Nilsson confident of revitalising Bandits
NEW Brisbane Bandits coach David Nilsson is adamant his team's batting woes will be a thing of the past this summer.
The Australian baseball great is expecting to see improvement thanks to the help the Bandits will receive from some Brisbane clubs.
The former Milwaukee Brewer catcher has also put together an impressive coaching team as he bids to get the Bandits off the bottom of the Australian Baseball League table.
The Brisbane outfit only managed a team average of .237 at the plate last season, on its way to finishing last.
As Nilsson (pictured) pointed out to stakeholders and fans in July when he was reinstalled as Bandits chairman, the franchise is officially "sick of losing".
But new chief executive Mark Ready tapped Nilsson on the shoulder and implored him to don the coach's uniform once more, after mentoring the team in the 2010-11 season.
Last season's head coach, Kevin Jordan, will now work as Nilsson's assistant, while his brother, Gary Nilsson, will be pitching coach, along with former Atlanta Braves MLB pitcher Phil Stockman.
Nilsson will also call upon the services of another former Major League player, Trent Durrington, at times over the season.
With his backroom staff behind him, Nilsson won't be short on cutting-edge ideas.
But he was quick to praise Brisbane clubs in their efforts to help the Bandits improve at the plate.
"Our hitting's let us down in the past, but we haven't had the facilities of other clubs," Nilsson told APN.
"That will be a non-issue this season, though, with Pine Rivers and the Windsor Royals coming on board and offering us the use of their facilities."
Nilsson was the first Australian to play in the Major League All Star game, in 1999, after hitting 21 home runs that season.
He also played for his country at the Olympic Games in 2000 and 2004, and he will bring that expertise to bear as he looks to improve the Bandits' batting statistics.
Nilsson will also scout top prospects from abroad, but one of his top priorities will be to help develop Brisbane and Queensland talent.
"It's never a closed shop with imported players and you always want the best players available," he said.
"But one of my main focuses will be improving the skills of our Australian players at the club."
The Bandits will open their season against Adelaide at Holloway Field, Windsor, on October 30.
- 1999 MLB All Star
- Eight years in the Major Leagues
- 837 games for Milwaukee
- 789 career hits
- 105 home runs
- 2004 Olympic silver medallist
- 1999 National League All Star
- 1999 Intercontinental Cup gold medallist