By Maxx Tissenbaum
Welcome back, I finally got an internet connection to work for longer than 35 seconds and I’m not being charged to use it! Free wifi might be one of the most difficult things to track down in all of Australia so it’s been a major pain trying to get anything up here. I’ve also noticed that in my spare time here (which I actually have) I’m either practicing, working out, or off on some sort of day trip, I’m on my computer and even my PS4 much less than I normally am during the regular season. A lot has happened in the last month since I posted last, so I’ll try and do a little highlight run.
Off the field we had our most exciting weekend three weeks ago on our Bye Week. In the ABL each team gets a BYE much like the NFL schedule (for those of you in North America and those abroad familiar with the NFL schedule). On our week off we planned a trip up to Hamilton Island, a beautiful resort island in the Whitsundays Islands up by the Great Barrier Reef. Included in our trip was a full day trip to the reef to snorkel, and a half day trip to Whitehaven Beach, the 4th ranked beach in the world. We took a ferry from Hamilton Island out to the Reef, and while on board one of the guides came up and asked if we wanted to go scuba diving. I though it was an awesome idea so I was in right away. Johnny and Goetz also joined the list, while Tommy chose to stay above water. Looking back it was no doubt the best decision I made, and I enjoyed the dive so much that I actually went for a second dive, a deeper, longer free swim about an hour and a half later. It was absolutely incredible to see how small a part of the world we really are. I had this major “wow I’m really insignificant” moment when we swam by a group of giant grouper that were between 5 and 7 feet long.
Seeing those enormous fish right up close made me realize how small a part of the world we really are, and made me want to find other cool places to dive! I think that’ll be an off season activity when I have a Big League income to live on! We made it about 30 feet below the surface and swam for about 40 minutes on the second drive, pointing out different things we saw as we passed by. It was incredibly disorienting too, because to an untrained eye everything looks the same underwater. It’s all blue and fishy! The fish were all gorgeous vibrant colors and swam right around us as though we weren’t even there, same as when we snorkeled at Moreton Island. The four days at Hamilton Island were really incredible, we ate wonderful meals, swam in gorgeous oceans and hung out on beautiful beaches.
The next highlight was the day I found out I was chosen to represent the World All Stars in the ABL All Star Game which was played last week in Melbourne. We were actually at Hamilton Island and I got a text from Alexis (from Canadian Baseball Network and every other important baseball website ever) congratulating me on making the team. I didn’t know that the roster had been released so I immediately flipped on Twitter and checked to see who all made the team. I found that I was going to be joined by 9 other Bandits players as original selections and later Jaz Shergill (former IBL Toronto Maple Leafs pitcher) would win the fan vote to make it 11 Brisbane all stars. The day of the All Star Game was pretty hectic, we flew in that morning, grabbed a quick lunch with the World All Stars and met the other guys then headed right to the ballpark. We took BP, had a pregame spread and watched a little concert on the field before the game. We walked around the field taking pictures in team groups, national groups, and other mixed bag groups. The game was really weird for an All Star Game. We jumped out to an enormous lead and managed to walk the Aussies back into the game, giving up something like 8 or 9 runs in their final two at bats. I had two hits, and did a pretty good job working with a pitching staff I’d mostly never seen before. After the game we headed back to the hotel, went to sleep and were back up and it em early the next morning to fly home. It was a quick in and out affair, a nice honor and a cool game to be involved in.
WATCH: @8_Maxx goes back-to-back with @tcoyle_ for the @BrisbaneBandits. http://t.co/oD5QzXG60y @RaysBaseball @StoneCrabs
— ABL (@ABLeague) December 21, 2014
The team has continued to win which is awesome, we split our most recent series with Canberra thanks in part to a forfeit on their part. In the ABL a team can only have 5 “import” players in the lineup at a time and they had 6 in the lineup for about half the game. We struggled early in the series, and I had a rough stretch through three games, but the finale was a good one for us, and for me. We finished with a 10-3 win, and I went 4 for 5 with 2 home runs. It was a great way to finish up our final home stand of 2014, and to get ready for a BIG series next weekend in Sydney.
Sydney is a big trip for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, they’re a perennial top of the ladder team, and it will be a big step for our team to play good baseball and collect some more wins. Next, the Blue Sox play in the stadium built for the 2000 Summer Olympics so that will be a pretty cool venue to play in. Last but not least I’m also looking forward to Sammy arriving on Saturday as she makes the 2 day long trip down to Australia for a couple of weeks of baseball, and beaches. We’ll do New Years in Brisbane, and spend some time being touristy and seeing all the Queensland has to offer! I’d give a better outline of the plan but I know she’ll read this expecting that I’d leak a secret, but NOPE!
So that’s a really brief wrap up of what’s gone on down here the last month, I’ll try and have this connection work again soon and see if I can get another blog post online soon! Sorry for the delay and the lack of consistency, but again it’s been really tough finding wifi to use. Most of the hotels don’t even have free wifi, it’s normally either like 40 bucks for the weekend or super slow to the point that it isn’t even worth attempting. So onward and upward we go!