This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com
During the 2009-2010 off-season, BaseballDigest.com featured several articles covering the 76th annual Claxton Shield. Though not officially recognized as the Australian Baseball League, last seasons Claxton Shield featured several promising young stars. Turns out, last season was just a taste of what was to come. Today Major League Baseball announced that the 2010-2011 season will be the first official ABL season since its disbanding in 1999.
From the MLB press release:
“Major League Baseball is very excited about the opportunity to join the Australian Baseball Federation in bringing professional baseball back to Australia,” MLB senior vice president of international business operations Paul Archey said in a statement. “With the level of talent originating Down Under, it is only natural that a national baseball league returns, both for the players and for the fans.” Click here for the rest of the press release.
During last season’s Claxton Shield, games starting at 5PM in Adelaide, Australia on a Friday evening were watched by fans on the east coast of the United States at roughly 3:30AM on Friday morning. The live internet feeds during the championship series regularly had dozens if not hundreds of viewers from all around the world. A renewed interest from MLB may mean there is even more coverage for baseball down under.
Some of the six teams that will make up the league have already set up websites to spread the word of the new ABL season.