Hi everyone, and welcome to the first installment of my winter league blog. I'll be checking in twice a month from Sydney, Australia, where I'll be playing for the Blue Sox in the Australian Winter League.
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Jamie Westbrook and I'm a second baseman in the D-backs' organization. I'm what you call a "homegrown" D-back and couldn't be more excited about it. Born and raised in the Phoenix area, I was drafted out of Basha High School (Go Bears!) in the fifth round of the 2013 Draft.
Shortly after I was drafted, I spent time in rookie ball, playing in the Arizona Rookie League and the Pioneer League. 2014 was my first full Minor League season and I played for the South Bend Silver Hawks of the Midwest League. That was a great experience as I was able to see what professional baseball was all about ... and that includes the long bus rides!
I had played in more games than ever before and saw parts of the country that I had never been. This past season, I was promoted to the Visalia Rawhide of the California League, which was really exciting because I was closer to home and it allowed my friends and family to come out and watch me play. I also felt this was a big year for me as I was able to grow as a player and learn a lot about the game.
Now, a new journey awaits as I've made it to the other side of the world, and I can't wait to spend the next couple of months down under.
My first week in Australia was an amazing experience and a bit of a culture shock. My expectations of being down under and the reality of being here couldn't be further apart, but I'm starting to adjust. There is more of a language barrier than just the accent; some of the lingo or slang can really throw you off, especially when ordering food, which I found out the hard way.
We were able to take in a lot of sights, mainly beaches and the harbor in downtown Sydney. The scenery is beautiful and even though we are about an hour away from the heart of Sydney, the train gives us easy access. As far as baseball is concerned, the league is very similar to normal Minor League baseball in some aspects and completely different in others. In our first four games, we were .500, and I'm looking forward to our first homestand this weekend. Can't wait to see what else Australia has in store for me.
I'll be answering a few questions in each blog, so please send them to me on Twitter (@jwesunderscore4) and I'll do my best to get to as many as possible.
Jamie Westbrook is an infielder for the Sydney Blue Sox in the Australian Baseball League. Follow him on Twitter @jwesunderscore4. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.