Carnival 2016: an update

The twentieth Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival will be held at Prince of Wales Reserve, Gillies Street, Ballarat, from Friday 18 March to Sunday 20 March 2016 (inclusive).

Preliminary discussions with City of Ballarat indicate that the timing is not expected to clash with any other event, prompting us to issue this early notification to enable teams and individuals to make arrangements well in advance.

The Carnival will be held the weekend after the Labour Day Weekend (when Baseball Victoria finals are expected to be completed). This will also be the weekend prior to Easter, as School Holidays commence on 24 March. While there was a later weekend available (1-3 April), that would be during School Holidays – not a preferred option for many.

VENUE AND FIELDS AVAILABLE.

All games will again be played at Prince of Wales Reserve, utilising all three baseball fields with the archery area as a fourth option. While we are expecting council to do further improvements to make the archery area safer and more baseball-friendly, we expect that it will again be used sparingly (with no more than seven or eight games over the three days).

TEAM NUMBERS AND ENTRY.

In response to the challenge of scheduling enough games over just three days, for 2016 we have set an ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM of 24 teams in total. That would enable each team to play at least four preliminary games before finals. Anything less than 20 teams would allow us to revert to a minimum of five preliminary games per team prior to finals.

Teams will be required to make a definite commitment prior to Christmas 2015. Although our regular entries will of course be extended consideration in that regard, new teams are advised to make the commitment prior to Christmas. Once the maximum of 24 has been met, further expressions of interest will be placed on an emergency list in the event of any late withdrawal.

AGE AND TEAM GROUPINGS.

Being our twentieth year and with the interest clearly there, we flag our intention to run a 50 Plus competition in addition to the existing 45 Plus and 35 Plus divisions. Given the rapid increase in team numbers and playing capabilities of the 35 Plus competition, we also anticipate splitting that division into Division One and Division Two (along the existing lines of the 45 Plus).

There can be a wide range of ages, fitness and abilities in any age group. An ongoing challenge is to find ways of enforcing minimum age requirements while seeking to ensure that all teams are competitive and are reasonably comfortable against any opposition. None of us ever wants to see blowouts or lopsided contests that are no fun for anyone. We remain open to suggestions of how we can best accommodate all teams and all players in this regard.   

Structure for 2016 may thereby look something like this:

50 PLUS.  Minimum of four or five teams to be viable.

45 PLUS.  Likely to again be two divisions, ideally with four or five in each group.

35 PLUS. Anticipated to be two divisions, with four or five teams in each.

All of that will of course depend on team preferences and on the number of team entries.

DRAW, NIGHT GAMES AND EARLY STARTS.

Fitting between forty-five and fifty-games into three days is a tough ask and it is obviously a challenge for host club Ballarat City Brewers that worked its collective arse off again in 2015.

Teams should again expect that there will be three games first-up on the Friday (likely 8.30 start) and again on the Saturday. For Sunday we expect that all four grounds will be used for three morning sessions before finals. There will be a single game on the Friday night and a single game on the Saturday night. We have ruled out a Thursday night game and a second night game on both Friday and Saturday because that would place too much pressure on umpires and on the host club.

UMPIRES.

Speaking of this fine body of persons, the Victorian baseball community is generally aware of the recent retirement of elder statesman Kevin McMurrugh, who has given the game such magnificent and sustained service over several decades. Kevin has been a great supporter of baseball at all levels, including the Victorian Masters since 1997. We congratulate Kevin on his contribution to the sport, we thank him for his expertise and his unqualified assistance - and we trust that we will continue to see him around the game for many years to come.

All of our umpires at this year’s Carnival again did a terrific job. We hope to see all of them, and more, back in Ballarat as we celebrate our twentieth year in 2016.

BITS AND PIECES.

Since the Carnival returned to Ballarat in 2011, there seem to have been ongoing works at Prince of Wales and some associated disruptions to access, parking and the like. While I do not believe that these matters have caused any serious issue with our visitors, indications are that the entire park is likely to be considerably enhanced and more user-friendly by next March.   

Finally, like many others who surely shake their heads and wonder where the hell the last two decades have gone, I extend my personal congratulations to all of you who have supported this event and have helped make it the great success story that it has become over a dozen years in Ballarat and another eight drought years in Geelong.

Masters baseball has become a serious phenomenon that has enjoyed steadily increasing and quite staggering popularity across Australia and internationally – especially over the past twenty-something years.

All of those who have assisted in helping promote the activity should feel great pride in what has been achieved in keeping baseball people actively engaged in team sport, with all of the positive social and personal benefits that derive from that continued involvement.

To Team Managers and organisers, thank you again for your help. Please contact me at any time if you have suggestions or questions regarding conduct of the twentieth Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival.

Best wishes.

Kingsley Collins (Administrator)

http://www.vicmasters.baseball.com.au

https://www.facebook.com/vic.masters.98

 

2015 Carnival another resounding success

Sunday 29 March 2015

Played throughout in the characteristically positive and fun-filled spirit of the event, the nineteenth Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival was wrapped up in picture-perfect conditions at Prince of Wales Reserve this afternoon.

