Former Canberra Cavalry pitcher Steven Kent has rejoiced in news this morning that the Australian Baseball League club will have new license owners going into the 2021/22 ABL season, effective immediately.
Baseball Australia has announced that ACT-based Infielder Pty Ltd has been appointed the new licensees of the Canberra Cavalry for the upcoming season, and beyond. Baseball Australia CEO Glenn Williams described Infielder as “a real partner that is looking to make the Cavalry a great franchise”.
A veteran of the ABL, Kent has been with the Cavalry for every season of the latest iteration of the league since it formed in 2010, bar one where he was recovering from Tommy John surgery.
He called time on his ABL career on February 15, 2021, the elimination final win against the Adelaide Giants his last game in orange. He retired holding the record for the most wins (26) and the second-most saves (20) by a Cavalry pitcher and on January 31, 2020 recorded his 350th strikeout.
A main representative in the green and gold also, Kent has said previously that the upcoming Tokyo Olympics would be his professional career swan song. Having been a member of Team Australia since he was 17, in a RiotACT article from June 2020, Kent made his future intentions clear.
“The Olympic Games is the last bastion. I’ve played in all the major competitions for Australia and the Tokyo Games would be an ideal way to finish,” Kent said in the article.
With the latest update in regards to the Cavalry’s new licensees, the 31-year-old lefty has now declared he’s “so happy” to see the direction the Cavalry are headed in, and believes Infielder will turn things around.
“The Cavalry now finally have license holders who are passionate about growing the game, who will look after their players, who want to win and who are determined to give a great experience to fans, members and volunteers,” Kent wrote in the Facebook comments section of Canberra’s article.
“I have no doubt that (chief operating officer) Brendon (Major) and (chief executive) Illya (Mastoris) will turn this organisation around and will make it what it should be!”
Infielder chief operating officer Brendon Major said they were “looking forward to re-establishing a strong working relationship” with members, fans, sponsors and the board at Baseball Canberra.
“I am already inspired by the fans’ passion for the game, our love of competition and desire to win the right way and I know our players and fans are going to be inspired as well”, Major said.
Infielder chief executive Illya Mastoris echoed the same sentiments, and made mention of the “fiercely loyal” Cavalry fans.
“Infielder will be determined to give the team, our great coach, staff and players the support they need to do their best work on the diamond and we will do whatever is necessary to provide our fans and families with the best game-night experience in the ABL”, Mastoris said.
Kent has spoken before about the viability of having a baseball team in Canberra, stating there is excitement within the community to support the local team. Kent remarked in a RiotACT article that they “have people who come out to our games that aren’t baseball people but are people that love Canberra and the community and fall in love with baseball.”
In a similar piece from The Strikeout France, Kent again talks of how the Canberra community has adopted the Cavalry. In the article, Kent mentions that “[the] people of Canberra are so passionate about the Cavalry,” identifying that Canberrans would do anything to support their local team.
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The Cavalry has housed many stars that have gone on to forge long Major League Baseball careers, including the Philadelphia Phillies’ Didi Gregorius (2010/11) and the Tampa Ray Bays’ Kevin Keimaier (2011/12).
However, despite being a main feature in the ABL post-season, appearing in the playoffs seven out of 11 years including a 2012/13 Claxton Shield title, the organisation has been burdened by unforeseen disruptions in recent years.
In a COVID-inflicted world, travel restrictions, testing, and quarantine became part of the routine which eventually took its toll on the organization.
The challenging environment has been reflected in ongoing cash-flow problems that the club hopes to turn around to secure financial security long-term and not allow another season to be affected by these circumstances.
Kent, just last week had used the comments section of a RiotACT article to describe the situation facing the ABL organisation who went into voluntary administration late last month, estimated to owe $400,000 to creditors.
Of the articles surrounding the Cavalry’s situation within the last week, Kent said he found it a “very funny” scenario that the claims put forward by the representative appeared “to think that the current directors [and] owners will remain in place”.
“Surely they know the writing is on the wall and that their time at the helm has become untenable,” Kent would further write.
The four-time ABL All-Star called on Baseball Australia and the ABL to take action, hoping they “aren’t silly enough to let the administration of the organisation to remain in place.”
“If for some reason they did allow that to happen, I find it extremely unlikely that the Cavalry would be able to field a team in the next ABL season because there would be a mass exodus of players, field staff, volunteers, and sponsors due to their treatment over the past few years,” he wrote.
The left-handed pitcher is wary of the amount of misinformation that has been on display recently, as well as unattributed quotes in other articles of the administration and possible ownership change.
“[This is] leading people to think everything is okay at the Cavalry, when the stark reality is that things are dire at the Canberra Cavalry, not only from a financial perspective but also with the way people have been treated,” Kent revealed.
“The best thing that could ever happen to this organization is for new owners to come in before the team ceases to exist.”
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