The Canberra Cavalry celebrate their ABL championship win on the lawns of Parliament House. Photo: Jay Cronan
His first season managing in the Australian Baseball League has the Canberra Cavalry convinced Michael Collins could find his way to ''the show''.
While a group of his players proudly paraded the Claxton Shield on Monday, Collins was already on a plane back to the US to take up his role as manager of the San Diego Padres' Arizona League team. But he's pledged to be back to defend the ABL title he helped win on Saturday night.
Canberra general manager Peter Bishell said Collins could have the management job for as long as he wanted, after taking the Cavalry from consecutive wooden spoons to champions in the space of just one season.
Canberra Cavalry manager Michael Collins. Photo: Graham Tidy
He also predicted the major leagues weren't out of reach for him.
Bishell thought if Collins had been coaching the Perth Heat in the championship series then there would be a different name on the Claxton Shield.
''I wonder how Perth would have gone if they had Michael Collins as a manager? I think he made a difference in this year's competition,'' Bishell said. ''I think he was by far the outstanding manager of this year's competition and that's not taking away from the management of any other team - they're all great managers in their own right - but I just think 'Tubby' is a step above.
''He's a guy who could easily have a significant management role in a big league team over in the US.''
With spring training fast approaching, Collins has had no time to reflect on the ACT's historic first win of the national title since the Shield was introduced in 1934.
But before he left, Collins vowed to be back in a season where the Cavalry will represent Australia in the Asia Baseball Series.
Not even his marriage in Hawaii on November 8 could stop the 28-year-old from wanting to come back.
''I sure hope so. I spoke to [the Cavalry], they'd like to have me back and I want to come back, it's just a matter of waiting until it's a little bit closer to the point and making sure that I don't have other commitments that I have to fulfil,'' Collins told The Canberra Times.
Collins said he'd already received an email from the Cavalry's three Japanese imports - Kohei Shibata, Hirokazu Shiranita and Masanori Fujihara - who left before Christmas, congratulating the team on winning the ABL championship.
He said it showed the tight-knit nature of this season's Cavalry and believed that was the difference that got Canberra over the line - everyone was playing for their mates.
Meanwhile, relief pitcher Brodie Downs has been invited to spring training by the Padres. Downs spent three seasons with the Seattle Mariners, climbing to their AAA-class team before he was released in 2009.
The 33-year-old has rebuilt himself as a side-arm slinger in an attempt to renew his career and was encouraged by the Padres to play for the Cavalry this season.
Downs left the nation's capital for the US on Monday, while Canberran Robbie Perkins will report for spring training with the Colorado Rockies next month.