Whole new ball game
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.