Today I travelled to Port Charlotte to chart our game against the Tampa Bay Rays. While I was there I got to catch up with Darryl for a few minutes near the end of our game. While I was sitting in the stands his team mates recognised my Australian accent, and asked me if I knew him, after I told them that Darryl and me were friends, they went on to say "Ahh Darryl, love that guy, he's just a big clown". So sounds like he is fitting in well there and is quite popular among his teammates. Below is a little chat I had to Darryl with what it's like being the only Australian at the Rays.
T - When you arrived at the Rays, were you nervous turning up there and not knowing anyone?
D - Definitely, its' like your first day of school, you don't know anyone there and everything is a new experience, but being Australian, it's very easy to make friends quickly.
T - Being the only Australian there, have you been asked many things about Australia?
D - Yeah, the major one being "Does everyone drink Fosters beer in Australia?". They basically just go off what they've seen on t.v, such as beer commercials, Outback Steakhouse, Crocodile Dundee or Steve Irwin, they think all of us live in the outback.
T - Have you ever had to try and explain Australian sports to your teammates?
D - Yeah, tons of times, mainly cricket and footy (AFL). My teammates get so confused by it, but once I explain the rules, they start to understand. It takes a while to explain it though. They think footy is like a mix of basketball, soccer, rugby and NFL.
T - What's the best part about being the only Australian in the organisation?
D - I guess it sort of makes you feel like a celebrity, because everyone knows you.
Across town where the Boston Red Sox complex is, I always run into Justin Erasmus and the Moanaroa brothers. I have pitched to both Boss and Moko while being here, walking Boss once, getting him to ground out to 1st base, and I struck out Moko once. Hopefully I haven't jinxed myself since I am pitching against the Red Sox tomorrow. It's fun facing these guys, especially when I think about the first time I pitched against Boss was in 2007 at our Under 16 National Championships, and now we are facing each other half way around the world. It is kind of surreal thinking about how far we have come in the last 4 years.
I'm sure whenever another Australian runs into another one at any level in the Minor Leagues, even if they don't really know each other, it must be nice just to hear another Aussie accent, and makes home feel that little bit closer.