Helping ‘catches’ on quickly for top Ipswich umpire
BEING a valuable mentor in hockey, Steve Rogers offered to help out a second sport during a time of need.
His willingness to be active and maintain his lifetime sporting contribution has been on show in recent weeks.
While waiting to see what international hockey umpiring opportunities come up next year, Rogers put his hand up to help the Ipswich Musketeers in this season's Greater Baseball League (GBL) competition.
"I had a bit of a chat to Soupie (club stalwart Andrew Campbell) at the presentation last year,'' he said.
Over a few drinks and offer to assist, the end result was Rogers landing catching duties in one game a week and playing right field in the second match of the regular GBL series.
Although Musketeers are winless from 17 pre-Christmas games, Rogers has performed an important senior role working with player/coach Andrew Campbell.
"Being the oldest guy there, it's kind of a bit different,'' Rogers, 41, said.
"But it's good fun playing with Soup and some of the younger guys that probably played at a decent level.
"It makes me push a little bit harder to try and keep up with them.''
Rogers was a state schoolboy baseball representative playing with Musketeers before an under-18 opportunity with Brisbane Wests. He played with Wests until he was 27.
Rogers gave up the sport due to extra family commitments and as his hockey career flourished.
He returned last year to help the Musketeers Masters and B-Grade sides before a more senior role with this season's A-Grade combination.
"I was pretty much always a catcher and used to be centre field,'' he said.
The normally consistent Ipswich side has struggled having lost some experienced pitchers and being unable to field American imports due to COVID.
"We've been pretty close but we are just lacking pitching,'' Rogers said.
The former Norths A-Grade and representative hockey striker has been mentoring Ipswich umpires for a number of years as he rises up the ranks.
However, he has enjoyed working alongside another international sportsman in Olympic prospect Campbell in a different sport.
"He has been good,'' Rogers said of Campbell.
"Totally different ideas to other coaches because he's playing at that high level. But it's nice to listen to him.''
Battling some recent hip and back injuries, Campbell is hoping to return to the Brisbane Bandits in the new year for the Australian Baseball League.
Meanwhile, 41-year-old Rogers is considered young by international hockey umpiring standards.
He's anxiously waiting to see what opportunities arise in the new year after umpiring in five International Hockey Federation Pro League matches earlier in the year before COVID intervened.
Four games were in New Zealand with one in Argentina.
With 51 international matches to his credit, Rogers is keen to resume his Pro League umpiring before seeing what happens with the Tokyo Olympics.
"They haven't really released any tournaments,'' Rogers said.
"There's Pro League still and then the Olympics.''
Even games scheduled in cities like Melbourne have been put on hold.
"We were hoping that we'd get a quick start again early next year but just have to wait and see,'' he said.
Holidaying at the Gold Coast, Rogers has been running to keep fit as he waits for his next international call-up.
As for the difference between his two sports, Rogers offered his thoughts.
"I think baseball is more an individual sport,'' he said.
"Your hitting is all about you . . . and you want to do a specific job and move them on to the next base.
"Hockey is just that all-round team sport. Everyone has got to gel.''
The Musketeers resume their 2020/21 GBL competition development against Redland Rays on January 8.