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Cavalry dilemma over centenary All Star game

Date

David Polkinghorne

Holding the ABL All Stars game before Narrabundah Ballpark's expansion is complete is a concern for the Cavalry as it would limit crowd numbers to 2000.

Holding the ABL All Stars game before Narrabundah Ballpark's expansion is complete is a concern for the Cavalry as it would limit crowd numbers to 2000. Photo: Andrew Sheargold

The Canberra Cavalry is unsure whether to play its All Star card in Canberra's centenary year or wait until it has a bigger and better ballpark.

Negotiations are continuing between the Cavalry and the ACT government as to what is the best fit.

The Australian Baseball League has offered Canberra its All Star game for next year, which has been held in December since its inception.

But Cavalry general manager Peter Bishell said he was torn between wanting it to be part of Canberra's centenary of sport and waiting a year or two.

Narrabundah Ballpark will undergo a $5 million redevelopment, including a new grandstand, that would boost the capacity of ''The Fort''.

The Cavalry was forced to put a cap of 1500 on its crowds earlier this season because the facility couldn't cope with a record crowd of 1950, which left long lines for food and toilets.

It led to the ACT government immediately improving both the catering and toilets and the crowd limit was lifted to about 2000.

Bishell wanted to bring the ABL All Star game to Canberra as part of the centenary, but thought the current facilities might not do it justice.

But a ballpark packed with 3000 fans would.

''If we have it next year the ground will be what it is now, so that's the discussion I'm having now with the ACT government and the ABL, '' Bishell said.

''If we get one shot at this in the next three or four years, would we rather do that when we have the capacity to host 3000 fans?''

Meanwhile, the Cavs have used player power to find a replacement for first base KC Hobson, who the Toronto Blue Jays recalled to the US due to a calf injury.

Hobson was the all-important fourth hitter in the line-up and was one of the few left-handed bats in the team.

The timing, unfortunately, coincided with Hanshin Tigers left-handed import Kohei Shibata's return to Japan.

Bishell held a meeting with Canberra's senior players after their 3-1 series win over the Brisbane Bandits on Sunday, which put the Cavalry on top of the ABL ladder, to discuss possible replacements.

A short-list of two has been created, with one believed to be affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ideally, they want a left-handed bat who plays infield.

Cavalry manager Michael Collins spent his Christmas break contacting the US ahead of this weekend's top-of-the-table clash against reigning champions Perth Heat.

''We had a function with the players on the Sunday after the game and the first 40 minutes was just a group of the senior imports … going through short lists of the people we thought would be worthwhile getting across,'' Bishell told The Canberra Times.

''We've made contact with a couple of them … that's been left with [Collins].''

The Cavalry also bolstered its bullpen in the lead-up to Christmas with the signing of three pitchers.

Bryan Herrera (Kambah Eagles) and Sean Guinard (Tuggeranong Vikings) were signed from ACT Baseball first grade, while Brodie Downs will arrive from the US in the New Year.

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE

Canberra Cavalry v Perth Heat: At Baseball Park, Perth. Game 1: Friday 10.20pm; Game 2: Saturday 10.20pm; Game 3: Sunday 10.20pm; Game 4: Monday 10.20pm.

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