Base­ball ‘slug­ger’ set up on wa­ter­front

Auckland City Harbour News - - OUT & ABOUT - SAMHEWAT

You would be for­given for think­ing Auck­land’s wa­ter­front is be­ing trans­formed into a hub for one of Amer­ica’s favourite pas­times.

Base­ball New Zealand, in part­ner­ship with Wyn­yard Quar­ter, and sports equip­ment sup­plier The Field­house, have set up the ‘‘Silo Park Slug­ger’’ with twin bat­ting cages that let par­tic­i­pants hit a base­ball with the Har­bour Bridge in site.

It’s part of Panuku De­vel­op­ment’s pro­gramme which seeks out new and in­no­va­tive ways to en­hance Wyn­yard Quar­ter.

And the cages are just one slice of Amer­ica. Wyn­yard Quar­ter will also be play­ing the clas­sic base­ball film Field of Dreams on the side of one of the wa­ter­front’s Si­los. Mean­while, the night mar­kets will at­tract Amer­i­can food­ies with a stall ded­i­cated to US del­i­ca­cies.

Base­ball New Zealand spokesman Ian McDon­ald said it’s a great op­por­tu­nity for lo­cals and vis­i­tors to get a taste of what base­ball is like in New Zealand.

‘‘Pro­mot­ing the game of base­ball is the big thing,’’ McDon­ald said.

‘‘We’re a grow­ing sport in this coun­try and what bet­ter way to do it.’’

Panuku De­vel­op­ment project man­ager Marieke Nu­man said the fam­ily-fo­cused ac­tiv­ity was brought to its at­ten­tion be­cause of the at­ti­tude around sport.

‘‘Some­thing we no­ticed while bring­ing the ini­tia­tive to life is that the base­ball com­mu­nity in New Zealand is very well­con­nected and fos­ters a re­ally pos­i­tive at­ti­tude where ev­ery­one pitches in to get things mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion,’’ she said.

‘‘For ex­am­ple, each week­end the Slug­ger will be hosted by one of seven base­ball clubs across Auck­land, which is pretty spe­cial in a time when some­times com­mu­ni­ties can seem a lit­tle dis­con­nected from one an­other.’’

An open­ing evening was held last month, with New York Yan­kees star Didi Gre­go­rius on hand to bat­tle it out against Black Caps crick­eter Martin Gup­till.

The tim­ing is per­fect for base­ball in New Zealand, with the sport fea­tur­ing in the World Masters Games, to be held through­out Auck­land in April this year.

The cages will be open from 4-8pm, Wed­nes­day to Fri­day, and 12-8pm on Satur­day’s and Sun­days - fin­ish­ing on Fe­bru­ary 19.

The cost of en­try is $2 per per­son.

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