Bandits wish upon an All Star to stop their downward slide
WHEN times are tough, sometimes you wish you could call upon an All Star.
A lot of sporting clubs don't have that luxury.
But thankfully for the Brisbane Bandits, Dave Nilsson, arguably Australia's finest ever baseball product, is happy to help the club in its hour of need.
The Bandits organisation is officially sick of losing, after picking up three Australian Baseball League wooden spoons in the past four seasons.
Enter Brisbane product Nilsson - Australia's first ever Major League All Star.
Nilsson will take a hands-on role as chairman at the club this season, and he will be joined by new CEO Mark Ready, who also has an impressive front-office resume.
Both are talking tough about turning the club's fortunes around, but they are prepared to do the hard work to get more Queenslanders speaking about baseball.
"A lot of positive things are happening at the club. The bottom line is the club itself is no longer accepting any form of losing," Nilsson told APN.
"None whatsoever. Our desire is to be excellent in everything we do."
Nilsson is a hard taskmaster who wasn't satisfied with an outstanding silver medal for Australia in the twilight of his playing career at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
He has already set big-name recruitment targets for the local club that he loves.
"We always want to get the best players we can. The fans want to turn up, have a good night, and they want their team to win," he said.
"A lot of work needs to be done, but our main focus is making our local players perform better."
Nilsson endorsed Ready as the CEO.
Ready took Brisbane club the Windsor Royals to lofty heights, including the Baseball Australia Club of the Year gong for 2013-14.
He was also instrumental in securing the bright and large foul poles used from March's historic MLB Opening Series in Sydney, transported to the Bandits' home of Holloway Field.
That was a significant coup for Brisbane due to a deal brokered between his Ready Towing company, and Gabba Sports.
Ready will be in constant dialogue with big wigs from The Big Show in the US, with the MLB providing important financial backing to Australia's top-line competition.
"A lot of people don't know we exist. But we've been here for four years. Getting brand and sport recognition through the media is a big thing," he said.
"Keeping that connection with Major League Baseball and getting them to commit to another Opening Series in four years time is important.
"There was a period there through the '80s and '90s where we dominated the sport of baseball in Australia.
"It's gone off the boil and I don't really know why."
Ready said he was hoping to see former Aussie MLB stars Phil Stockman and Trent Durrington join his coaching staff for the upcoming 2014/15 season.