Three days of jam-packed action concluded with finals in each of the age groups.

In 45 Plus Division One, it was Big Cat Tomatoes who delivered the goods with a strong 9-4 result over Coburg – another perennial finalist – while Tassy Tigers (team image to come) excited their band of engaged supporters with a thumping 12-1 result over a Tomatoes second side playing in its first 45 Plus Division Two series in this group. For the Tassy boys, too, it was their first finals appearance – and one that delivered their first title in nine years of travelling across for the series.

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With finals contenders not decided until the early Sunday afternoon round, the 35 Plus Division saw two quality outfits in Pandas and Big Cat Tomatoes pitted against each other. Gaining an early break behind some stellar pitching, however, Pandas were never threatened on their way to a 14-2 mercy rule outcome that reinforced their status as a Masters powerhouse both at this series and elsewhere.

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While we congratulate the winners and we acknowledge the efforts of all teams making it to the playoff stage, we pay homage to all of our participants – and all of our twenty-one teams – for making this series another outstanding success.

Masters sport can be a seriously uplifting activity, which largely explains and defines the popularity of this particular unique event. Once again, all teams, officials and supporters embraced the spirit of participation, healthy competitiveness, social engagement and fun that underpin the Carnival.

To the new team entries, and to all of our new players, we again say welcome. To all we extend our congratulations and our appreciation for the manner in which you honoured and further strengthened those Carnival principles.

We extend our thanks to the Ballarat City Brewers, Mounties and Alfredton clubs for having their grounds in terrific condition for the event, and for maintaining the fields over the course of the weekend. Our fourth ground - the Field of Nightmares – was a significant improvement on previous years, complete with portable mound generously loaned by Werribee Baseball Club.

We thank the City of Ballarat for its continued support of the Carnival and we hope that council will see fit to further improve and develop the overflow field in view of the increased number of teams which next year will be capped at an absolute maximum of twenty-four.

While the support of all three clubs is very much appreciated, we particularly acknowledge the herculean effort of host club Ballarat City Brewers, which did another fantastic job in efficiently and good-naturedly meeting the demands created by a large group of visitors.

We thank Umpires’ Coordinator Bruce Suttor and his group of adjudicators and we trust that scorers, drivers and others providing assistance to teams will be extended the credit and the recognition that they richly deserve.   

While dates for the 2016 Carnival have not yet been set, there appear to be two choices available to us – 18-20 March (likely to be the week after Baseball Victoria finals) or 1-3 April (middle weekend of School Holidays). A decision will be made in the near future, after both options have been assessed.

See our GALLERY for a collection of images from the weekend. Teams are encouraged to use our images in promotional and other reasonable manners as they see fit.

Well done again, all! And best wishes.

Kingsley Collins (Administrator)

Competition intense heading to Day Three

It was a magnificent occasion for baseball at Prince of Wales Reserve today, as teams from all three divisions jockeyed for potential play-off berths leading into the Sunday finale.

Despite dropping a game to Golddiggers, Coburg has already qualified for the 45 Plus Division One final and is likely to meet Big Cat Tomatoes, although the Pandas could engineer an upset of sorts if they can inflict a thumping win on the Tomatoes, while the Diggers are destined for a fourth versus fifth shootout with Sandringham.

45 Plus Division Two is at a fascinating stage, with Tassy Tigers, Bendigo and Big Cat Tomatoes locked at two wins and a loss each heading into the final preliminary round on Sunday morning, while Fitzroy, Newport and the Bees have all notched a win and will be keen to finish on a high note.

With all teams producing high quality baseball in this division, the 35 Plus finalists are still to be decided. Bees and Pandas are both undefeated after three games in their group and will meet tomorrow to determine who will head their pool and thereby qualify to meet either Big Cat Tomatoes or Sloths, who will also meet in a deciding preliminary game.

While the three other teams in each group cannot make the 35 final, we can be sure that they will be primed to finish the series in a memorable fashion.

The action resumes at Prince of Wales Reserve on Sunday, starting at 8.30 AM.

Scroll down for a selection of images from Saturday games.

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Coburg, Big Cat Tomatoes, Pandas show the way

With the weather marginally on the improve in the afternoon, a full book of Friday games produced an interesting  spread of results across the three divisions as the nineteenth Victorian Masters continued at Prince of Wales Reserve today.

Coburg and Big Cat Tomatoes went two from two in 45 Plus Division One, while the Pandas split their two games and reigning titleholders Golddiggers and newly promoted Sandringham are yet to open their account. With a win in their only Friday games, Bendigo and Newport sit atop the Division Two table ahead of Fitzroy (one and one), Big Cat Tomatoes (one and one) and the thus far winless Tassy Tigers and Bees outfits.

The 35 Plus group has already produced some scintillating baseball, highlighted by two strong wins to Big Cat Tomatoes, an imperious showing by the Pandas, a one-run Bees thriller over Ballarat and a share of the spoils that saw Cods, Sloths, Red Sox and Doncaster each post an early victory.

