The Australian Baseball League will be back at full strength this winter, as Geelong-Korea announced they will participate in this year’s iteration of the league. Geelong-Korea, as well as the Auckland Tuatara, sat out the 2020-21 campaign due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, and the 2021-22 season was canceled as a whole.
Geelong-Korea was starting to hit its stride before the COVID-19 pandemic derailed things, as they gained steady support in South Korea. The Victoria-based squad was composed entirely of young South Korean players, and was seen as a way to develop prospects for the Korea Baseball Organization. They struggled in the standings, missing the playoffs in both years they participated in the league, but still enjoyed significant support amongst South Korean fans. Baseball Australia CEO Glenn Williams praised the fanbase, stating, “we are lucky to work with a supportive community which enables our sport to achieve maximum exposure not only domestically but internationally as well.” While the last two years were wiped away, the team is hoping to pick up where it left off, developing quality young talent and competing with Australia’s best.
The ABL was on the fast track to becoming one of the world’s premier winter leagues before the pandemic, reeling in big names like Delmon Young and even Manny Ramírez. While some momentum was surely lost due to the chaotic past two years, the league is hoping to get back on track quickly. Things got off to a good start when World Series champion Josh Reddick signed on with the Perth Heat in early May. With the ABL season slated to start this winter, Reddick is surely only one of many big names to join the league.