Canberra Cavalry a model of Australian Baseball League success

The Australian Baseball League says the Canberra Cavalry is the perfect model of how to start a successful, sustainable club from scratch, not only for the rest of the league, but other sports as well.

It comes on the back of the Cavs announcing a new naming rights sponsor on Thursday, with Canberra Elite Taxis coming on board for the next two years, with an option to extend for another two, in a deal believed to be worth $125,000 per annum.

Michael Collins will manage Canberra Cavalry again in 2014-15.
Michael Collins will manage Canberra Cavalry again in 2014-15. Photo: Graham Tidy

Previous naming rights sponsor Rolfe Motors has remained on board as a major partner.

The Cavalry have also re-signed manager Michael Collins for his third season in charge and are on the verge of re-signing starting pitcher Brian Grening for his fifth year in orange.

Cavalry ace Brian Grening will return to play for Canberra for a fifth year.
Cavalry ace Brian Grening will return to play for Canberra for a fifth year. Photo: Jay Cronan

ABL chief executive Peter Wermuth said the Cavs had quickly established themselves in Canberra and had led the way with becoming not only financially strong, but strong on the ballpark as well.

They created history when they won the Asia Series last season, beating teams from Japan, Korea and Taiwan with multi-million dollar payrolls, to add to the Claxton Shield they won the season before.


"When there was some discussion about the [National Basketball League] possibly bringing a franchise here, the Canberra Cavalry were cited as an example to look to for sporting franchises in Canberra with regards to the type of model you should take in this town to establish a successful franchise," Wermuth said.

"We took note of that and have made it part of our strategic objectives going forward that that's how we will define success going forward around the country."

The design phase of  a proposed redevelopment of Narrabundah Ballpark will begin this financial year.

Wermuth hopes capacity can gradually increase to about 7000, which would open the door for "the Fort" to host World Baseball Classic games and the Asia Series.

The ballpark currently holds about 1500, although it can be expanded to 2300 if needed.

"You'd want a 5000-7000 capacity venue further down the road, then you can potentially host the Asia Series or have a World Baseball Classic qualifier here," Wermuth said.

"Any of those sort of events we'd love to bring to the capital - what better place to hold the ABL All-Star game and bring the Australian team to the nation's capital."

Rule changes for the upcoming ABL season have been finalised, but Wermuth wouldn't be drawn on how import rules might change before they're announced in the next few weeks.

But he did confirm the Australian draft would go ahead, which will allow the Cavalry to recruit Aussie players from other states.

The Cavalry are preparing for the number of imports allowed to drop and will target higher quality recruits - to the standard of Perth Heat gun Mike Ekstrom, who played a part in the Cavs' Asia Series win.

Wermuth said the historic Major League Baseball season opener in Sydney had allowed the ABL to identify fans around the country and the clubs will look to lure them to their games.