Whole new ball game

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By ES­THER LAUAKI

The Bishop fam­ily name is syn­ony­mous with soft­ball in Porirua, but now it could be the name on ev­ery­one’s lips when they talk about base­ball too.

Me­dia have been in a frenzy over 19-year-old Te Wera Bishop since he signed a con­tract with Amer­i­can base­ball fran­chise the Bos­ton Red Sox last week.

A Kiwi has yet to set the ma­jor league on fire, but for­mer Black Sox Travis Wil­son toiled for eight years at the Atlanta Braves and Auck­lan­der Scott Camp­bell plays for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Bishop said it all started with an in­no­cent game of catch while watch­ing younger brother Te Kahui play in the Ocea­nia AA Base­ball Cham­pi­onships in Auck­land three weeks ago.

Be­fore then, Bishop had never played base­ball in his life and had barely warmed his feet as a catcher for the Black Sox, whom he trained with last year.

‘‘I was just play­ing throws with my youngest brother be­hind the stands and the Red Sox scout [Jon Dee­ble] was ac­tu­ally walk­ing to the toi­let. He saw me play­ing throws and he asked what my name was, then he said, ‘Oh, I’ve been wait­ing for you’.’’

Dee­ble had seen footage of Bishop and was im­pressed by what he saw. Bishop tri­alled that day and was a hit with se­lec­tors.

‘‘It’s moved re­ally fast and it’s not daunt­ing, it’s more ex­cit­ing. It’s a once in a life­time op­por- tu­nity,’’ he said.

Bishop said his new code will take some get­ting used to.

‘‘I al­ways used to watch the Red Sox play on TV when I was lit­tle and watched base­ball all the time, but I will al­ways love soft­ball.’’

Bishop leaves for Syd­ney on March 1 to meet with two Aus­tralian brothers who also made the cut, be­fore they head to Fort My­ers, Florida for spring train­ing.

‘‘I don’t know what to ex­pect. I’ve never moved away from home by my­self for a long time be­fore now that’s daunt­ing.

‘‘ But Porirua will al­ways be home.’’

Outta here: Te Wera Bishop is head­ing to the United States on March 1 to start train­ing with Amer­i­can base­ball fran­chise the Bos­ton Red Sox.

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