Sydney Blue Sox
2015–16 Australian Baseball League season
|League||Australian Baseball League|
|City||Blacktown, New South Wales|
|Ballpark||Blacktown Baseball Stadium|
|Minor premierships||1 (2010–11)|
|Finals appearances||5 (2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14,2014–15)|
|Assistant GM||Krissie Webb|
The Sydney Blue Sox are a professional baseball team, and one of six foundation teams in the re-formed Australian Baseball League (ABL). The team plays their home games at Blacktown International Sportspark (BISS), one of the two venues used for baseball at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when it was known as Blacktown Olympic Park. The Blue Sox hosted the league's Opening Day for the inaugural season on 6 November 2010, when they played against the Canberra Cavalry, and won the game 1–0. The Blue Sox are the only team in the Australian Baseball League to implement sabermetrics as a way to run their team with Director of Baseball Analytics, Anthony Rescan.
Fan response was very positive for the Blue Sox in the lead up to their inaugural season. As the sole team in New South Wales, they attracted interest beyond the Sydney metropolitan region; as far north as Newcastle, which hosted the former ABL franchise Hunter Eagles throughout the 1990s. Five hundred season tickets were allocated for the 2010–11 season, which sold out two months prior to the season's start; a waiting list for 2011–12 season tickets was soon created. Such was the demand to see professional baseball return to Sydney, several games had sold out well in advance of their scheduled dates, including the season opener.
The creation of the ABL was announced at a press conference on the Gold Coast, at the Palm Meadows Baseball Complex, site of the Major League Baseball Australia Academy Program in July 2009. Though there was speculation at the time that there may be as many as 10 teams in the competition, with teams possibly from New Zealand and Asia, it wasn't until two months later that the number and location of teams was announced: Sydney would have one of five confirmed teams, with Canberra eventually being successful in bidding for the sixth team.
Names and colour schemes for each of the teams were determined through a competition launched in December 2009 called "Name Your ABL Team". Fans were asked to select from one of four options for the team's name or provide their own alternative. Though the four options provided for the Sydney team were "Sydney Sting", "Sydney Rocks", "Sydney Surf" and "Sydney Bluewave", the name announced in August 2010 was "Sydney Blue Sox", with Sydney's colour being the blue traditionally associated with New South Wales sporting teams. The Blue Sox would have Blacktown Olympic Park as their home ground, which had been the New South Wales Patriots home in the Claxton Shield the previous three seasons.
On 19 August 2010, Blue Sox signed Glenn Williams as manager for the 2010–11 season. Williams had last played baseball in Australia with the Patriots in the 2007 Claxton Shield, and played 13 games for the Minnesota Twins during the 2005 Major League Baseball season, becoming the 17th Australian-born player to reach the Major Leagues. The following month, Eddie Bray was appointed as general manager of the club, having held the same role with the Patriots in the 2010 Claxton Shield.
Sydney's initial roster included two players—Chris Oxspring and Koo Dae-Sung—and manager Glenn Williams with Major League experience. With Oxspring also taking on the role of pitching coach, and a number of players with experience from international league's including Nippon Professional Baseball and Korea Baseball Organization, and the late addition to the roster of active Major Leaguers Trent Oeltjen and Rich Thompson, Sydney had the most experienced roster of any of the teams in the league.
The Blue Sox hosted the inaugural game of the league, playing against the Canberra Cavalry at BOP, which they won 1–0. They would go on to sweep the opening series, the first of three series sweeps they would accomplish through the season, the others two against the Adelaide Bite at home, and the Perth Heat in Perth at Baseball Park. Ironically, immediately after sweeping the Heat, Perth swept Sydney at BOP.
Sydney clinched first place in the league in their final game, beating the Cavalry at Narrabundah Ballpark in Canberra. They led Perth by half a game, with Adelaide a further game back, and the Melbourne Aces six games behind the Blue Sox. Finishing first earned Sydney the right to host the major semi-final series, in addition to a second chance if they lost the series, against the second-place Heat. Perth maintained the perfect season record in Sydney, sweeping the series and qualifying directly to the championship series.
The Bite, having defeated the Aces in the minor semi-final series faced the Blue Sox in the preliminary final series at BOP. Game one of the series featured Sydney starting pitcher David Welch, who threw the league's first no-hitter. This would be Sydney's only win of the postseason, as Adelaide came back and won the series 2–1.
Sydney players took three of the six season awards announced by the league:
- Koo Dae-Sung - Reliever of the Year
- Trent Schmutter - Rookie of the Year
- David Welch - Pitcher of the Year
|POY||Pitcher of the Year|
|REL||Reliever of the Year|
|ROY||Rookie of the Year|
|Regular Season Results||Postseason||Awards|
|2010–11||2010–11||1st||24||15||.615||—||Lost MaSF series (Perth Heat 2–0)
Lost PF series (Adelaide Bite 2–1)
|Koo Dae-Sung (REL)
Trent Schmutter (ROY)
David Welch (POY)
|2011–12||2011–12||4th||20||25||.444||14||Won MiSF series (Adelaide Bite 3–1)
Lost PF series (Melbourne Aces 3–2)
|Aidan Francis (ROY)|
|2012–13||2012–13||2nd||26||19||.578||0.5||Lost PF series (Perth Heat 2–0)|
|2013–14||2013–14||2nd||23||23||.500||9.0||Lost PF series (Canberra Cavalry 2–1)|
|2014–15||2014–15||3rd||22||24||.478||9.0||Lost PF series (Perth Heat 0–0)|
|Regular season record||115||106||.520|
Sydney Blue Sox roster - 2014–15 ABL
: 7-day disabled list
|Correct as of 26 January 2015.|
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