With fine, sunny conditions in prospect for the weekend, the series is bound to hot up – in both the literal and figurative sense – as our ageing warriors test their bodies, their willpower, their stamina, their reputations and almost assuredly their wallets as they continue to lock horns onfield and in after-hours frivolity.   

Scroll down for a few images from the Friday action. More to come shortly. And, yes, bribes are accepted for photoshopping or for non-publication.

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Damp start to Carnival

The Victorian Masters has for nineteen years set the trends and the standards for mature-aged sport. This time around it was a more dubious opening than we might have expected.

For this first time in its illustrious history, the Carnival was affected by weather to the extent that the Thursday night game between Ballarat and Tassie Tigers in 35 Plus had to be abandoned after 35 minutes or so – with the score at 2-2.

Teams have agreed to reschedule the contest for 2.30 PM on Saturday.

With conditions predicted to improve significantly through Friday and over the weekend, we are poised for another fantastic weekend of Masters baseball at Prince of Wales Reserve.

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Carnival Update: 16/17 March 2015

PLEASE NOTE:  there have been some minor changes to scheduling posted during Tuesday 17 March. The Ballarat vs Bees 35 Plus game originally scheduled to start at 10.30 AM on Friday 27 March has been moved to a 2.30 PM start. That will have no effect on other games, but it will alter a handful of the ground allocations on Friday and Saturday. The time slots affected for ground allocations are 2.30 - 4.00 on Friday and 10.30 - 12.00 on Saturday.

 

Welcome, all, as we prepare for another Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival.

It will – incredibly - be the nineteenth staging of this enduring annual event that started out as a pretty laid back, four-day and four-team series all of those years ago.

While it is still very much laid-back, the Carnival has expanded to twenty-one teams now compressed into a jam-packed schedule over just three days (and a couple of evenings).

The 2015 Victorian Masters will be held at Prince of Wales Reserve, Gillies Street Ballarat, from Friday 27 March to Sunday 29 March (inclusive). There will also be a Thursday night game – between Ballarat and a first-time 35 Plus entry in Tassy Tigers.

The website contains information previously posted (below) regarding team numbers, game length, Series Draw and other administrative details. At this point we refer Team Managers and players to the following updates.

AGE GROUPS

We have stayed with the 35 Plus and 45 Plus groupings, with players to be eligible if they will have reached the minimum age during the year of competition – IE by 31 December 2015.

GAMES AND FINALS QUALIFICATION

As mentioned earlier, the increased number of teams and an odd number in one group has caused some juggling of the schedule to ensure that all teams play at least four preliminary games before finals.

45 PLUS DIVISION ONE. All five teams will play each other by Saturday night. The leading team after those four games will go straight to the Sunday final. The other four teams will carry their win/loss record into a Sunday morning game, with the highest-placed cumulatively after that to go to the final.

45 PLUS DIVISION TWO. All six teams will play four games each by Sunday morning, with the top two teams to play off in the final.

35 PLUS. This has been split into two groups of five. Each team will play four preliminary games by Sunday morning, with the top team in each group going to the afternoon final on the main diamond.

GROUNDS AND GAME TIMES

With twenty-one teams entered, we will again be using the archery field as a fourth ground – although only for a handful of games. The City of Ballarat has agreed to improve the archery area so that home plate (and a new backnet) will be relocated to the clubroom corner of archery.

This should mean that the overflow archery ground will at least have a half-decent infield surface. No team will have more than one game on that area, which will provide us with options should we lose any game time through weather.

Games will by necessity be starting at 8.30 AM on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. While we do not anticipate any late changes to the actual Draw, there may be one or two minor changes to ground allocation or start times of particular games. Any such changes will be notified well in advance.

TEAM ENTRY

If you have not yet finalised your squad and have not paid team entry, please do so ASAP. As always, we remain flexible with the naming of final squads, although no interchange or addition will be allowed after a team has played its first game.

SCORERS AND UMPIRES

Each team is expected to supply its own scorer.

Bruce Suttor will this year be assisting us with umpires’ coordination. All teams are invited to bring their own umpire if possible. Umpires are paid a modest amount per game and there is no limit on the number of games in which they can officiate.

Please inform either Bruce (bsuttor@elfic.com.au) or me directly if you are bringing an umpire.

PLAYER REGISTRATION AND INSURANCE

Team Managers are asked to remind their players that they require current ABF registration to be covered by the national insurance scheme. The Carnival is sanctioned by Baseball Australia – to whom we pay a fee – which provides a degree of protection as an approved activity.

CATERING AND HAPPY HOUR

Ballarat City Brewers will again be providing all catering for the weekend. The Brewers will be offering a range of reasonably-priced food and drink for the duration of the Carnival. The club is now run by an enthusiastic and largely youthful band of workers who are committed to again make the series a great success for everyone concerned.

If you have any issues or any particular requests over the weekend, please do not hesitate to let catering staff or club officials know.

