Steven Kent abandons retirement plans to start over with Canberra Cavalry
In the locker room after the Canberra Cavalry faced off against the Adelaide Giants in the Australian League Baseball (ABL) playoff final in February 2021, the team was told that star pitcher Steven Kent was calling him. One day.
At 31 and with three young children, he was preparing for one last adventure: the Tokyo Olympics postponed to July of this year.
It was a decision he had anticipated in an interview with Media region in June 2020.
“I want to focus on the next ABL season with the Canberra Cavalry and then the Olympics next year before I retire,” he said.
But after the announcement of the locker room, it was obvious Steven had doubts.
I called him in March to do a story on his career. He politely declined, suggesting that he was not yet ready to go public with his retirement even though he had told a number of people that he had played his last match for the cavalry.
Five months later, it is common knowledge that Steven, now 32, signed on for another ABL season in Canberra due to a combination of factors.
The seed for a change of mind was sown months ago.
“I told people last year that I was retiring and then it was announced to the team,” he says. “But about a week after it was announced in the locker room that I was retiring, I had my doubts.”
What followed was a series of cascading events, making the decision to continue playing in the ABL impossible to resist.
“At the end of last season, I was mentally taxed,” says Steven. “Now I feel like I have something to offer. “
The emergence of new cavalry licensees, Brendon Major and Illya Mastoris, was also at stake.
“I’ve known Brendon and Illya for a long time,” says Steven. “They have the best interests of the team, the players, their families and the Canberra baseball community at heart. It’s a new start.
If Steven hadn’t already decided to continue playing for the cavalry, it became overwhelming when Baseball Australia chose not to send a team to the Olympic qualifying tournament in Mexico due to logistical challenges created by COVID-19, and will therefore not be heading to Tokyo.
Steven’s Olympic dream was over.
“The last thing was not to go to the Olympics,” he says. “This provided additional motivation to continue playing with the cavalry in the ABL.”
In essence, Steven didn’t want to go out that way, and the decision was made to sign with the cavalry again.
It’s a move that will be celebrated by the club’s passionate fan base, many of whom have followed his career from a four-year-old T-ball player to a signing with the Atlanta Braves in the United States at the adolescence, spending seven years in two stints with the Braves, and returning home to play for Canberra.
He also represented Australia for the first time at the age of 17.
Now at 32, the veteran left-handed pitcher still has a lot to offer as one of the ABL’s best players.
As to how long he plans to keep playing, he’s understandably reluctant to speculate.
“The next time I decide to step down, I will step aside and not make a big announcement.”
In sports and life, you have been retired for a long time, so it is worth thinking twice.