The Adelaide leg of the Australian Baseball League (ABL) season is in full swing and for Adelaide Giants infielder Curtis Mead, the chance to play ball in a COVID world is one he is not looking to take for granted.
The season began in Brisbane but as a second wave of infections hit Queensland, the league was thrown into a panic.
Six games scheduled at Brisbane’s Viticon Stadium were postponed as the teams were ushered into the second stage of hub life, Adelaide.
“Getting out of Brisbane was a bit of a challenge, but the guys who look after us did a really good job at keeping us in the loop and making sure we knew what was happening,” Mead said.
“Its great to be back in Adelaide.
“Last year, we had a few really good walk off wins at home and we got so much energy from the home fans.
“West Beach is a pretty unique place as it gets windy and the ball doesn’t carry and we used that to our advantage so hopefully it continues this season.”
When speaking with The Inner Sanctum, Mead admitted that although he is used to playing a lot of games in a short space of time, two games in one day is an entirely different beast.
“Playing every day is something we do overseas in the minor leagues, so it’s not completely unusual but the way the games are condensed with so many double headers is very unique,” he said.
“On the field, it is all about staying in a good routine, still getting your practice in and especially your recovery.
“Playing two games can be really draining sometimes so its about making sure you do the little things well to ensure you perform well.”
Following their stint in Brisbane, the Giants found themselves on top of the ABL standings, a position that many inside the camp feel is representative of the talent on their list.
Adelaide fell just short of glory last season, finishing in second place behind an impressive Melbourne Aces outfit, something that is certainly not far from the mind of those involved in the campaign.
“There are so many of us who are a part of the team that fell short last year,” Mead said.
“Guys like Rixon, Mitch Edwards, Lotty (Jason Lott) are really determined to get back to the Championship series and go one step further.
“It’s shaping to be a really challenging season, but we think we have the talent in the locker room to go all the way.”
Curtis, who this year is set to turn just 21 years of age, is one of the most promising players currently plying their trade in the ABL.
Born in Adelaide, his talent attracted the interest of scouts from the US from an early age, which saw him signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018.
From there he played in the minor league for a couple of years before last year, fellow minor league club, the Tampa Bay Rays, identified Mead as a trade target.
“I was probably as surprised as anybody,” Mead revealed.
“I was in Adelaide training with the Giants and the next thing people are out on the field telling me that I’d been traded and they’d seen it on twitter.
“Only later did I actually speak to someone about it all, but Tampa have been great.
“They put me in touch with a heap of the Rays guys who are involved with the Perth Heat and that’s been good as well.”
There is no question that Mead has a bright future playing baseball at a high level overseas, but Adelaide will always be home thanks to a strong personal connection.
Last year Mead signed a five year deal keeping him an Adelaide Giant until 2025, which, at the time, was the longest contract ever signed by a player in the ABL.
“My dad (Tim) played for the Giants in the late 80’s and early 90’s so just to follow in his footsteps was fantastic,” Mead said.
“To commit long-term to the Giants is great and hopefully I can contribute to us bringing a championship to Adelaide.”
The Giants will no doubt be happy to keep Mead around as his on-field form has been spectacular.
A powerful hitter with a great sense for the game, Curtis has been an integral part of the Giants line-up for a number of years and with no intention of leaving anytime soon, the club is in great shape moving forward.