March 23, 2014, 11:39 am
On Saturday, I got up at 4 a.m. to watch the 2014 MLB Opening Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks at Sydney Cricket Grounds in Australia.
The Sydney Cricket Grounds look like a 19th Century baseball park and that is exactly what it is. There have been cricket matches played there since 1848. And I thought Fenway Park was old.
I’m glad the MLB Network brought in Test Cricket legend Ian Chappell to provide commentary on the history of cricket in Australia. I’m also glad Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully made the trip.
In the first game, reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw allowed only one run over 6 1/3 innings while Scott Van Slyke became the first MLB player to hit a home run in Australia to give the Dodgers a 3-1 victory. Van Slyke actually nearly hit a second home run, but the wind knocked it down.
Fourteen hours after the first game ended, I tuned in to the second game. It seemed like a mismatch. By the sixth inning, the Dodgers had a 7-0 lead. The D’Backs didn’t help their cause with three errors. Dee Gordon and Yasiel Puig had three hits apiece although Puig managed to get himself picked off base twice. This nearly loomed large later in the game. The D’Backs finally got on the board in the eighth on a double by ex-Angels slugger Mark Trumbo. In the ninth, the D’Backs scored four runs capped off by a two run homer by Trumbo. However, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out Gerardo Parra to end the game and give the Dodgers a 7-5 win and a sweep of the two game series.
The Dodgers and D’Backs travel back to the States to resume spring training. The regular season will resume for the Dodgers next Sunday night when they face the San Diego Padres while the D’Backs resume their regular schedule the following day when they host the San Francisco Giants.
I hope this won’t be the last time I see a regular season game played from Australia even if it does require me to wake up at 4 a.m.