The Friday Night Happy Hour tradition will of course continue, with all teams, officials and supporters invited to partake of cut-price drinks and complimentary food after completion of the Friday afternoon games. Four games have been scheduled for the last afternoon time slot on the Friday. While that equates to just eight teams – plus participants for the Friday night game – all of our visitors are invited to attend the Happy Hour (or two).

We have again opted to provide a complimentary barbecue (sausages, hamburgers, salads and bread) for players, scorers, officials and supporters. Should numbers require, pizzas might be added to the menu to ensure that all are properly fed. Or improperly, depending on one’s point of view.

Drinks will be provided at reduced or cost price for an hour or so prior to the night game.

PLAYER BREAKFASTS

Breakfasts will be available on the Saturday and Sunday, from 7.30 onwards, depending on demand.

TEA AND COFFEE

To make it more convenient for players and supporters while reducing pressure on canteen staff, the Brewers will again be operating on a self-serve honour system. A tea and coffee area will be set aside in the undercover area near the clubrooms. Players and supporters will be able to serve themselves while being asked to make a $ 1.00 contribution to cover the cost of the service.

FIRST-AID

We will have a qualified first-aid person on site for the duration of the series. Our first-aid man (Anthony Perkins) will be based immediately inside the clubrooms area and will also be doing the rounds during game times. Anthony will be wearing a distinctive top and his mobile number will be posted with a First Aid logo in dugouts.

MASSAGE

For those super-fit Masters athletes requiring attention over the weekend, masseuse Narelle will be available in the clubrooms during a number of time slots each day. A modest cash payment will be required per 15-minute session.

By direct arrangement with Narelle on Friday (1.00 – 4.00 PM), Saturday (10 - 12 AM and 3.00 - 5.00 PM) and Sunday (10.00 AM – 12.00 PM and 2.00 – 4.00 PM). These times are subject to change and we will supply more information as it becomes available by opening day.

PARKING

With a large number of people in attendance over the weekend, safety and convenience are paramount.  A large, sealed and lit parking area is available to the lake side of the baseball complex (near the aquatic centre). Ample parking space will also be available on the site of the former main diamond. Please take note of any signage relating to parking given the clear risks involved where baseballs are being smacked around – and remain especially alert when games are being played on the archery area.

THE SPOILS OF VICTORY

While we do not award individual medals, we have this year introduced what we feel are pretty tasteful plaques to be awarded to the first and second place-getting teams in each age group. Those plaques will be retained permanently, while our historical, certainly iconic and by now somewhat moth-eaten shields will be held by the winners for the ensuing twelve months.

ON RULES

The Carnival Rules have been progressively developed over the years and have served us pretty well.

The only additions of significance for 2015 are a tightening up of the age requirement and the introduction of a Collision Rule, which reads as follows:

Collision Rule.  No deliberate or negligent physical contact between players is acceptable (in particular, on plays at the home plate). In any tag or force situation, runners will be required either to slide or to give up on the play. Any conduct that in the umpires’ opinion was either negligent or deliberate in causing physical contact (or attempting any physical contact) will result in a mandatory “out” call and the ejection of the offending player for the rest of that game.

Managers, players and umpires should acquaint themselves with the Carnival Rules, which are posted on the website. For new team entries, especially, we refer you to pitching limitations (four innings per game), extra hitters, courtesy runners and other modifications.

ACCOMMODATION, FOOD AND BALLARAT SOCIAL LIFE

Most visiting teams will by now have organised accommodation. If you require assistance in that regard – or if you simply want to gain a sense of where Masters baseballers might go for a decent meal or some entertainment – try this site:

VISIT BALLARAT

We extend a hearty welcome to our new teams, and to all the players and supporters becoming involved in Masters for the first time. To our returning teams and our regulars, we say thank you for continuing to support and promote the phenomenon of Masters baseball.

May a terrific weekend be had by all!

Should you require any further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Best wishes.

Kingsley Collins (Administrator)

03 53329202     0488 735297

www.vicmasters.baseball.com.au

https://www.facebook.com/vic.masters.98

 

Carnival Update: 26 February 2015

The 2015 Victorian Masters will be held at Prince of Wales Reserve, Gillies Street Ballarat, from Friday 27 March to Sunday 29 March (inclusive). There will also be a Thursday night game – between City Brewers and a first-time 35 Plus entry in Tassy Tigers.

AGE GROUPS.

We will be staying with the 35 Plus and 45 Plus groupings, with players to be eligible if they will have reached the minimum age during the year of competition – IE by 31 December 2015.

TEAM NUMBERS/GAMES/GAME LENGTH.

Every year since the Carnival returned to Ballarat we have spoken about imposing a limit of twenty teams overall (solely because of ground and time constraints). We have never had to do that. For various reasons there are usually team withdrawals and we have only once reached the magical number of twenty.

This time around, support for the Carnival firmed up dramatically, to the extent that we will have 21 teams overall – eleven in 45 Plus and ten in the rapidly-expanding 35 Plus competition.

