New Zealand franchise to join the Australian Baseball League
Baseball New Zealand will officially join the Australian Baseball League (ABL) as the ‘Auckland Tuatara’.
Tuatara are reptiles endemic to New Zealand and is the country’s oldest surviving species.
Former Major League Baseball pitcher, Steve Mintz, has been confirmed to manage the side with the first home game of the season to be played on November 22nd.
The Tuatara logo features a teal and royal navy colour scheme which was chosen to resemble the region’s marine heritage, along with the head of the Tuatara.
Auckland Tuatara board member Brett O’Riley told the NZ Herald: “We are celebrating the resilience of the Tuatara as our oldest surviving species, and we want the team to mirror those qualities on the diamond.”
“We intend to make an annual contribution towards Tuatara conservation through Auckland Zoo and global coverage of the team will raise awareness of New Zealand’s commitment to species protection.”
Establishing a New Zealand franchise in the ABL has been almost a decade in the making. Baseball New Zealand initially held talks with the league about eight years ago, before being offered a spot in the competition late last year.
The Tuatara will host their 12 home games at Te Atatu’s McLeod Park in their debut season and Baseball New Zealand chief executive, Ryan Flynn, said the establishment of the new club will hep provide pathways for juniors.
“Kiwi kids will have a local team to aspire to and our leading players will be able to play professionally while being based here at home,” he said.
“There is a tremendous appetite for professional baseball in New Zealand and we are delighted to be able to give Kiwi sports fans the opportunity to see it first-hand.”