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Playoffs in Adelaide

January 30, 2012 1 comment

So I just got back from an impromptu trip to Adelaide.  Since the team made the playoffs with the #4 seed we had to face the Adelaide Bite in Adelaide this past weekend.  Last Wednesday at work; myself, and my colleagues Matt and Ashley were discussing what we were going to do over the weekend.  Sydney was supposed to get rained on so at 3.30pm we decided to drive to Adelaide to catch the playoff series.

We hopped in the car around 8.30pm and drove the 14 hours overnight and arrived in Adelaide on Thursday morning.  After a quick power nap we headed to the ballpark and watched the team win 5-3.  They then lost on Friday evening, but swept a doubleheader on Sunday to take the series.  So it was well worth the trip.

You may be thinking what happened to Saturday?  Well we started a game and were winning 8-0 in the third but then rain came through the area and when it finished and they were getting the field ready again the lights went out in the stadium.  Due to a MLB rule since the game was technically still in a rain delay and we were unable to get the lights running again the game was postponed due to rain.  Therefore we had to restart the game, the one where we were killing them 8-0, and play again on Sunday afternoon.  Luckily the boys came through again and won 10-4 in game 3 and then won a nail-biting 1-0 game for the series win.

The games were great and now we’re allowed to travel to Melbourne to see them take on the Aces in Round 2.  The winner of this series which starts Wednesday will head to Perth to face the Heat in the championship series.

Nothing better than traveling around the country and watching some baseball.  The Blue Sox are a great bunch of guys and they appreciated us taking the long drive down there.  It wasn’t all baseball though.  We had some time to ourselves to check out the beach and some other parts of Adelaide.  It is a great little city right on the coast, here are some pics:

Glenelg Beach

 

Coopers Stadium @ Norwood Oval

 

Baseball in twilight hours..

 

View of Adelaide from Mt. Lofty

Another view of Adelaide from up above

 

Rainbow after the rain at Norwood Oval

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Playoffs???

January 22, 2012 Leave a comment

And we’re headed to playoffs!  After a hard-fought series in Perth, including a 15-inning marathon on Friday evening (where i stayed up till 3am to await the final results and write the game story) we finish in 4th place.  This means the team will come back from Perth tomorrow and head out to Adelaide for the first round on Thursday for a best-of-5 series.

SMP Images

 

Coming in 4th also means that we will not be hosting a playoff series at Blue Sox Stadium, so we will begin to take down the stadium starting tomorrow….  =(

Hoping to make a trip to Adelaide for the series, but I will keep you updated.  The other series is Melbourne vs. Perth in Perth.

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Living like an Australian..

January 20, 2012 2 comments

With our last regular season home series in the books this week is all about gearing up for the potential of a home playoff series.  We are currently tied for second place, but only 1.5 games from last place.  While only the top 4 teams make the playoffs, with 4 games left it is do or die.  The team is in Perth, so last night after working on some membership playoff ticket reservations we headed off to THE CRICKET.  I don’t know why but it is referred to as “THE” cricket everytime someone talks about it.

Back when rugby was on I provided a lesson on the different variations of it, and guess what the same goes for cricket!  Cricket is similar to baseball as it is a bat-and-ball game played by two teams of 11 (not 9) players on an oval (not diamond) shaped field. “The pitch” (which is similar to the area between the baseball mound and homeplate) is in the center of the oval and is 22-yards long (similar to the 60′ 6″ in baseball).  The object of the game is to score as many runs as possible while the other team “bowls” (“pitches) and fields trying to dismiss the batter (aka get them out).  A run is scored by the batsman hitting the ball with his bat and running to the opposite end of the pitch (basically striking the ball and running to the first base).  If the runner gets to the opposite side of the pitch before the ball they score 1 run.  There are also innings in cricket, but they can last a hell of a lot longer in cricket then in baseball.