The increase in team entries presented us with certain challenges in seeking to accommodate a minimum number of games and to be fair to all entries within the three-day time constraint. While reduction in the length of games was an option, we have stayed with ninety minutes for all games (including finals) and we have sought to provide a reasonable break between games (30 minutes).

Accordingly, we have based the schedule on a minimum of four preliminary games for all teams in all age groups. We have also ensured that all teams have games scheduled into the Sunday.

DRAW

The Series Draw has been posted on the Carnival website and is available in printable form. Please let me know as soon as possible if you spot any anomalies or typos that might be confusing.

GROUNDS AND SCHEDULING

With twenty-one teams entered, we will again be using the archery field as a fourth ground – although only for a handful of games. The City of Ballarat has been supportive in this regard and has agreed to improve the archery area so that home plate (and a new backnet) will be relocated to the clubroom corner of archery.

This should mean that the overflow archery ground will at least have a decent infield surface. No team will have more than one game on that area, which will provide us with options should we lose any game time through weather.

Games will by necessity be starting at 8.30 AM on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

All teams will have a spread of games across all grounds, with at least one on the main diamond and with a reasonable balance between home and away status. Commonsense should of course be applied to dugout occupation where a team – either home or away – has consecutive games on a particular diamond. The team will remain in the same dugout while home/away status is still observed.

We have sought to factor in considerations for teams playing a night game, for travelling longer distances and for back-to back games in the case of doubleheaders, although that has not always been possible.

TEAM ENTRY

Team entry closed on Friday 13 February 2015. As always, we offer some flexibility for the provision of team lists and payment of the $ 600 team entry fee, which we encourage you to finalise ASAP. Teams can include up to twenty players, although we understand that there may be some changes to playing personnel between team entry and the playing of a team’s first game.

SCORERS AND UMPIRES

Each team is expected to supply its own scorer.

Bruce Suttor will this year be assisting us with umpires’ coordination. All teams are invited to bring their own umpire if possible. Umpires are paid a modest amount per game and there is no limit on the number of games in which they can officiate.

Please inform either Bruce (bsuttor@elfic.com.au) or me directly if you are bringing an umpire.

PLAYER REGISTRATION AND INSURANCE

Team Managers are asked to remind their players that they require current ABF registration to be covered by the national insurance scheme. The Carnival is sanctioned by Baseball Australia – to whom we pay a fee – which provides a degree of protection as an approved activity.

However, we understand the situation of players either returning to the game or new to the game who might reasonably balk at the idea of paying a BA annual registration to play a handful of games. I believe that some players in that position have secured a short-term insurance cover at a reduced rate. Should people have, or choose to have their own private insurance cover, then that is a safe option.

CATERING AND HAPPY HOUR

Ballarat City Brewers will again be providing all catering for the weekend. The Brewers will be offering a range of reasonably-priced food and drink for the duration of the Carnival. The club is now run by an enthusiastic and largely youthful band of workers who are committed to again make the series a great success for everyone concerned.

If you have any issues or any particular requests over the weekend, please do not hesitate to let catering staff or club officials know.

The Friday Night Happy Hour tradition will of course continue, with all teams, officials and supporters invited to partake of cut-price drinks and complimentary food after completion of the Friday day games.

We have again opted to provide a complimentary barbecue (sausages, hamburgers, salads and bread) for players, scorers, officials and supporters. Should numbers require, pizzas might be added to the menu to ensure that all are properly fed. Or improperly, depending on one’s point of view.

Drinks will be provided at reduced or cost price for an hour or so prior to the night game.

PLAYER BREAKFASTS

Breakfasts will be available on the Saturday and Sunday, from 7.30 onwards, depending on demand.

TEA AND COFFEE

To make it more convenient for players and supporters while reducing pressure on canteen staff, the Brewers will again be operating on a self-serve honour system. A tea and coffee area will be set aside in the undercover area near the clubrooms. Players and supporters will be able to serve themselves while being asked to make a $ 1.00 contribution to cover the cost of the service.

The club is also exploring the option of having a coffee van on site for a few hours each morning.

FIRST-AID

We will have a qualified first-aid person on site for the duration of the series. Our first-aid man (Anthony Perkins) will be based immediately inside the clubrooms area and will also be doing the rounds during game times. Anthony will be wearing a distinctive top and his mobile number will be posted with a First Aid logo in dugouts.

MASSAGE

For those super-fit Masters athletes requiring attention over the weekend, masseuse Narelle will be available in the clubrooms during a number of time slots each day. A modest cash payment will be required per 15-minute session.

By direct arrangement with Narelle on Friday (1.00 – 4.00 PM), Saturday (10 - 12 AM and 3.00 - 5.00 PM) and Sunday (10.00 AM – 12.00 PM and 2.00 – 4.00 PM). These times are subject to change and we will supply more information as it becomes available.

PARKING

With a large number of people in attendance over the weekend, safety and convenience are vital considerations.  A large, sealed and lit parking area is available to the lake side of the baseball complex. Ample parking space will also be available on the site of the former main diamond. Please take note of any signage relating to parking given the clear risks involved where baseballs are being smacked around.

