Punishment for the brawl? Diamondbacks and Dodgers exiled to Australia

by Bill Chuck on June 13, 2013

The 2014 season will begin in Sydney, Australia on March 22nd and 23rd, 2014, when the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers will play MLB’s opening series at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground.

Sydney 2014MLB has previously opened seasons in Monterrey, Mexico (1999); Tokyo, Japan (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012); and San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001).

Both the Dodgers and the D-backs will play Spring Training games in Arizona on Sunday, March 16th before departing that evening and arriving in Sydney on the morning of Tuesday, March 18th. An evening game that will open the 2014 regular season will be scheduled for Saturday, March 22nd, followed by an afternoon game on Sunday, March 23rd. The D-backs will be considered the home team in both games. It is understood that a warm-up game, potentially against an Australian all-star team or the Sydney Blue Sox, could be considered.

Australia has produced 31 major league players all-time, including 28 who were born in the country, led by 19th Century infielder Joe Quinn, whose Major League career dates back to 1884. The Aussies with the most career MLB games among Australian-born players are former Milwaukee Brewers catcher David Nilsson, former infielder Craig Shipley, former lefty reliever Graeme Lloyd, 10-year reliever and A’s closer Grant Balfour, and current Dodgers reliever Peter Moylan. Perth’s Liam Hendriks was also on the Opening Day rosterpitching for the Minnesota Twins.

Several other former Australian Baseball League import players have seen MLB action this season, as well, including Brandon Barnes of the Astros (Sydney Blue Sox, 2011/12), Donald Lutz of the Cincinnati Reds (Canberra Cavalry, 2010/11), Arizona’s Gregorius (Canberra Cavalry, 2010/11), and Brandon Bantz (Adelaide Bite, 2010/11) and Brandon Maurer of the Seattle Mariners (Adelaide Bite, 2010/11).

Australia currently has 60 players under contract with MLB organizations.

The 2014 games mark the 100th anniversary of the Chicago White Sox played against a combined New South Wales team in 1914.

Australian officials hope to host games every four years.

The Australian Baseball League is offering an exclusive members-only pre-sale tickets to the 2014 MLB Opening Series.

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