Home' The Wellingtonian : September 22nd 2011 Contents 28 THE WELLINGTONIAN, SEPTEMBER 22, 2011
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Warriors keep the
Cleary dream alive 27
want to play ball
By KRIS SHANNON
Batter up: Dave Bishop is one of
those leading the baseball charge.
Photo: KRIS SHANNON
One of the world's most popular
sports is to be played competi-
tively in Wellington for the first
time in decades, if fields big
enough to cope are found.
Baseball Wellington was estab-
lished last week at a meeting in
Baseball New Zealand chief
executive Ryan Flynn said bring-
ing baseball to the Wellington
region emphasised the sport's
increasing popularity in New Zea-
land. We believe this is the start
of something special.''
First, though, the challenge is
to find fields big enough to cater
for baseball's expansive outfields,
with 140 metres to centre field
and 110m to right and left field
Wellington Baseball is seeking
council approval to use Porirua's
Elsdon and Ascot parks, but
pickings are slim elsewhere bec-
ause cricket clubs hold long-term
leases on many grounds.
The field problem was one of the
main reasons baseball had
struggled to gain a foothold in
New Zealand, Flynn said.
We don't need quantity like
rugby and cricket; we just need
While the eventual target is
permanent grounds where base-
ball can be played all year round,
a short-term option was to team
up with sister sport softball and
Baseball and softball work
together around the world. They
haven't here, but they're starting
to now,'' Flynn said.
This relationship is likely to
extend beyond ground sharing.
Similarities between the two
games could lead to some players
Good softball players can go
back and forth between the two
sports,'' Flynn said.
They know the game already --
there are just a few tweaks.''
Wellington Baseball's presi-
dent, Dave Bishop, said there had
been pressure from within the
softball community to ignore the
new sport, but he planned to work
around softball so players could
play both. They will run side by
side, but there will be a point
where one becomes more import-
ant than the other,'' Bishop said.
The immediate goal was to get
high school baseball under way.
Six schools had already registered
an interest, he said.
A nationally-promoted regis-
tration day will follow within the
next few weeks, as Baseball New
Zealand seeks to cement its foot-
hold on the Wellington sports
We have some good leverage
right now that we have to take
advantage of,'' Flynn said. Let's
just play ball.''
Baseball was played in Welling-
ton in the late 19th century and,
at the instigation of American
servicemen, during World War II,
but failed to take hold either time.
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