THE SPOILS OF VICTORY

While we do not award individual medals, we have this year introduced what we feel are pretty tasteful plaques to be awarded to the first and second place-getting teams in each age group. Those plaques will be retained permanently, while our historical, certainly iconic and by now somewhat moth-eaten shields will be held by the winners for the ensuing twelve months.

ON RULES

The Carnival Rules have been progressively developed over the years and have served us pretty well.

The only additions of significance for 2015 are a tightening up of the age requirement and the introduction of a Collision Rule, which reads as follows:

Collision Rule.  No deliberate or negligent physical contact between players is acceptable (in particular, on plays at the home plate). In any tag or force situation, runners will be required either to slide or to give up on the play. Any conduct that in the umpires’ opinion was either negligent or deliberate in causing physical contact (or attempting any physical contact) will result in a mandatory “out” call and the ejection of the offending player for the rest of that game.

Managers, players and umpires should acquaint themselves with the Carnival Rules, which are posted on the website.

ACCOMMODATION, FOOD AND BALLARAT SOCIAL LIFE

Most visiting teams will by now have organised accommodation. If you require assistance in that regard – or if you simply want to gain a sense of where Masters baseballers might go for a decent meal or some entertainment – try this site:

VISIT BALLARAT

There will be a further update a fortnight or so prior to the Carnival. In the meantime, please contact me if you require any assistance or any further information on any matter.

Best wishes to all of you in planning for the nineteenth edition of this unique Masters event.

Kingsley Collins

Administrator

Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival

03 53329202

0488 735297

kcollins@iprimus.com.au

Carnival Update: January 2015

The 2015 Victorian Masters will be held at Prince of Wales Reserve, Gillies Street Ballarat, from Friday 27 March to Sunday 29 March (inclusive). There will also be a Thursday night game (details below).

AGE GROUPS.

Although there was some interest in a 50 Plus competition, it seemed there would not be enough teams (at least four) to make this viable. We will be staying with the 35 Plus and 45 Plus groupings, with players to be eligible only if they will have reached the minimum age during the year of competition – IE by 31 December 2015.

TEAM NUMBERS/GAMES/GAME LENGTH. Every year since the Carnival returned to Ballarat we have spoken about imposing a limit of twenty teams overall (solely because of ground and time constraints). We have never had to do that. For various reasons there are usually team withdrawals and we have only once reached the magic number of twenty. This time around, support for the Carnival has firmed up dramatically, to the extent that we may have up to 24 or 25 teams overall. 

GROUNDS AND SCHEDULING.

Between 22 and 25 teams are expected to enter – a significant increase on last year and one that creates obvious implications. The City of Ballarat has been supportive in this regard and has agreed to improve the overflow archery area as a fourth ground. A backnet is to be constructed to the clubrooms corner of the archery area, meaning that the orientation of that temporary baseball field will be altered to minimise intrusion of the gravel/sandy areas.

With proper watering available, this should mean that the overflow archery ground will at least have a decent infield surface. We will be seeking to have no team playing more than one game on the archery area, although there are no guarantees.

The increased number of teams may also require us to reconsider length of games and even the number of preliminary games to be played by each team. We will be scheduling a Thursday night game and may yet have to schedule two on each of the Friday and Saturday nights.

At the moment we expect that all games (preliminary and final) will remain at ninety minutes duration.

Games will by necessity be starting at 8.00 AM or 8.30 AM on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. While no-one is especially keen on the early starts, it has to be done. In your response to the questions at the end of this update, please consider your availability for early games, which will be drawn at random unless there are extenuating circumstances (such as a team playing a night game the previous day).

Assuming that team entries hold up, there will need to be a very short break between games – either 15 or 20 minutes.

TEAM ENTRY.

The deadline for team entry has been set as Friday 13 February 2015. Team entry is again $ 600.00, which should be paid by that date. Teams can include up to twenty players, although we understand that there may be some changes to playing personnel between team entry and the playing of a team’s first game.

Team Entry is now open. There is a link on the front page of the website where entry forms and payment details can be accessed.

SCORERS AND UMPIRES.

Each team is expected to supply its own scorer.

Regular Umpires Co-Ordinator Ian McKenzie will not be available to help us out for the 2015 event, although he will be assisting us to name a replacement. All teams are invited to bring their own umpire if possible. Umpires are paid a modest amount per game and there is no limit on the number of games in which they can officiate. More of that later, although indications are that the word is getting out there to the umpiring fraternity whose help is always deeply appreciated.

PLAYER REGISTRATION AND INSURANCE.

Team Managers are asked to remind their players that they require current ABF registration to be covered by the national insurance scheme. The Carnival is sanctioned by Baseball Australia – to whom we pay a fee – which provides a degree of protection as an approved activity.

