Bayliss makes late run for baseball's Bandits
TURNING 30 normally signals the beginning of the end for the average sportsman, but Steve Bayliss is far from average.
The reigning Ipswich Hockey Association A-grade player of the year is making a late crack at the elite baseball ranks for the Brisbane Bandits.
Bayliss has long been at the top of both sports in Ipswich but despite playing top level state baseball in his early 20s, higher honours have eluded him until a pre-season phone call gave him the chance to change that.
"I played Claxton Shield quite a few years ago now, but I got a phone call and asked to come down and have a run with the Bandits this season," Bayliss said.
"It's the first time I've had a crack at the development squad but the opportunity is definitely there to get into the Bandits' top roster.
"It just comes down to how well you play and whether or not you are healthy."
The Bandits' development squad is engaged in Wednesday night intra-club hit-outs ahead of the ABL season.
The squad will then play a series of games during the season, including matches against touring Japanese competition.
If the father-of-one is successful, he will join Ipswich Musketeers team mates Josh Roberts and Andrew Campbell on the Bandits main 25-man roster.
He admits that after turning 30 and becoming a dad in the past two years, any higher baseball honours would now be a bonus.
"I'm certainly not expecting anything but I'll be giving it my best, that's for sure.
"In my early 20s the goal was to be an elite athlete that worked a little bit on the side.
"Now my family and work life comes first and it's more about fitting in baseball where I can."
With his young family, a demanding career in the construction industry and his weekend sporting exploits already dominating his time, you might expect his wife Kate had concerns about his late crack at baseball's elite ranks.
Nothing could be further from the truth. With that support and a body that remains healthy, Bayliss said he had plenty of time to give to a tilt at ABL glory.
"I'm lucky I have a loving partner who allows me to do these things," he said. "Kate pretty much told me I had to.
"She said I may as well have a crack now before the body doesn't allow me to.
"Fortunately, baseball is a game where the older you get, the harder you become as long as you keep yourself healthy.
"It even becomes a bit of a thinking man's game; you learn when you have to give everything."
Bayliss said if the opportunity to pull on a Bandits uniform arrives this year, it will be an honour.
However, he hasn't been asking Muskets' team mate Roberts to put in a good word for him.
"I don't think it would help but if I thought it would, I'd certainly be doing it," he said.