Masters baseball moving forward

UPDATE (21 September 2020)

It has been a while since our last update – probably understandable enough given the dearth of playing activity and the ongoing uncertainty over the more immediate future of Aussie baseball at all levels.

With the territories and most states now having COVID19 under reasonable control – and with the situation improving dramatically in Victoria in recent times – there is definite cause for optimism within our sport, even though significant national events have needed to be cancelled in view of the current risks.

Notwithstanding the challenges that our country, and the world, have continued to face, Australian baseball will prevail and will recover over time – as it is already demonstrating in some states. I hope – and expect - that our sport will be re-built and re-invigorated largely through the commitment and the efforts of grassroots clubs and dedicated individuals who historically have already given so much and who are champing at the bit to get all of us, of all ages, out on the diamond again.

Masters – here and abroad - has been an integral and growing component of baseball for very many years. For at least a quarter of a century in Australia, where we have witnessed staggering participation in mature-aged events such as Pan Pacific Masters Games, Alice Springs Masters, Australian Masters and a plethora of regional events.

Including, of course, the Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival.

While there can be no certainty around where Australia might be situated in months, or even years -  pending containment of COVID19 and the arrival of a vaccine - human beings are ever sustained by looking to the future in contemplating what might be, what could be, and what can be.

At this point, we are hopeful of the Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival resuming in autumn of 2021 – at dates to be determined, dependent on Baseball Victoria scheduling and of course subject to all of the stringent COVID-safe considerations that would apply, especially given the demographic of our participants.

The Carnival would ideally run over three days (Friday to Sunday) during mid to late March, or shortly afterwards – factoring in school and Easter holidays.

While circumstances might of course not work in our favour, I thought I should flag the distinct possibility of this time-honoured event potentially – and hopefully - going ahead in 2021.

As always, I welcome any and all feedback that our Masters baseball fraternity cares to offer now, or at any other point.

Stay safe, and best wishes to you all!

Kingsley Collins (Administrator)    kcollins@iprimus.com.au        0488 735297

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Notwithstanding the disruption that COVID19 continues to cause – and the tragedy that the virus has already wrought for many - baseball people of all ages, levels and abilities are understandably keen for our sport to resume as soon as is possible within workable health and safety guidelines.

While major Masters events for 2020 have been cancelled, hopes remain high for the rebirth of competition at state and national level sometime in the not too distant future.

The 2021 Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival has been tentatively scheduled for Ballarat in mid-March as a three-day event following our Labour Day weekend and completion of the Baseball Victoria summer season. That event, more especially now, shapes as a massive celebration.

However, our stir-crazy Masters baseball fraternity may not have to wait quite that long to again get out on the park.

Baseball Australia has for some time been seeking to ramp up its involvement in Masters sport. As part of a potentially increasing engagement, BA has made tentative plans for an annual National Masters Baseball Championship.

Dates for the inaugural championship have been set from 2-6 January 2021. It is proposed that the event will be held in Sydney first up, before moving around the country in subsequent years.

Baseball Australia is expecting to offer competitions in 35 Plus, 45 Plus and 55 Plus, with attractive travel and accommodation packages, activities and related social engagement that coincides with Australian Baseball League games being played around that time.

Masters baseball people will be contacted for their expressions of interest over the weeks to come. More detailed information will be posted here as it becomes available. 

This proposal may, or may not be a goer, especially given the timing just months from a dangerous point in virus spread among Victorians. We'll see.

Please stay safe. Best wishes to all!

Kingsley Collins (Administrator)     14 July 2020

Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival 20-22 March 2020

A WEALTH OF MEMORIES, WITH MANY MORE TO BE MADE.....With the Carnival now rescheduled until March 2021, our supporters are invited to refresh and relive their enthusiasm for this unique event by browsing through our regular FACEBOOK instalments of images from past tournaments.

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VICTORIAN MASTERS UPDATE (11 April 2020)

It has been an extraordinary and very different past several weeks for all of us, as Australia strives to confront the threats posed by COVID-19 and to minimise the damage of a lethal and unforgiving virus that has already created unimaginable carnage across the globe.

While it is still very early days, Australia appears to be making a decent fist of its response to the challenge as we seek to avoid the frightening scenarios that have been unfolding in other countries.

It seems that Australians have in general embraced the strategies and restrictions put in place by governments – and have done so in our typically pragmatic and good-natured manner.

Our baseball community is comprised of overwhelmingly decent human beings. There is no doubt that same community will be collectively doing its very best to comply with requests and directives issued by governments and health professionals in seeking to manage the crisis and to save lives.

We know that Australians can together work towards addressing the challenge of our lifetimes and hopefully moving into a recovery phase in the not too distant future, when we can restore a degree of normality to our lives.

For all – including our baseball community - that time will be eagerly anticipated.

As far as the Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival is concerned, we are now looking towards 2021, with a reschedule later this year not appearing to be practicable – given a range of uncertainties surrounding the virus itself, our community health situation and the potential timing of state and national competitions when they are able to go ahead.