However, we understand the situation of players either returning to the game or new to the game who might reasonably balk at the idea of paying a BA annual registration to play a handful of games. I believe that some players in that position are currently seeking to be offered a short-term insurance cover at a reduced rate. Should people have, or choose to have their own private insurance cover, then that is a safe option.

FEEDBACK REQUESTED.

Most of the entering teams for 2015 have already contacted us with their intentions. While that has helped us out plenty with planning, we have requested that Team Managers confirm the extent of involvement at this stage by sending a brief email response to these questions.

  1. CONFIRMATION. Please confirm team name and the age group(s) to be entered.
  2. NIGHT GAMES. Tasmania and Ballarat 35 Plus have been locked in for the Thursday night game at their request. At least one Friday night game and one Saturday night game will need to be scheduled. Is your team happy to play a night game? Which night, for preference? Does your team not mind either way? Are you unable to play a night game for some reason?
  3. EARLY STARTS. Is your team happy to have an early start on one or more of the days? Do you not mind either way? Remember, here, that wherever possible we will try to schedule back-to-back games for teams – but again, it is not always possible.
  4. GAMES/GAME LENGTH. As always, we will seek to make playing conditions as safe and as convenient as we can, although a vastly increased number of teams will create some challenges. While we will seek to schedule five preliminary games for all teams, it is going to be very tight over a three-day series. If it comes to the crunch, would your squad accept a reduced game time (to say 75 minutes). Would you accept a reduced number of preliminary games from five to four?

Responses to these questions will be much appreciated.

The massive increase of interest in the Carnival over the past few years suggests that we need some sort of reassessment for the future. We can talk about this over the Carnival weekend, though there are a few possible strategies doing the rounds.

The Carnival could revert to being a four-day event (as it was for the first few years). The series could maybe be split between centres (with one age group playing in Ballarat, the other in Geelong or Bacchus Marsh). The series could be held over two or even three weekends. It could be held at another time of year (say the Easter weekend), when public holidays come more into the equation.

First World problems, that is for sure!

Masters has been a real success story of Australian baseball. It is a great thing that we are being challenged to accommodate the increasing numbers of baseball players who want to retain an active involvement for as long as they possibly can.

Kingsley Collins (Carnival Administrator)   21 January 2015

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Carnival Update: November 2014

UPDATE:   19 November 2014

The following update has been forwarded to team contacts and has been posted on the Carnival website and our associated Facebook page. If you have any questions or any matters that need to be clarified at this stage, please let us know.

DATES AND VENUE.

The Carnival will be played at Prince of Wales Reserve, Gillies Street Ballarat, from Friday 27 March to Sunday 29 March (inclusive).

GROUNDS.

With at least twenty teams expected in 2015, we will again need to make use of the archery field as an overflow ground. We will seek to ensure that no team plays more than one game on that area.

On a positive note in that regard, City of Ballarat has agreed to build another backnet on the open archery area just to the west of the clubrooms. Although the mound and base areas will remain temporary, this will change the alignment of the playing area so that the infield at least will be fully grassed (albeit pretty dry at that time of year). The gravel/sand tracts will now be well into the outfield and should be far less of a hazard.

TEAMS AND ENTRY PROCEDURES.

Several potential new teams have expressed interest in the series. With the three baseball grounds and the archery area, we really cannot accommodate any more than twenty teams across all age groupings. Accordingly, we ask that you provide us with an expression of interest as soon as possible before Christmas. Please indicate which age grouping (see the options below) that your team will be entering. 

Entry Forms will be emailed out and will be available on the website early in the New Year. A deadline of mid-February will be set for final team registration and entry payment. It is expected that entry will remain at $ 600.00 per team, with squads of up to twenty players accepted.

AGE GROUPS.

Three age groups will be offered – 35 Plus, 45 Plus and 50 Plus. The 50 Plus group will only go ahead if there at least four teams. Again, we would appreciate your early advice on which age group(s) your team(s) will be entering. If the 50 Plus does not become viable, the 45 Plus group will remain in divisions such as has applied for the past couple of years.

As our regulars know, there has been discussion and some concern expressed about age exemptions being provided for players in the older group. While we have always sought to make the Victorian Masters accessible to all interested players – especially those who want to stick with mates who they have played with during Summer League - the requirements have been tightened up somewhat while still providing some reasonable leeway.

35 PLUS. To qualify to play in this division, a person must have turned 35 in the year of competition (IE by 31 December 2015). There will be no exemptions.

45 PLUS. To qualify to play in this division, a person must have turned 45 in the year of competition (IE by 31 December 2015). There will be no exemptions.

50 PLUS. To qualify to play in this division, a person must have turned 50 in the year of competition (IE by 31 December 2015). However, any two players who are close to that age (IE 47 to 49) may apply for exemption to join a particular team. Their applications will be considered on a case-by-case base by a panel of three long-standing members of the Masters community who will be appointed if and when they are required.

GAMES AND LENGTH OF GAMES.

We will again be aiming to schedule at least five preliminary games for all teams in all age divisions, although that will depend largely on the number of teams entered and on whether any group has an uneven number of teams.

