Perth Heat import Tristan Gray loving life down under

Perth Heat import Tristan Gray loving life down under

HE may still be getting his head around a country where baseball is not the national pastime, but Tristan Gray certainly does not feel like a fish out of water.

The Houston-born batter, who is contracted to Major League Baseball outfit Tampa Bay Rays, has been one of the many bright spots for the Perth Heat as they chase their first title since 2015.

Coming from a country where baseball is king to a country where it is very much a minor sport can certainly present hurdles for Australian Baseball League imports like Gray.

Yet the 22-year-old, who has played for minor league sides West Virginia Black Bears and Charlotte Stone Crabs, said he was adjusting well to life in Australia, despite the cultural differences.

“I haven’t played baseball in December before in my life, playing all these games is something I definitely had to get used to, but it’s been great so far,” he said.

“Getting used to driving and just living over here probably was the biggest part, the baseball was the easier thing about it all.

“I’ve never done anything like this before. Seeing a whole other culture has definitely been eye-opening, but I’ve loved it so far.”

He put the ease of adjustment down to his teammates, who he said helped him settle in and had pointed out Perth’s best spots.

“The guys are pretty helpful in telling us imports where to go and what to do and what to see, everyone’s been really helpful,” Gray said.

“I just didn’t expect to fit in like this, I didn’t know exactly what it would be like over here, but it’s been pretty easy, everyone’s been super nice.”

Gray currently sits fourth in the league for runs (26), is equal sixth in home runs (an equal-team best six) and is fourth amongst Heat batters for hits (34) to help them sit atop of the South-West Conference with two series to play.

Talk has understandably turned to potential post-season success and while Gray said the team were not getting too ahead of themselves, their focus was clearly on one thing.

“We’re expecting to win. We don’t go a day without talking about getting there and just preparing ourselves for those playoff games and how fun it’s going to be.”