As I stated above Rugby had different types and so does cricket.  In professional cricket the length of a game ranges from 20 overs (an over equals 6 bowl deliveries, aka pitches) per side, to Test Cricket which can last up to 5 days. Currently the Australian and Indian National teams are playing a total of 4 “Test Matches” all across Australia as India tours the country.  Australia has won the first two matches, and they still have 2 more to go.  One batsman, Michael Clarke for Australia was up for a full day in the second test match when he scored 329 runs by himself (he never got out and actually “declared” himself so that India could actually get up to bat and try to beat him).

Test Cricket is the highest standard of first-class cricket. A Test match is an international fixture between teams representing those countries that are Full Members of the ICC.  The first form of  Test cricket that was believed to have begun in the 1870’s when Australia played England.  A test match is usually played in a series of 3-5 matches, each consisting of 3-5 days long.

Because of the length of Test Cricket it is known as a game of strategy as nothing can occur for a longgggg longggg time, or a batsman like Michael Clarke can be up for hours on end.  Therefore standard “limited overs cricket” was introduced in England in the 1963 season.  Limited overs cricket has seen various innovations including the use of multi-coloured kit and floodlit matches using a white ball.

A “one day match”, named so because each match is scheduled for completion in a single day, is the common form of limited overs cricket played on an international level. In practice, matches sometimes continue on a second day if they have been interrupted or postponed by bad weather. The main objective of a limited overs match is to produce a definite result and so a conventional draw is not possible, but matches can be undecided if the scores are tied or if bad weather prevents a result. Each team plays one innings only and faces a limited number of overs, usually a maximum of 50 (aka 300 bowls as each over is 6 bowls).

So in summary there is “Test Cricket” and then “Limited Overs Cricket.”  Have I lost you yet?

Limited Overs Cricket is usually either 50-over or now….

Twenty20 is a new variant of limited overs itself with the purpose being to complete the match within about three hours, usually in an evening session.  I basically call it a home-run derby as each team will see 120 bowls (20 x6) and the goal is to score as many as possible as there are up to 10 batters.  So it is either 120 pitches or 10 outs, whichever comes first.

Twenty20 or the “Big Bash League” is the new fad here and the league has spent millions and millions of dollars on advertising as it started this year.  Sydney has two teams, the Sydney 6ers who play at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and the Sydney Thunder who play at ANZ stadium (aka the home of the olympics).  Wednesday evening we went to watch the Sixers take on the Perth Scorchers at the SCG:

 

 

The Members Stands at the SCG

 

Jess, Ashley & a person who can't take self-snapshots

 

O and the SIxers won by a score of 175-174….unbelievable and exciting finish, no lie!

 

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Kids Day at the ballpark

January 13, 2012 Leave a comment

These kids can take Murray's job

Today was Kids Day at Blue Sox stadium…lots of entertainment and some commentating in the booth (as shown above).  We lost 6-1 to the Adelaide Bite but we had some good times.  Here are some more images (all courtesy of SMP Images):

Pat Maat flipping Wigmore

And he lost...

 

National Anthem got him teary-eyed

Kids run the Bases after the game...and some adults

Dening tries to break up the doubleplay

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Back to baseball

January 10, 2012 1 comment

So after gallivanting around Australia for the past few weeks – first my trip to Queensland with the mum and then down to Canberra for the away series with the Blue Sox it is back to work.

Once mom left I headed down to Canberra to catch the boys in action as they took on the Cavalry.  It was the first time the Blue Sox staff was able to actually sit down and enjoy some baseball this whole season, so while the outcomes weren’t too great (we got swept) we had a good time.  It was just nice to be able to sit back, get a bit of a burn, and cheer on the boys I have worked with all season.  It was also nice to see yet another state of Australia (ACT – Australian Capital Territory) and see a bit of the Australian capital.  Yes Canberra is the capital, not Sydney!  I was told it was not going to be much of anything, but it kind of reminded me of DC a bit, as a lake flows through the middle of the city and there are a few bridges that stretch across it from side to side.  We also got a chance to go out a couple of nights and we made the most of what the city had to offer.

