Former MLB pitcher and NZ team signing says there is 'real talent' for baseball in NZ

Former Major League Baseball player Josh Collmenter says there is a lot of “real talent” in New Zealand and he hopes to inspire some youngsters to great careers during his time here playing and coaching,

The former Diamondbacks and Braves pitcher is one of the first of some big names locked in to play for New Zealand's first professional team in its inaugural season in the Australian Baseball League.

Collmenter is also coaching during his time in New Zealand and has been impressed by the talent.

“There is a lot of real talent here and they’re seeing that with the younger kids getting involved and then by the time they get to 15 or 18 or whatever they’re really good ball players.”

“I know a lot of the guys haven’t played baseball long or especially pitchers so just seeing what they have naturally, it’s fun to be able to impart a little bit of wisdom or maybe a couple of pointers that will hopefully take them to where they want to go.”

“For such a small country, obviously they have success in a lot of other sports, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t be able to have success in baseball.”

As far as signing with the yet to be named New Zealand ABL franchise, Collmenter says the opportunity to be part of something new, along with the coaching, was appealing.

“It was kind of an exciting premise to be part of something new and Ryan (Baseball NZ CEO Ryan Flynn) was telling me a little bit more about Baseball NZ and the fact they’ve bought over some major leaguers before.”

“It was just a good opportunity for me to one, continue my career, and two, do it in a place I’ve never been before.”

“To be part of something brand new and what they’re building with Baseball NZ and to work with the kids and hopefully give them some inspiration and see where baseball can potentially take them.”

Collmenter says he’s enjoyed a week of New Zealand winter after escaping the stifling Arizona summer but he is already jetting off with the national under-15 team to Taiwan as their pitching coach.

There is no word yet on what the Auckland professional team will be named but it's expected to be announced in the coming weeks. 

The former Diamondbacks and Braves pitcher headlines the signings ahead of the unnamed NZ team’s inaugural season in the Australia Baseball League. Source: 1 NEWS


Topics



Former UFC champion Jon Jones to return to the octagon after 15-month doping suspension

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones should be eligible to fight by late October after completing a 15-month suspension for a doping violation.

The US Anti-Doping Agency today announced the length of Jones' ban for his second violation of the UFC's anti-doping policy.

The decision means the 31-year-old Jones could even fight at UFC 230 in New York on November 3, if the UFC decides to book his comeback bout on that card.

Jones is widely considered the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist in the world, but he has repeatedly sabotaged his own career.

He reclaimed the light heavyweight title from Daniel Cormier last year, but the victory was taken away when he tested positive for a steroid metabolite.

Jones also failed an out-of-competition test in 2016.

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 29:  (L-R) Jon Jones punches Daniel Cormier in their UFC light heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 214 event inside the Honda Center on July 29, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jon Jones punches Daniel Cormier in their UFC light heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 214 event inside the Honda Centre in Anaheim, California. Source: Getty


Topics

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Watch: Sonny Bill joins daughters in comical Rocky Balboa inspired training video for upcoming bout

Sonny Bill Williams has called in the help of his daughters, Aisha and Imman, to promote his return to the boxing ring in December, with the star posting a hilarious Rocky Balboa inspired training video on social media today.

The cross-code star will fight Australian millionaire Stu Laundy on December 1, in a charity event to fundraise money for the homeless in New Zealand and Australia.

The 33-year-old All Black posted on his Instagram account today a video of him squatting with one daughter on his arm and another on his shoulders.

He also performs sit-ups while feeding his kids in the video.

"I'm back in the ring Dec 1st - Fighting for those who happen to be a bit down on their luck and are homeless in Aotearoa and Australia. It's an honour to be part of this special event ❤️," posted Williams.

He's in line to make his Test rugby return against the Pumas in Argentina next Sunday, after three months out following a shoulder injury against France.

The cross-code star is set to step back into the ring in December in a charity event for the homeless. Source: Instagram/ sonnybillwilliams

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

North and South Korea confirm joint bid for 2032 Summer Olympics

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a statement today that the countries planned to jointly bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics.

At a major summit, the two leaders gave no details of which cities might host certain events at the games, or how advanced the plans were.

The International Olympic Committee traditionally does not announce host cities until seven years ahead of the games. That would give the Koreas until 2025 to put together a joint bid.

Germany has already announced plans for a multi-city bid for 2032, as has Brisbane, Australia. The India Olympic Committee has also indicated its interest in hosting the 2032 Games.

A successful bid by the Koreas would mark the second time South Korea hosted or co-hosted the Summer Games, the first being 1988 in Seoul. South Korea also hosted the Pyeongchang Winter Games in February.

Asia also features in the next two Olympics — the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, which also hosted the summer version in 2008.

The joint statement today also said the Koreas would look to cooperate in major sports events such as the 2020 Games, also without elaborating.

South Korean President Moon Jae In (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un take part in a pine tree planting ceremony in the border village of Panmunjeom on April 27, 2018. (Korea Summit Press Pool) (Kyodo)
==Kyodo
(Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and South Korean President Moon Jae In took part in an historic meeting in April. Source: Getty


Topics


Eden Park's new Our Wāhine mural showcases iconic female athletes to celebrate women’s suffrage anniversary

Auckland sports stadium Eden Park has unveiled a new mural dedicated to iconic New Zealand sportswomen as part of celebrations of the 125th anniversary since Kiwi women gained the right to vote.

The mural, which spans multiple areas of the stadium, includes Yvette Williams (track and field), Suzie Bates (cricket), Farah Palmer, Fiao'o Fa'amausili (rugby), Ruia Morrison (tennis), Dame Valerie Adams (shot put) and Lisa Carrington (kayaking).

Eden Park commissioned Kiwi artist Kate Hursthouse for the artwork.

Hursthouse says 'Our Wāhine' was a special piece for her.

"It's great to have such an iconic venue in my local neighbourhood celebrate New Zealand sportswomen, acknowledge Suffrage 125 and additionally make these seven women a permanent feature of the stadium," she said.

Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner said inspiration for the mural came from last month's Black Ferns Test match against the Wallaroos.

"My great grandmother signed the scroll to get women the vote," he said.

"It's important to celebrate the women who are pushing limits and breaking boundaries in both the professional and sporting worlds. Most of those featured have long affiliations with our stadium."

Dame Valerie Adams and Yvette Williams feature among the seven chosen for the piece. Source: 1 NEWS


Topics