The Dodgers Head Down Under

June 12, 2013 at 11:47 am | Posted in Australia | Leave a comment
via Vijay

Sydney Cricket Grounds, via Vijay

Very interesting news out of Australia, via The Daily Telegraph:

In a $13 million coup for the state government, the opening series of the MLB will be held at the SCG on Saturday March 22 and Sunday March 23 – the first time a competitive US baseball fixture will be held in Australia and only the sixth time one has been staged outside America.

The games have been described as the biggest internationally recognised event in this country since the 2003 Rugby World Cup final and come exactly 100 years after the Chicago White Sox played against NSW at the SCG.

“Sydney will host the first two games for the opening series of 2014 Major League Baseball at the Sydney Cricket Ground,” Premier Barry O’Farrell said.

“The opening series will feature the LA Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks playing the first two games of the season.

Stateside, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times confirms the report.

We first heard rumors about exactly this last October, and I find it pretty exciting, because while MLB games have been played in Japan a few times, Australia is an entirely new frontier. The Dodgers under new ownership have been pretty clear about wanting to expand their international influence in any way they can, and while Australia isn’t exactly thought of a baseball hotbed, there has been pro ball there on and off since the 1980s. Currently, the Australian Baseball League is the highest level of the sport, and a few dozen Aussies have played in the big leagues, including current Dodger Peter Moylan, as well as Trent Oeltjen in 2010-11 and Luke Prokopec, Craig Shipley, and Jeff Williams in years past..

The historic Sydney Cricket Grounds date back to the 19th century and is currently undergoing $186 million worth of renovations:

Plans include the biggest video screen of any sporting ground in Australia.

The upgrade will make sure the heritage areas of the ground – Members Stand, Ladies Pavilion and Clock Tower remain intact.

“The trust has been lobbying for a long time. Things are tight but we got the money,” a federal source said.

I’ve already told my wife I want to go to Australia (which I’d love to visit anyway) next spring. She’s on board. Outstanding.

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