The whirlwind baseball tour of Owen Reid has his latest destination landing him in Perth, Australia where he is greatly involved in a grass roots effort of teaching a young generation a game that is considered to be a third-tier sport at best among Aussies.
Meanwhile at the same time the 26-year old Moberly native continues to play baseball at a professional level.
“I’ve here about 2 years now and I’m very attracted to the lifestyle, it’s culture and certainly the weather here in Australia,” said Reid in a telephone interview. “To be able to work with baseball in this kind of venue where I teach young kids about their desire to play, much like I did, and play at a high level is special. I’m learning much about the business side of the baseball, and at the same time I remain playing the game that my family and I have been very involved with ever since I was a very young boy.”
After graduating in May of 2009 from Winthrop University of Rock Hill S.C. where he also played baseball for the Eagles, Red spent the following summer playing semi-pro ball in Alaska. That adventure led him to Vienna, Austria in the fall to play in the Austrian Baseball League where he helped the Superfund Wanderers win the 2009 ABL championship.
Reid was selected to play on the Austrian National Team that competed in the annual Prague Baseball Week, a five-day series of games between European national teams including Croatia, Russia and Sweden that were played at Prague, Czech Republic.
The son of Bill Jr. and Regina Reid of Moberly said traveling to Europe to play a game that has consumed an entire lifetime for him was not just another trip. During Owen’s five months in Central Europe he was exposed to more cultural experiences than some people get in an entire lifetime.
Through some college connections, the doors of international baseball once again opened for Reid to boldly enter.
This time his plane ticket took Reid to the “Land Down Under” of Perth, Western Australia. Here, he had a front office job serving as operations manager and marketing for the Perth Heat, one of the premier professional baseball organizations in the Australian Baseball League.
The league attracts professional baseball players from the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, Italy, Europe and even the Middle East said Reid who comes to Australia during their winter months of its off-season so that they may further develop their skills. Temperatures in Perth will be in the mid-90s the next few months with little or no humidity said Reid.
“We get a nice blend of players from different nationalities who come here and join some of the local professionals on one of the six teams in this league to play ball for a few months,” said Reid. “When I was operations manager, I managed interns, game day staff persons, help promote and market ball games including the championship series and all-star game that was played. I was a communication channel between administration, the coaches and the players. All of this was a dynamic blend of work responsibilities. Because of this, I have learned much about the business side of baseball.”
In a country and continent where Cricket and Aussie Rules Football are the major sports that are mostly taught and celebrated, Reid said it hasn’t been until about the past decade that baseball is gaining recognition across Australia.
“Until recently, if you ask about Australian baseball most people would laugh at you. The culture here is taking a turn for the better and there is a growing interest in the sport,” said Reid. “There was a need for people reach out and teach baseball to children at a young age, and also teach adults how to become baseball coaches in an effort to gain more interest in the sport.”
Upon learning about this growing need, last April he chose to take a different career path and has now become more directly involved in junior development. Reid conducts coaching clinics with baseball players from age 8 through 23-years of age.
“My role as a Assistant High-Performance Development Coach is quite dynamic. I educate and mentor youth development participants for pursuing elite pathways through international baseball and facilitate Perth Heat informational seminars to various metropolitan and regional communities in Western Australia,” said Reid. “Additionally, I lead coaching accreditation courses, administer written tests, conduct practical assessments and evaluate the progress coaches and players make.”
Reid also remains in the game. He is playing middle infield, outfield and some pitching on a metro baseball team with what is known as the WA State Association League, a professional baseball organization considered to be one level down from the Australian Baseball League. The team he plays for is named Morley Eagles, and there are 12 teams in the WA State Association.
Games began Oct. 1 and runs through March in which there are about 40 games that are played. Sometimes there is only one game per week while others involve three.
With all the international travel destinations Reid has taken the past three years being work-related in the baseball industry, Reid said he finally took some “vacation time” and spent nearly 2 months in North America this year traveling from coast to coast.
Of course his vacation plans in July and August centered on baseball, but he did find time to spend with his family for a couple of weeks. He visited 11 Major League Baseball parks and watched 15 games, including the 2012 All-Start Game and all of its festivities hosted in Kansas City.
Reid’s vacation began in California where he visited all four MLB parks and ended in New York. Among the destinations included watching ball games in Seattle, Phoenix, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Boston, Chicago and Toronto. He even toured the Grand Canyon.
While visiting the Big Apple, Reid said the highlight of his trip was his visit to the famous Major League Baseball Fan Cave. He wrote about his Fan Cave experience and posted it on the Internet. Readers are welcome to read his story named “Fan Cave is Baseball’s Best Kept Secret” by visiting the website link that accompanies this story.
“I am fortunate that baseball has taken me almost around the world, places where I probably would not have been able to go otherwise.It has allowed me a means to communicate with other nationalities, learn and explore different cultures and ways of life, and get to play the game at so many different locations,” said Reid. “I truly enjoy my job and profession. Right now I could not ask for anything more.”
“I’m happy what I’m doing here at Perth, but I still have a desire to travel elsewhere and see where baseball may take me in the future.”
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On the Web
To follow Owen Reid’s baseball progress with the Morley Eagles of Perth, Western Australia, access the team’s website at:
To read Owen’s account of his visit to the MLB Fan Cave in New York City, see his story online at: