Taiwanese connection helping Brisbane Bandits rise
BRISBANE Bandits chief executive Mark Ready plans to create his own field of dreams in the Queensland capital ... thanks to Taiwan.
Ready, a shrewd entrepreneur who owns his own towing business, has held connections with the Taiwanese community in Brisbane for 45 years. Still chasing their first Claxton Shield title, the Bandits sit second - one win behind Adelaide - after seven rounds, following a 2-2 split at champion Perth last weekend.
Part of the resurgence - the team missed the finals in the past two seasons - has come from the team's Taiwanese players - pitchers Chen-Hua Lin (pictured) and Szu Hau Huang, and catcher Kuan-Wei Yang.
All three players hail from the EDA Rhinos club in Taiwan where baseball is the country's No.1 sport.
Ready said ball fan Rickey Lo, from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Brisbane, had played a key role in signing the trio.
"Rickey's been around baseball for the last four years, coming to Bandits games, and he made it happen with the Rhinos," Ready said.
"His dream has always been to connect Taiwan to Brisbane - I spoke to Rickey and the next day the director of player development was on the phone.
"We negotiated for 24 hours and Lin, Huang and Yang were on the plane five days later."
Off the field, Ready said the Bandits were tapping in to the large Taiwan community in south-east Queensland with this weekend's home series against Canberra set to attract a big crowd to Holloway Field.
"It's been a dream of mine to turn Holloway Field into something special for (local club) the Windsor Royals," Ready said.
"Bringing the Bandits here was the first piece of that. Getting to run the Bandits has been an honour and I know that I can turn this into a phenomenon.
"We really are just at the tip of the iceberg. There are big things coming."