James: How the clock ticks
An opinion piece on the motivation behind the game down under
By Anna James
Baseball is a game of failure.
It’s just the facts: you’re going to get out more often than you get a run on the board.
Regardless, millions across the world play the game and if you’re a committed fan, you’ll stay at the ballpark until the bitter end, even if your team is down and at the point of no recovery.
The Australian Baseball League is built on the promise that if fans stay around long enough, even though the odds are against them, that they will witness progression and possibly even something great.
Speak to anyone who’s made it to the majors and they’ll tell the tale behind their achievement – of leaky buses, couch surfing and hotel lockouts. It’s seldom noted that the people behind the players also sacrifice their time, comfort and at times, their sanity in the name of the game.
Fighting constantly to introduce a new sport down under, how do those involved stayed motivated?
The Pinders are an impressive Australian baseball family who, between the four of them, clock up hundreds of unpaid hours to volunteer for the Brisbane Bandits every season.
“It’s the people that you meet through baseball,” Em Pinder, 19, said, identifying the perks of such a commitment. “Whether it be the players, umpires, volunteers, whoever, they make you feel like you’re a part of a family. It doesn’t matter how little or great your contributions to baseball are, you’re a family member.”
The Pinder family has redefined the term by extending a lifetime open door policy to the two pitchers they “adopted” last season, Colorado native Sean Jarrett and Italian ace Alex Maestri.
“Enjoyment is also a good reason to stay involved, because it’s a pretty great sport and one of few where one at-bat can change a whole game,” Em said, confirming all volunteers are fans first.