Accordingly, the Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival will not be rescheduled for 2020 but is projected to return in 2021 should all circumstances permit.

The Carnival will be scheduled as a three-day event after the Victorian Labour Day weekend in 2021.

Depending on timing of Baseball Victoria Summer League, the dates will be either Friday 12 March to Sunday 14 March or Friday 19 March to Sunday 21 March (that is, prior to Easter and to Term One Victorian School Holidays). 

The Carnival will again be held at Prince of Wales Reserve, Gillies Street, Ballarat – where the baseball fields are incidentally in fantastic condition at the moment, thanks to work done by council and the local clubs over recent months!

Baseball governing bodies – here and overseas – will all be looking forward with optimism to the resumption of competitions, many of which will hopefully occur sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, I encourage our Masters community to stay engaged – including through social media outlets such as the Vic Masters Facebook page, which will be providing updates over the weeks and months to come.

We will continue to post historic material from previous Carnivals – especially images - and we encourage everyone to contribute in any ways that they deem fit.

Good health and best wishes to all.

Kingsley Collins (Administrator)   0488 735297   03 53329202

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THE LATEST (Saturday 14 March 2020).

 

With plenty happening at breakneck speed over the past few days, it seemed timely to take a breath and apply some practical considerations about where the Masters Carnival is situated.

I have contacted all teams to arrange refund of their entry for this year’s event. Teams and individuals will hopefully be able to minimise the financial loss incurred, although it is clear that all involved with the postponed Carnival will take a hit.

Although there is potential for reschedule to mid-September, that may not be practicable – depending on response - given the commitment of many players and officials to the Pan Pac Masters on the Gold Coast in November.

Realistically, it is more likely that we will be looking to write this year off and direct our attentions towards Carnival dates to be fixed for March of 2021.

Both this website and our Facebook page will be updated over the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, please stay in touch and – far more importantly - look out for each other as we deal with the challenges collectively confronting all of us.

Kingsley Collins (Administrator)

VICTORIAN MASTERS POSTPONEMENT (13 March 2020)

After speaking to baseball officials and stakeholders involved in delivery of the Victorian Masters, we have reluctantly decided to postpone the event to a later date.

Between players, officials, supporters and local clubs the event attracts something between 400 and 600 people over the weekend. While that may be less than the threshold set by the Australian government for cancellation, and while not all will be at Prince of Wales at any given time – except perhaps on the Sunday – there are other key factors that needed to be considered.

First, as a Masters event, the vast majority of participants fall into what is deemed by health experts to be the most vulnerable demographic - 40 to over 70 years of age. Many of our umpires, club officials and volunteers are in that age grouping. By early reckonings provided to Baseball Australia, the morbidity rate for persons over 60 contracting the disease could be as high as 14.8 % when the virus reaches its peak.

Secondly, although we think of baseball as a non-contact sport, our capacity to provide a safe environment for the Carnival is seriously compromised by the nature of the activity – in its shared use of baseballs, bats, helmets and other gear - and of this particular event, which is built so fundamentally around active group engagement and social interaction.

Thirdly, the host club, volunteers, some umpires and some players have expressed understandable reservation about the event going ahead next weekend.        READ THE FULL RELEASE HERE.....

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CRUCIAL UPDATE (13 March 2020)

After discussions with all parties involved in delivery of the Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival 2020, I have forwarded the following release to team managers. While it gives no pleasure to any of us, the situation is of grave urgency and requires a response that is in the very best interests of community health and safety.

"With the COVID-19 situation evolving very rapidly and impacting a plethora of social and sporting activities across the globe, all of us involved in event management – and all participants - are constrained to act in the best interest of our communities.

Although the Carnival is a relatively small event held predominantly outdoors, it involves a generally older demographic and it relies heavily for its enjoyment on social engagement.

As diligent as we might be in applying the strategies recommended by health professionals, baseball is a sport in which contact is largely unavoidable, with balls, bats, helmets and other equipment being shared and with umpiring officials required to be in close proximity to catchers.

Baseball Victoria, Baseball Australia, state governments and health experts have this morning been in discussions about the status of planned baseball events. In determining whether the Carnival goes ahead as planned or is re-scheduled to a later date, we will be acting on the advice and direction of those authorities.

I will post a further update when a decision has been reached – hopefully later today."

Kingsley Collins
Administrator

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URGENT UPDATE (10 March 2020)

Just ten days out from the twenty-fourth incarnation of this unique baseball event, all appears to be moving along quite smoothly despite some adjustments being required to the schedule that was previously posted.

While I have posted this update to Facebook and to managers, please forward to players, to other officials and to interested parties as you deem fit.

REVISED DRAW.

Late withdrawal of the Cods 45 Plus team has necessitated changes to the Masters Draw. The Revised Draw (dated 10 March 2020) is attached HERE.

