Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
A groundsman digs out the home plate following the second game of the two-game Major League Baseball opening series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket ground in Sydney, Sunday, March 23, 2014. The Dodgers won the game 7-5 and the series 2-0. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Locals love it as MLB makes quick trip Down Under
First Published Mar 23 2014 10:15 am • Last Updated Mar 23 2014 11:48 pm

Sydney • Yasiel Puig and Paul Goldschmidt hadn’t left the stadium before workers began dismantling what was quite an impressive place to play baseball.

For a week, at least.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Home plate was dug up, the pitcher’s mound flattened and the eight-foot-high perimeter home run fence taken down within an hour after Puig’s Los Angeles Dodgers beat Goldschmidt’s Arizona Diamondbacks 7-5 Sunday.

It was a two-game Dodgers’ sweep of Major League Baseball’s opening weekend at Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw won the Saturday opener 3-1, sending the Diamondbacks back to the U.S. 0-2 to start the season and with the L.A. team holding a very early two-game lead in the AL West over their Arizona adversaries.

The regular season will resume next weekend for both teams, with a few exhibition games scheduled this week while they recover from jet lag after the 15-hour flights Down Under and back.

The cricket ground, and Australian baseball fans, meanwhile, may never be the same.

Nearly 80,000 fans attended the weekend games at the 162-year-old ground in leafy Moore Park, minutes from downtown Sydney.

Clearly, sports-mad Australia loved having the world’s best baseball players in Sydney. So did their rugby, cricket, soccer and Aussie Rules football stars who took time to mingle with Kershaw and Puig, among others, for photo shoots.

It was a mutual admiration society, with Kershaw posing on his birthday with a kangaroo and kicking around a rugby ball on the eve of his opener. Puig and Goldschmidt even tried their hand at cricket.


story continues below
story continues below

Cracker Jack and two-foot-long hotdogs became part of the menu at the SCG snack bars, and MLB commissioner Bud Selig was non-committal about a return to Australia in the near future.

Australian fans might like to see it sooner than later. Never were foul balls into the stands more heartily cheered, because they could keep them. In cricket, where balls are changed only after a predetermined amount of play, they must be returned to the field.

"This event was outstanding, really cool," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "The crowds were great. The preparation from the city of Sydney was outstanding. They treated us well."

Mattingly says a concern after the teams return to the U.S. will be avoiding complacency. They’ll have a few days off, then three exhibition games before returning to the regular season next Sunday for a three-game series in San Diego.

"My biggest fear is when you start games, games that don’t count are tough to get ready to play," he said. "And then you get lazy and you get bad habits. That’s what I will try to fight."

Regardless, Mattingly loved his Australian experience.

"Your team kind of comes together on a trip because you really don’t know anyone else," he said. "We document how far you’ve got to go, and how it changes our schedule, but at the end of the day you look back on it as a memory you don’t really forget."



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.