Now this week we are back in the office as we get ready for our last regular season home series.  Can’t believe how time has flown, but this will be our last home series.  We do have the chance of hosting playoff series, but we must come in either 2nd of 3rd and right now we are in a 3-way tie for 3rd with Melbourne and Adelaide.  Perth has all but clinched the top spot as they are 9 games up on second place and their magic number is 1…so win 1 and they get home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The ABL has some strange rules for the playoff structure as 1 plays 2 in the first round and 3 plays 4.

First Round:  1 vs. 2 (at 1)   &  3 vs. 4 (at 3)

Second Round: Winner of 1 vs. 2 gets a bye  & Loser of 1 vs. 2 round 1 –  plays the winner of 3 vs. 4  (at 1 or 2)

Final:  Winner of 1 vs 2 in first round players winner of Second Round game for the championship (at their home ground)

Therefore if we come in 2nd place we can host the second round and if we come in 3rd we can host the first round.  It basically gives the 1 & 2 seeds a chance to play more than 1 playoff series, which I think is weird but whatever.

 

So the games begin tomorrow, we start a 5-game series against the Adelaide Bite, and hopefully we have a bit more fun like we did in December:

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Airport Security

January 8, 2012 Leave a comment

On our 5 day adventure away from Sydney my mother and I were at 5 different airports in Australia; Sydney, Gold Coast, Cairns, Brisbane and Hervey Bay.  I was not asked for an ID once, did not have to take my shoes off once and did not even have to get my bag scanned in one airport.

One it was weird and two it was kind of frightening.  I don’t know if it’s because I am a wary New Yorker or just American but I would rather have everyone checked before I get on an airplane.  Yes I know 9-11 is over 10 years ago and if something was to happen it would probably be in another fashion, but still very eye-opening.

I would like to note that while in Brisbane I was randomly checked for explosives… yes only me  =/

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Fraser Island

January 8, 2012 Leave a comment

The history behind the island is pretty interesting.  A husband and wife, James and … Fraser ventured from Byron Bay back to England when they ship ran ashore at an island just north of Fraser Island.  They jumped in their row-boat and it came ashore on Fraser Island.  James was quickly killed by the native Aborigines and Fraser lived with the natives for a number of years before she was able to escape and find some white men.  Because of her ability to live among those that would have rather killed her the island was named for her and her husband.

The island is purely a sand island that was formed over hundreds of thousands of years as winds, waves and ocean currents have carried sands from the far south-east of Australia, and from as far away as Antarctica (but before Australian and Antarctica split from each other), out to the continental shelf, and in towards the land again in a zigzag pattern, to form a string of sand islands along the Queensland coast.

There is plenty of trees and plants on the island, and there are forests and rainforests at the center of the island.  The West side of the island holds the Kingfisher Bay Resort where we stayed and has the mangroves.  In order to drive on the island you must have a 4×4 vehicle due to treacherous sand.  It is truly an experience to drive through the forest and come out on the East Side of the island on the 75-mile highway (it is what is says, 75-miles of pure beach which you can drive on).  Waves crashing on your right as you head north and then on your left as you head back south to the resort.  Creeks, Sand dunes, shipwrecks and rock pools greet you left and right along the way.  Planes take off and land directly on the beach and it’s just beautiful.

We rented a 4×4 to drive, but they gave me a manual car (which I can not drive and always said I needed to learn – im from Brooklyn, we don’t drive stick there).  Therefore after 2 hours of pleading with them and letting them know it was their mistake since I asked for an automatic, they offered to give us a driver for the day who would bring us anywhere we wanted.  It turned a pretty bad morning in to a beautiful day.

With Chris as our driver we headed up to the Pinnacles, then the Moheno shipwreck, to Eli Creek, to Eulong Resort for some meat pies, and then to Lake McKenzie (the highlight!).  We also went to the McKenzie jetty and finally back to the resort where we caught the sunset from the jetty.  Life doesn’t get much better than that.  Pure beauty!

I highly recommend visiting if you ever find yourself down under.

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