Please scrap copies of the earlier draw.

In 50 Plus, changes are minimal (a ground change and one game moved later on Friday).

With Cods out, there have been a few changes to the original 45 Plus schedule, including a later start on the Saturday. Cheltenham and Sloths will now both have doubleheaders on the Sunday.

There are a few ground changes in 35 Plus, where the Tomatoes/Doncaster Friday game moves to 10.15 start.

All teams have equal home and away status. All have at least one game on the main ground, and no more than two. Ground 1 is the main field, Ground 2 is adjacent and Ground 3 is to the west of the complex.

INTERCHANGE OF PLAYERS.

Although it was not always possible, we have sought to avoid clashes between groups that have two or three teams entered (IE Sloths, Tassy, Diggers, Doncaster, Tomatoes and Pandas). Where any players are qualified on age, they are free to play in both groups if desired (IE 50 Plus can play in 45 Plus or 35 plus, while 45 Plus can play with their group’s 35 Plus team).

To qualify for a final, any player must have appeared in two preliminary games of any age group for the tournament. This means, for example, that a Sloths player who might have appeared in a 50 Plus game and a 45 Plus game would be OK to play the final of any of the Sloths age groups. A 50 Plus Doncaster player with at least two overall game appearances would be fine to play in the Doncaster 35 Plus final if it qualified. And so on.

BV/BA INSURANCE.

Players are reminded that they need to hold either full current playing registration or the tournament-specific registration now available (see link to the right of the website). Any person who played summer baseball, including Masters, is already covered. Any person who is registered for the upcoming winter season, or will be registering for winter prior to the Carnival, will be covered.

HAPPY HOUR.

Whether your team is playing the final time slot on Friday or not, all are cordially invited to partake of a complimentary barbecue feed and some cut price drinks prior to the Friday night game between Wombats and Sloths, who we believe have both been engaged in intensive training for months now…..well, possibly since last year!

HOST CLUB.

Ballarat Royals will again assume principal responsibility as host club, with a wide range of food, drink and services made available at or around the central clubroom facility. The Royals committee has been working hard on its planning over recent weeks and will be looking to emulate or even improve upon their club’s fantastic effort of 2019. The Carnival is a very demanding gig for the hosts, and we know that their input is always well appreciated by our visitors.

OSTEO ELITE.

As earlier mentioned, Doctor Luke Abels and some of his staff will be setting up a temporary facility at Prince of Wales Reserve, offering osteopathic and physiotherapy services to our Masters contingent at minimal cost per session. Their gazebo will be sponsored by Osteo Sports Network, synthetic turf will be provided by BJP Synthetics (Gary and Brock Pawley), while bottled water will be supplied by Quest Apartments Flemington for anyone who visits the Osteo Elite tent.

FIRST AID.

Anthony Perkins will again be supplying first-aid assistance over the course of the weekend. Anthony will be making himself easily accessible and we will ensure that his phone number is posted prominently in dugouts and elsewhere.

THE FRESNO CONNECTION.

With the COVID19 situation ever-evolving, we remain hopeful that all will work out with the Carnival’s first affiliation to a professional overseas club – especially in regard to supply of uniforms and personnel. However, should there be any issue created by the virus response, Fresno Grizzlies (with a strong Ballarat contingent) will still be playing under that banner in the 50 Plus group.

BATTLE OF THE TITANS.

You may have noted on our Facebook page a post pumping up the 50 Plus game between Coburg and Golddiggers scheduled for 1.15 Saturday on the Alfredton ground. Coburg, Golddiggers and Fitzroy are absolute trailblazers for this tournament - and of Masters baseball generally – with a collective history reaching back well over two decades! While some of their personnel might have changed, Coburg and Diggers (and Fitzroy) are among shining examples of the spirit of Masters sport – in its healthy competitiveness, its capacity for fun and its respect for both the game and the opposition. It should be a ripper game – and it presents a great opportunity for those who can make it to check out a marvellous display of baseball memorabilia in the Eagles clubrooms.

Please contact me if you have questions or require further information on any Carnival matter before I issue a final update early next week.

Best wishes.

Kingsley Collins (Administrator)  03 53329202    0488 735297

 

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Day One Results

50 PLUS
DIGGERS     WERRIBEE  
DONCASTER     COBURG  
BENDIGO     SANDRINGHAM  
SLOTHS     GRIZZLIES  
SANDRINGHAM     GRIZZLIES  
SLOTHS     TASSY TIGERS  
45 PLUS
FITZROY     PANDAS  
PANDAS     CHELTENHAM  
DIGGERS     TOAMTOES  
DIGGERS     SLOTHS  
35 PLUS
BALD EAGLES     PANDAS  
TOMATOES     DONCASTER  
CODS     RED SOX  
CODS     TOMATOES  
TASSY TIGERS     RED SOX  
SLOTHS     REBELS  
REBELS     TASSY TIGERS  
WOMBATS     SLOTHS