The Diamondbacks weren’t the only baseball ambassadors from Arizona in Australia during Major League Baseball’s opening series.
A former All-Arizona high school pitcher from Phoenix Thunderbird High, Bryan Wagner, also was an active participant during the two-game series between the Diamondbacks-Dodgers that wrapped up Saturday in Sydney. Wagner actually works in Australia as an accountant/finance assistant for the Australian Baseball League, which hosted MLB’s opening series and is partially subsidized by MLB.
Wagner moved to Australia last year after given the job that combines his two passions in life, accounting and baseball. Besides his regular duties, Wagner also was on the field on Saturday as one of the mascots during the mascot race at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Wagner didn’t say where he placed in the race, but it sounds like he is already winning in life with his job in sunny Australia.
“Participation, attendance and ticket sales are all at an all-time high, and we had 20 percent growth in (ABL) ticket sales alone last year,” said Wagner in an e-mail he sent to aia365.com. “I think baseball in Australia has a bright future with the help of the opening series.”
Wagner turned in a memorable season in his senior year despite being diagnosed with cancer after his junior season. He finished 11-1 in 2004 with 105 strikeouts and a .97 ERA.