We are just a week away from pitchers and catchers reporting, but there is already championship baseball on your TV. I have been known to tune into the Caribbean Series from time to time, but I have found something even better to watch…the Australian Baseball League Championship Series. I am typing this in the bottom of the fifth, but I have been on the ABL website, so I know the final result, so if you are watching, stop reading now. Game one was a pretty good 4-1 win by the Perth Heat. Game two was a fantastic matchup that was won by the Melbourne Aces in the 13th inning sending the series to a decisive third game. Now, a bit of background that as I have become an “expert” since watching the ABL all the way back to Friday. There are six teams in the league, four make the playoffs after a 45 game season. the Perth Heat were the runaway leaders of the regular season being the only team with a winning record, finishing 13 games better than the Aces, and 14 games beter than the other four teams in the league. There are guys in the low minors and a few that have some MLB experience in the league, most notably Justin Huber. Now, back to the baseball. Melbourne scored at least one run in each of the first three innings of game three, but Perth managed to keep the game close eventually tying the game at 6 in the fifth. After the fifth inning, the scoring suddenly stopped as both bullpens pitched lights out the rest of the way. The decisive game three, try and put yourself in a game seven of the World Series mindset here, goes into extra innings. Both teams at the edge of their seats on every pitch. Then comes the bottom of the 13th. The leadoff batter is hit by a slider, advances to second on a sacrifice bunt, then to third on a groundout. The series winning run now stands 90 feet away for Perth with two outs in the inning. The second pitch of the following at-bat would leave Mitch Williams thanking his lucky stars he didn’t lose a series this way, even if he was known as “Wild Thing”. The slider from Andrew Russell was well off target and gets away from catcher Kevin David and makes it’s way toward the backstop. James McOwen breaks toward the plate. David gets to the ball and flings it back to home at nearly the same time McOwen gets there….but McOwen just gets under the tag. The Perth Heat celebrate their second consecutive Claxton Shield. I now have an even bigger itch for Spring Training to start, but I have also found the perfect fix to the post-Super Bowl depression I fall into due to the lack of decent sports. Let’s face it, watching competitive baseball with nobody you have ever heard of is still better than regular season college basketball or the non-Jeremy Lin garbage the NBA is currently putting out there on a night to night basis. So thank you ABL, thank you for giving me something decent to watch. Now, where can I find a Sydney Blue Sox hat here in America? By far my favorite obscure sports hat I have seen in some time…got to get me one of those.