As we near the halfway point in the season, I couldn't be more grateful for how my experience in Australia is going. My roommates and I have really made a conscious effort to take advantage of our surroundings and see as much of the country as possible while still getting our work in on the field. Recently, we visited the Blue Mountains, which was an amazing experience in itself, and we were able to hike all the way down the canyon to Wentworth Falls and see an amazing waterfall.
Along with the Blue Mountains, we've been able to go to more beaches ... one in particular called Freshwater, which did not disappoint. This was the clearest ocean water I had ever seen ... of course, I forgot to take a picture of it. Also, there were sand dunes that we actually used to get a leg workout on before we relaxed for the day. This was by far the best beach I've been to.
Sydney also has tons of amazing restaurants scattered throughout the city, so I try to make it a point to visit a new place every time we are downtown, and I've yet to find a bad meal anywhere. Rib & Burgers, Opera Bar, Frankie's Pizza, Glenmore and Buckley's Grill have been awesome. Although all of the restaurants were tasty, nothing compared to the Thanksgiving dinner I was able to have.
One of the tough parts about playing winter ball is being away from friends and family for the holidays. I knew that this experience was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but you still miss home at times. Having other American players on the team and meeting other Americans since being here did make for a great Thanksgiving. We were able to throw together a solid meal with turkey and all of the essentials and had about 15 people over to celebrate the holiday. We spent several hours the day before preparing the house, cleaning, setting up tables and getting the food ready, but it was all worth it. Thanksgiving in Australia will definitely be one to remember. I couldn't be more thankful that our schedule allowed us to celebrate one of my favorite holidays away from home.
As I mentioned in earlier blogs, the team was not playing up to our abilities, and we ran into a bit of bad luck, quite frankly, but that changed over this past weekend. Things started to click for us in every aspect of the game, and it was refreshing to see us play the way we were capable of. We played a homestand against Brisbane, which features a lot of professional affiliated ball guys, and were able to sweep them in the four-game weekend series. With Brisbane being one of the top two teams in the league coming into the series, sweeping them gave us the confidence to know we have the talent to compete, and if we continue to play the way we did last weekend, the sky is the limit for us.
With only three teams making the playoffs, it is crucial that we take this past weekend and use it to propel us into championship contention. It would be amazing to win a ring Down Under, and that's the mindset of everyone on the team. I'm glad we finally put it together, and the best is yet to come. I truly think the Sydney Blue Sox are going to be a force to be reckoned with. I'm excited for the upcoming series in Adelaide to see if we can keep the ball rolling and continue our win streak.
Until next time.
You can ask Jamie questions for him to answer in a future post or follow along via his account on Twitter @jwesunderscore4.
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.