Questions and answers with Sydney local Ron Ross (pictured above) who is a wholehearted baseball fan. Ron is involved across many levels of baseball which includes: as a player with the Penrith Panthers Club, umpiring, he's a Sydney Blue Sox member and season ticket holder, and he follows the Chicago White Sox
1. (NH) How did you come to be interested in baseball? And what are some aspects of the sport which appeal to you most?
(RR) I first became interested in baseball when my eldest son began playing t-ball... I started taking him to Sydney Blues games at Parramatta Stadium and I fell in love with the game... I grew up on cricket and expected my sons to play cricket also, but once I learned about baseball I wanted them to be ballplayers! I loved the quick innings, the quick turnaround from fielding to batting then back again... Coming from a mathematical background, the logical rules and strategies also appealed to me. There is a logical reason for everything in the game.
2. (NH) To date what do you consider to be the best game of baseball you have seen played on Australian soil? Please specify the team and or event.
(RR) This is a tough question... I love every game of baseball I get to see... I've been lucky enough to be present at a few games that had historical milestones... I saw Brendan Kingman break the single season home run record in the old ABL at Concord Oval in 1998... I saw David Welch's no-hitter for the Blue Sox in 2011... But I'd probably have to say, for excitement and significance, being present when Australia won the IBAF Intercontinental Cup against Cuba in 1999 in Sydney would be number one. Gary White's RBI hit late in the game sent everyone wild!
3. (NH) As a Chicago White Sox fan what was it like to visit U.S. Cellular Field for the first time and see the White Sox play? Also, who did they play and what was the score?
(RR) It was just my luck that the first time I get to the USA and get to see the White Sox they have their worst season in 40 years! But, it was a dream come true walking down to the ballpark among the crowd and experience the buzz entering the ground... Luckily they were playing the only AL team with a worse record - Houston! So I got to see the White Sox win 4-3... The following night I got to see Chris Sale pitch... That guy looks like he's got big things ahead of him and I got plenty of photos!
4. (NH) What progress do you hope to see baseball make in Australia with the ABL and 2014 MLB Season Opener in Sydney?
(RR) I suppose the measure of progress I'm looking for, from a fan perspective, is to see more bums on seats. A full stadium really does make a difference to the fan experience, and this is especially so when trying to attract new fans... Over the last two seasons I've brought friends to Blue Sox games and it really does dampen the atmosphere when the ballpark is half empty... The first season of the new ABL was terrific at Blue Sox games with the park full almost every game but sadly the numbers have dropped off... I'm not a businessman and I don't have suggestions on how to achieve larger crowds, but this is the sign of progress that I hope to see... In addition it would also be good to see more baseball articles in local print media. I live in an area that neighbours the Blacktown City area and I never see anything in our local paper about the Blue Sox. I know it's tough to break into the mainstream Sydney newspapers, but I'd like to see the Blue Sox appearing in local papers, especially those in suburbs less than 30 minutes drive to the stadium.
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