseball cards for the ABL. I think he actually prints them up as Ryan G has a couple.