About a month ago, the Auckland Tuatara opted out of the 2020/2021 season due to the results of the corona virus. Baseball Australia and the Australian Baseball League gave them 28 days to prepare a case of why they should be kept in the ABL. But due to the new outbreak in Sydney, the Tuatara has gotten more time.
The intention was to have a bubble in Auckland where four teams would play, including the Tuatara. But thanks to complaints by other teams, the ABL decided to move that bubble to Australia. This would mean that the Tuatara would play at the Australian continent without getting any income: No money from their TV deal and no money from ticket sales. So in fact, the decision made by the Tuatara wasn’t that strange.
What irked the Baseball Australia CEO Cam Vale was the time of the decision. The Tuatara came with the decision at the final moment, shortly before the season started. They were blamed by Vale to mismanage the club. Funny enough, it was Baseball Australia that announced the withdrawal of Geelong Korea, a team owned and operated by the ABL itself. And strangely enough, all you heard out of the mouth of Vale was praise…
According to the CEO of the Tuatara, Regan Wood, Baseball Australia wants to have guarantees that the Tuatara will be financially sound if they come back to the ABL.
Wood summed up the following points:
“We’ve got to give them a business plan and our financials,” Wood said.
“We’ve got to almost commit to playing in the league next season, whether there’s an outbreak or not.
“They would hate for us to start next year and then us say we’re not doing it because of Covid.
“They want us to make sure we’re coming, hell or high water.
“That will be one of the sticking points, absolutely, we’re committed to it.
“However, if Covid is still around I can’t see it working and last weekend is a good example. So that will be one of the negotiation points.”
In other words, the Tuatara has to declare their loyalty to the ABL no matter the circumstances.
Woods also stated that he did not regret the decision of withdrawing: “No. It was still a tough decision and it felt like we were letting down our mates with the other teams,” he said. “But look at last weekend. We were quarantining some of our guys in New South Wales and they would be getting out in the next few days. Because we’d be playing in Brisbane, those guys in NSW might not be able to travel out of NSW when they come out of quarantine. Do we have any regrets? No. It was a difficult decision and ideally we’d like to be playing baseball, because we’re a baseball team.”
To be continued…