Canberra Cavalry, CEO Donn McMichael interview, english version

Nel numero di Febbraio 2017 di Baseball Clipper è stata pubblicata l'intervista a Donn McMichael, CEO dei Canberra Cavalry. Vi proponiamo l'intervista in lingua originale:

- How do you conduct contacts and contracts with American players?
We have developed a strong relationship with the Toronto Blue Jays and San Diego Padres, who send a group of players to us every year as part of their development strategy. We also recruit through the independent leagues in the US and around the world.

- Do players come from abroad consider this league as a winter league or the situation is different?
Yes, it's a winter league for a lot of the players who come to Australia to develop skills and take the next step in their careers.

cavalry- Players like Gregorius, Kiermaier and Lutz have played for Canberra in the past. How important is their impact for the development of the ABL?
We have several success stories in player development but those guys are especially important because they made it to the Major Leagues. They enhance our credibility as a league, which helps us both in attracting more top players and in marketing our product to new fans.

- Four players of yours (Atherton, Kent, Perkins and Kandilas) will play for Team Australia at WBC this March. That’s a great goal for them, but how do a team react to the loss of such important players?
The WBC will be held after our season is over so it won’t affect their playing time with the Cavalry. Having them participate in the WBC will hopefully help them develop as players and come back to Canberra even stronger next season.

- What’s the Cavalry’s strategy about the development of young players? Are there any affiliate teams in which they can grow as players or is it different? Is that a Canberra’s peculiarity or every team do that?
The Cavalry is very involved in the development of young baseball players in Canberra. We get involved with our local club teams and begin coaching and mentoring at a young age. As the players progress through our High Performance programs, they can eventually be considered as Development Players, which are special roster spots on the Cavalry roster designated for young, emerging, local talent.

- How does the scouting system work? In which parts of Australia does your scouting department focus on in order to find some young talents?
Our scouting is done mostly throughout Canberra and the surrounding areas. However, given our close proximity to Melbourne and Sydney, we also recruit heavily in those areas. For example, Atherton, Kandilas, and first baseman Boss Moanaroa are from the Sydney area and second baseman Aaron Sayers is from the Melbourne area.

- How about foreign players? Do you send some scouts in other territories to look for some players?
We send representatives to various countries to scout for players, but due to the costs of travel, that isn’t a regular occurrence. We also rely on our existing players / coaches, who have relationships with players in other countries to provide us with contacts for potential players.

- How is the ABL going forward after the loss of MLB economic support? Have they made any particular marking operation to oppose at this?
We restructured the organization this year and we’ve performed very well as a result. We had some cutbacks in both staffing and season length but our ticket sales and sponsorship numbers have remained strong. We’ve set ourselves up for a sustainable, domestically-owned future.

- ABL has always done a fantastic work with games free broadcasting on YouTube, allowing to foreigners the possibility to follow the league. Is there an additional tv/media space in Australia dedicated to baseball?
ABLTV is our primary broadcast outlet and has grown significantly since we launched it. About 40% of our viewership is from overseas, which is an exciting statistic for the growth of our league in the international baseball community. We also broadcast our marquee events, including the ABL All-Star Game, on international and domestic TV.

- How’s the relationship with other teams and federation?
The ABL is a single-entity league, which means all of our teams are centrally owned. So while we have a fierce rivalry on the field, we are essentially co-workers with the other teams in the league as well as the national federation so the relationship is quite strong.

- How does the city of Canberra live baseball? Did the fanbase fall in love with the team immediately or have you made a particular marking work?
Canberra has definitely become a baseball city. The Cavalry are a source of pride for Canberra, which dates back to its founding. The local community created the “Let’s Do It Canberra” campaign back in 2009 and raised enough funds to attract an ABL club. That campaign instilled a sense of ownership in the Cavalry that I believe is unique to other teams across Australia.

- The Australian Capital Territory Government helped you with the renovation of the stadium. How important is the relationship between the team and the local government?
Our relationship with the ACT Government has played a critical role in our success. Without their support, both through the development of MIT Ballpark and through organizational funding, the Cavalry wouldn’t exist today. They continue to be great partners as well and we’re going to be performing further renovations to our ballpark with their support starting this year.

- At least a strange request: what will you do to get an Italian baseball fan excited about the ABL?
Italian baseball fans can watch the Cavalry play on for free. Our night games are broadcast in mid-morning in Italy so fans can either watch live for some Breakfast Baseball or watch the game replays anytime. If you’re watching live, make sure you follow us on Twitter and send us a comment during the game. We’d also like to invite Giuseppe Mazzanti to come play for the Cavalry next season. Australia is a beautiful country, just like Italy! Finally, we encourage everyone to follow us on Facebook and Instagram where you can follow the team and players on all their adventures in Australia and overseas.