Tagged: Reader mail

The Armidale Outlaws Take the Field

Two months ago, I wrote a post about the Armidale Outlaws. For those who may not remember (or never read it in the first place), the Outlaws are a fledgling amateur team in Australia’s Tamworth Winter League. Their inaugural season is now underway.

teamphoto

My post on the Outlaws came about after team founder Mick Alldis wrote me an email that read, in part:

People are passionate about baseball here. So much so that we’ve been able to secure some land from the local University, and they are happy for us to build our diamond on it. Our own little Field of Dreams might bring a homegrown Jackie Robinson, Derek Jeter or Mike Trout all the way to the USA. … We live in a country dominated by cricket and Australian Rules Football (AFL) and are desperate to think of innovative ways  to raise the revenue to build this field. We had an idea. How many people have wanted to co-own a baseball team? For $100 AUS (about $70 US) we’ll send you an Armidale Outlaws cap (Richardson Cap Flexifit design made in the USA) and a Certificate of Ownership.

This fundraising effort was a major success, and readers of this blog are a big reason why. After the post appeared, the Outlaws GoFundMe page was flooded with donations from American baseball fans who found the idea of being named an honorary team co-owner to be a deeply appealing prospect. The Outlaws quickly surpassed their initial fundraising goal of $5000; as of this writing they have amassed $7230.

I never donated to the page myself (I spend my excess funds on pinball and physical media), but an appreciative Mick Alldis sent me an Outlaws care package in recognition of my role in bringing the Outlaws to the attention of stateside fans. I am happy to report that I, too, am an honorary co-owner!

IMG_0294Here’s a closer look at the certificate of ownership, which now proudly hangs in my cubicle spacious and well-appointed office.

IMG_0299In addition to the hat, jersey and certificate, Mick also wrote me a letter. It reads, in part:

We are at present in line to get a $10,000 grant from our local bank for securing the most-ever votes for our community idea. … You can follow that (and vote) on www.heartofourcommunity.com.au

By the time you get this package we will most likely ready to dig out our base paths and construct our mound — this is a key step in establishing ourselves a “home” here in Armidale — which is about a 75-minute drive to where we’ll play the majority of our games in Tamworth. 

Keep an eye out for May 14 — we hope (fingers crossed) that we can live stream a game that day — our first-ever home game in Armidale and a very significant step for us as a club. We hope you can join us online and feel the love as a co-owner and gracious supporter when we needed you most! 

We have amazingly got enough players for three full teams — a A grade and two B grade teams. We will now make up around 30 percent of the total players in the whole Tamworth competition. Talk about making a statement in our first season! 

Mick also noted that the #16 on my Outlaws jerseys was in recognition of the 2016 inaugural season. 
IMG_0302

Finally, Mick included a map of Armidale, in case I ever make it out that way.

IMG_0305I’m thinking that myself and my fellow U.S.-based Outlaw co-owners need to take a field trip to Armidale. Who wants to start a GoFundMe page?

To view a news report on the Outlaws’ debut ballgame, click HERE. These guys are very easy to root for.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

The Armidale Outlaws Want YOU

Last week, I wrote an MiLB.com article about how the West Michigan Whitecaps built their ballpark exclusively with private funds. This piece inspired one Mick Alldis to get in touch with me. Mick, a baseball-loving Australian with a dream, is engaged in a private funding endeavor of his own.

I think the readers of this blog might be interested in what Mick is doing. I’ll let him tell it:

I read your piece on Fifth Third Ballpark (I’m very envious of the ballparks in the U.S.) and while we are nowhere in the league of this type of setup, I thought I’d drop you a line about baseball here in Armidale NSW, Australia. We are a six hour drive from Sydney and three hours inland from the nearest beach (we don’t all live on the beach and punch sharks in the face, you see!)

whitecaps

I’ve played baseball here in Australia since I was a little kid (my claim to fame is that I played against Graeme Lloyd  as a kid growing up in Geelong, Victoria and I think I once tagged him for a home run). Now I find myself building a team in the small town of Armidale NSW (population 25,000).

People are passionate about baseball here. So much so that we’ve been able to secure some land from the local University and they are happy for us to build our diamond on it. Our own little Field of Dreams might bring a homegrown Jackie Robinson, Derek Jeter or Mike Trout all the way to the USA. We will play in the local Tamworth Winter League (beginning in April) and will drive 80 minutes each week to play until our ground becomes a reality.

We live in a country dominated by cricket and Australian Rules Football (AFL), and are desperate to think of innovative ways  to raise the revenue to build this field. We had an idea. How many people have wanted to co-own a baseball team? For $100 AUS (about $70 US) we’ll send you an Armidale Outlaws cap (Richardson Cap Flexifit design made in the USA) and a Certificate of Ownership.

outlawscap

It’s a bit of fun and a chance for us to raise money to build a baseball diamond, dugouts and netting and even purchase some uniforms. We hope that we might find some generous baseball followers out there! Our GoFundMe page is https://www.gofundme.com/vfhx3bxw. We have a recent article written about us on the Australian Baseball Alumni page as well

field of dreams

Image from Armidale Baseball Go Fund Me page.

As of this writing (Wednesday, January 13. 12:21 p.m. ET), eight generous souls have donated a combined $575 Australian dollars to the Outlaws’ $5000 goal. If you, like so many others, have once dreamed of nominal ownership in an amateur baseball team located half a world away, then I urge you to donate some dollarydoos. Plus, that’s a pretty sweet hat.

Thanks for getting in touch, Mick.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz