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Maori boy signed to the Boston Red Sox (+video)

Maori boy signed to the Boston Red Sox (+video)

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(Source | Porirua teenager Te Wera Bishop took a part-time job at clothing store Cotton On before accepting a seven-year contract with glamour Major League Baseball club the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.

Bishop is the third Maori on the Red Sox books. He links with Australian-raised brothers Boss and Moko Moanaroa on March 3 and the trio will fly, and possibly live together in Fort Myers, Florida, for spring training and extended spring training.

“I had a job at Cotton On and then this came up,” Bishop, or Bo, told Sportal of his sudden change in prospects.

A sharp catcher, Bishop debuted for the Black Sox last year against Australia. He features a lethal arm, good hands, raw batting power and has demonstrated the ability to listen and adjust.

“Being a softballer I never thought I’d have a chance to make it to baseball,” he said, almost still in shock. “I’ll adapt to it [Boston's bright lights]. I’ll always miss Porirua.”

His six brothers and sole sister were already hounding him for gears.

As he pulled on the coveted MBL shirt and cap for the first time, smiled for the cameras and inked a switch from New Zealand softball to American baseball, the overawed wide-eyed speechless 17-year-old had Google to thank for his unexpected pluck from obscurity.

Red Sox scout Jon Deeble, who has worked alongside wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum at the Indian Premier League’s Kolkata Knight Riders, spotted the Aotea College year 12 through an internet feed of Sky Sport footage.

“From Boston’s point of view it’s a great contact for the family,” he said without disclosing an amount. “Let me tell you it’s a nice little contact.”

Deeble had ‘never heard of’ the four-time champion Black Sox, but when he stumbled across Bishop in the backfield at the Oceania AA Baseball Championships in Auckland last month while coaching Australia, he thought to himself ‘wow, no that can’t be him’ – because of the strength in Bishop’s arm.

Deeble pledged patience and said pro ball success would not happen straight away. Bishop was a long-term proposition.

“He’s got to make a lot of adjustments and it’s a long road for him,” he explained. “He’s got the raw tools, but he’s going to need to outwork everybody. He’s a little bit behind the eight-ball because most seventeen-year-olds have played 500 games, although he’s played that many in softball.”

It will be a hectic eight months. Bishop will return home for two-three weeks in June before attending the Australian MBL Academy on the Gold Coast.

“Once they think you’ve done enough they’ll give you a chance in the big leagues,” Bishop said, expecting a five-year tuition.

No New Zealander has broke the MBL ranks, though former Black Sox Travis Wilson, who Deeble coached, has been an Atlanta Brave for eight years and Aucklander Scott Campbell is with the Toronto Blue Jays.

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