25 Nov 2020

Tuatara look at options beyond ABL

11:35 am on 25 November 2020

If the Australian Baseball League don't want to play ball the Auckland Tuatara boss says he'll take the club elsewhere.

Kyle Glogoski - Auckland Tuatara.


The Tuatara withdrew from the upcoming Australian Baseball League (ABL) season earlier this month due to Covid-19 travel complications, which sparked a strong response from Baseball Australia chief executive Cam Vale.

Vale said in a statement that the Tuatara's reason for sitting out the condensed season which starts on 17 December could be summed up as "mismanagement" by the club.

"Whilst the ABL and the other teams see the strategic importance of a New Zealand based team in the league, the ability for Auckland to compete in future seasons is now in serious doubt," Vale said.

The club are in breach of their ABL licence and Wood said following a "loose conversation" with Baseball Australia the club and the ABL have until February to come to a compromise that would allow the Tuatara to play next season.

Auckland Tuatara CEO Regan Wood.

Auckland Tuatara general manager Regan Wood. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

Wood had plenty of analogies for where the relationship with the ABL stands. He likened it to spouses disagreeing over which television channel to watch or people preferring different flavours of cake.

Despite the flippancy about their current situation, Wood was serious about the future of the club.

Friends far and wide

Wood acknowledged the terms that Baseball Australia put in front of the club for future involvement might not be achievable.

"We may not be in it," he said.

"We don't have anything that says yes we're going to be playing in 2021/22 but that is what we are working towards."

So Wood was working on a Plan B to still keep the club active.

"If the ABL said Tuatara we don't want you, then we would talk to our friends at the Padres and Texas Rangers and say what about we bring some teams down we base ourselves in Auckland and we play those games, so there is always options. There is plenty of people who want to come down to safe old New Zealand and play some baseball."

The club was also in talks with their overseas players and coaches about coming back to New Zealand in late January for coaching clinics.

Taking calculated risks

Wood said the club had not withdrawn from the ABL without thinking through the implications.

"I wasn't going to jump off the cliff without a parachute," he said.

"We want to show baseball to the New Zealand public so for us not to have it then there is a big risk of that out of sight out of mind.

"Sometimes you have to make the hard decisions, the brave decisions, and for me you're taking all these people along for a ride and I'm talking about the New Zealand supporting public and investors, so we've got to make the right decision for our organisation.

"For us not going to Australia with the risks around it was the right decision."

The path forward might be difficult for the club that formed for the 2018/19 season but Wood is optimistic that it will still prove to be a popular stop-off for international talent.

"We're very good hosts in New Zealand so I am very comfortable we will attract people and our conversation is look we are new to baseball, we're learning, bear with us, if something's not right give us some feedback and we'll make some adjustments."