Australia: A ball player's retirement destination?
At Globally Ballin we have looked at some of the alternative baseball leagues, mainly Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan (NPB), Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) in Taiwan, and the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) in Korea. However, there is one that is beginning to catch the eyes of people previously unfamiliar; that league is the Australian Baseball League or the ABL.
With eight teams, all except one in Australia (the other is in New Zealand), the league has been drawing talent from all over the world, as well as, has been shipping out refined talent to other global destinations including the United States. However, the former of the two is what we are looking at today; who is this "talent" they are bringing in? Well if you are familiar with the MLB in the early to mid-2000s you should familiar with two players now in the ABL. The first of the two played for five MLB teams from 2006-2015 with an ALCS MVP Award in 2012. Delmon Young, played in the Australian Baseball League for two seasons, for the Melbourne Aces (2018/19 & 2019/20).
The second of the names was announced recently. On August, 28, it was announced that Manny Ramirez would be turning in his "Red Sox" for "Blue Sox." In an Instagram post, the Sydney Blue Sox announced,
"We are excited to welcome Manny Ramirez to the Blue Sox family!
- World Series MVP
- All-Star x 12
- 2 x World Series Champion
- 15th all-time HR leader in MLB
- Topps All-Star Rookie Team
December 18th can’t come soon enough!"
The post was liked by a couple thousand including teams from the league like the Auckland Tuatara; this showing that the teams in the league see this as a positive opportunity for the league to grow, bring in bigger names, and more eyes.
While he is 48 years old, his name is synonymous with baseball. In addition to bringing in even more eyeballs in Australia, this move is sure to bring in occasional viewership from fans back in New England, as well as, the rest of the US who remember watching the future-hall-of-famer.
With more eyes comes more money. With more money comes more growth. With more growth comes better players. With better players, the cycle continues. Whether it's a branding investment or a roster asset or both, the Sydney Blue Sox and the rest of the ABL will benefit from bringing Ramirez to the league.