All games, including finals, will now be of the same length. Most likely that will be 90 minutes, to be confirmed with team organisers and umpires well beforehand.

NIGHT GAMES.

We will again be playing at least one game on the Friday night and one on the Saturday night. I know that a couple of sides missed out in 2014 when they were keen to play a night game. Please let me know ASAP if your team is interested in a night game. If there is interest in a Thursday night game we are happy to go with that.

SCORERS AND UMPIRES.

All teams must supply their own scorer. Although it is not always possible, it would be useful if teams could also bring an accompanying umpire. More about that later, after we have spoken to BUAV.

CATERING AND HAPPY HOUR.

Ballarat City Brewers will again be providing all catering for the weekend. The Friday Night Happy Hour tradition will of course continue, with all teams, officials and supporters invited to partake of cut-price drinks and complimentary food. More of that later.

PLAYER REGISTRATION AND INSURANCE.

In an update to team managers in June this year, I mentioned that I had contacted Baseball Australia to seek their official sanction for the Carnival. As a gesture of goodwill, we have agreed to pay a modest amount from team entry towards an official letter of sanction. Baseball Australia is aware of the eighteen-year history of the Carnival and they are fully supportive of its continuance.

However, it should be emphasised that all players require current Baseball Australia registration to ensure that they are covered under the national insurance plan. Neither Carnival organisers nor Baseball Victoria nor Baseball Australia offers or accepts any liability for injury or illness suffered as a result of participation at the Carnival.

Team organisers have a role to play in impressing this requirement on their players.

FINALLY, ON RULES.

The Carnival Rules have been progressively developed over the years and have served us pretty well. Any changes to existing rules will be notified well before the event. The only addition of any significance that we anticipate is addition of a Collision Rule. From 2015 the following will be included in the Carnival Rules:

Collision Rule.  No deliberate or negligent physical contact between players is acceptable (in particular, on plays at the home plate). In any tag or force situation, runners will be required either to slide or to give up on the play. Any conduct that in the umpires’ opinion was either negligent or deliberate in causing physical contact (or attempting any physical contact) will result in a mandatory “out” call and the ejection of the offending player for the rest of that game.

There will be a further update just prior to Christmas when we have a more clear idea of the teams that will be joining us. In the meantime let me know if there is anything that needs to be clarified. Please distribute this information to your group as you see fit.

Best wishes to all in you in planning for the nineteenth edition of this unique Masters event.

May it be – for all of the right reasons – the most memorable yet.

Kingsley Collins (Administrator)

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Day Three Results

45 PLUS DIVISION ONE
Diggers  7 Sandringham 4
Pandas   6 Big Cat Tomatoes  5
FINAL
BIG CAT TOMATOES  9 Coburg 4
45 PLUS DIVISION TWO
Fitzroy  13 Newport  12
Big Cat Tomatoes  5 Bees  4
TASSY TIGERS  11 Bendigo  4
FINAL
TASSY TIGERS  12 Big Cat Tomatoes   1
35 PLUS
Red Sox   7 Tassy Tigers   6
Doncaster 4 Wanderers  2
Pandas  16 Bees  0
Ballarat  3 Cods  1
Big Cat Tomatoes  13 Sloths  2
FINAL
PANDAS  14 Big Cat Tomatoes  2

Day Two Results

45 PLUS DIVISION ONE
Diggers  4 Coburg 1
BC Tomatoes   14 Pandas  4
Diggers  3 Sandringham  2
Coburg  7 BC Tomatoes 1
Pandas  12 Sandringham  2
45 PLUS DIVISION TWO
Bees  10 Fitzroy  9
Tassy Tigers  14 Bees  4
Bendigo  12 Newport  3
Tassy Tigers  13 Newport  10
BC Tomatoes  14 Bendigo   5
35 PLUS
Ballarat   10 Tassy Tigers   0
Pandas 6 Tassy Tigers  5
Pandas  12 Ballarat  2
Bees  16 Wanderers  1
Bees  6 Cods  4
Sloths  9 Doncaster  2
BC Tomatoes  8 Red Sox  0

Day One Results

45 PLUS DIVISION ONE
Diggers  1 Pandas  5
Coburg  12 Pandas  8
Big Cat Tomatoes  10 Sandringham  4
Sandringham  0 Coburg 8
Big Cat Tomatoes  8 Diggers  3
45 PLUS DIVISION TWO
Bees  0 Newport  9
Fitzroy  6 Bendigo  12
Big Cat Tomatoes  2 Fitzroy  7
Tassy Tigers  6 Big Cat Tomatoes  9
35 PLUS
Ballarat Tassy Tigers (to Saturday)
Ballarat 8 Bees  9
Red Sox  5 Sloths  3
Pandas  10 Cods  0
Doncaster  6 Red Sox  4
Cods  9 Tassy Tigers  5
Sloths  10 Wanderers  5
Big Tomatoes  8 Doncaster  2
Wanderers  0 Big Cat Tomatoes  11
   

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Day Three Results

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