Playing Ball at Sydney’s Field of Dreams #openingseries

The biggest weekend in Sydney’s baseball history is currently underway.

Since the announcement in June 2013 that the MLB was heading Downunder, Australia’s baseball fandom has eagerly awaited the arrival of the LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks to its shores and it’s finally time to play ball. The hallowed turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground has been transformed for the weekend into a baseball pitch, with 250 tonnes of San Diego clay being flown in for the occasion. Our very own field of dreams.

field of dreams

Sydney Cricket Ground tuned into a baseball field for #openingseries

It’s no secret I am a baseball tragic. How fortuitous then that the MLB chose to open its 2014 season away from North America in my hometown. As this is only the sixth time this has happened in  MLB history and the first time for Australia, there is a tremendous amount of anticipation for the event.

Each of the Diamondbacks and Dodgers play Team Australia (sometimes also known as Southern Thunder, but not by many) in a warm up clash and then it’s on to the main game Saturday night to be followed by a game on Sunday. That’s at least 36 innings of prime time A grade baseball.

Last night saw the first of the four games with Team Australia taking on the Dodgers. The above photo shows our view of the game. The Dodgers managed to win 4-2, but it was less about the score and more about the spectacle. The national anthems, the US flag flying alongside the Australian flag, a home run, the seventh inning stretch and classic baseball food. Like the nutritious meal below:

Pulled pork on lattice chips 'n' sides

Pulled pork on lattice chips ‘n’ sides

Scrumptious in a baseball helmet kind of way and almost resembling real food. None of that matters though, this is the MLB.

We sat behind the Dodgers dugout trying to spot baseball celebs like Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly. How close does an Aussie usually come to a $253million sports contract?  There were plenty of Dodgers fans in da house along with plenty of others dressed in their baseball kit. I am proud to say that the Boston Red Sox were proudly represented by more than a few fans in the fashion stakes (including moi) and it seemed like one big fancy dress party. As you can imagine there are usually not a whole lot of places in Australia an adult can wear their baseball kit.

It was a great night and a terrific lead in to the real deal tomorrow.

The whole event has been a long time coming for us Australian baseball fans. And when it’s all over the memories will linger and we will regale each other with stories from the great MLB opening series of 2014.

So a big thank you to the MLB, ABL (Australian Baseball League and owned by MLB), the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks for bringing the spectacle to our town. For at last Australian baseball fans can shout:

PLAY BALL!!!

About the curtain raiserhttp://raisingthecurtain.netI have spent my life in offices. For now I am putting that behind me and preparing for the second act. Middle age didn't come with acceptable signposts so I am making my own through my writing. A journey shared is more fun than going it solo.

15 thoughts on “Playing Ball at Sydney’s Field of Dreams #openingseries

  1. Oh dear you are truly a baseball tragic …and if they asked me I could have given them clay, probably not 250 tonnes and I wouldn’t have charged em much, but I’m sure I could have convinced the neighbours, less costly..ok stopping now, enjoy your BB sweet . I’ve never been to a match, so I can’t say it’s crap and I loved playing rounders..so it’s sortta the same… Kinda? 🙂 xx

    • Rounders and baseball , a similarity made in heaven :). Sorta, kinda maybe… Not sure what was so special about the San Diego clay, maybe they bought it in so the Americans felt at home. Really enjoyed this weekend of baseball. Hope it comes back again.

    • Agreed, in Australia we don’t have the spectacle of the MLB, although we do have our own baseball league. But maybe that’s because they don’t serve food in a plastic baseball helmet… makes all the difference 🙂

  2. I have never seen such a colorful use for a Dodgers helmut. It looks tasty, but probably not too heart healthy. As I was reading, I remembered you being a Red Sox fan, especially when you used the term “baseball tragic.” Of course, the last ten years have been pretty sweet for Bosox fans. Enjoy the game.

    • The only way this event could have been better was if the Bosox were playing. It was heartening to see a lot of Sox fans at the game in their Bosox fanwear. I was stopped a couple of times to discuss the Bosox because I wore my gear. I hope it’s not another hundred years before the MLB cmes back to town.

  3. I didn’t get a chance to watch any of the games in Sydney (MLB Network will no doubt replay them at some point), but I saw film of them turning a cricket pitch into a baseball field. It turned out very nicely. You have some good players down there, by the way: I was watching the ABL championship last year and it was high-quality play. A couple made it to the Braves in the last few years, both pitchers: Damian Moss, who was with the Braves from 2001 to 2002, and Peter Moylan, who was with the Braves from 2006 to 2012. Moylan was a fan favorite, because he was so crazy.

    I don’t believe Vin Scully, who’s been calling Dodger games on radio and TV for 65 years, made the trip. He’s worth hearing, maybe the best play-by-play announcer ever. I was in LA once and found the Dodgers game on the radio in the car, and spent the next three hours in the car listening to him. He’s that good.

    • It’s amazing that you watched the ABL, It’s just not the same for me. Yes, we have a few good players. They introduced those Australians who have played for the ABL in the past just before the second game and the list was quite impressive. Unfortunately Balfour was not in attendance, but fantastic welcome for local hero Ryan Rowland-Smith, one of the pitchers for the Dbacks. In the second warm up game, Team Australia beast the Dbacks 5-0.

      I love Vin Scully’s voice. It is just as an MLB announcer’s should be and immediately conjures up images of baseball fields. He was introducing the batters as they came on and it was doo good it sent shivers down my spine. A fantastic weekend all up. I really hope they do it again soon.

  4. Judy I’m utterly utterly appalled that they irreparably damaged the hallowed turf of the CRICKET ground with 250 tonnes of American dirt. What’s wrong with MY clay….I’ve got millions of tonnes of it here which I would happily have sold for….oh I dunno….maybe $1000 per tonne….good Aussie clay it is too. 🙂
    Glad you enjoyed your baseball.

    Sorry I’m late catching up with your posts. Australia’s rural satellite internet is oversubscribed and in shambles. Home service is unusable so I’ll have to compress a week’s internetting into an hour each week when I come to town…..until NBN launches new satellite end of 2015.

    • I’m utterly appalled they have only done it once to the SCG in 100 years. May we see many more MLB games in this town. Perhaps your clay could be used to make a statue of Malcom Turnbull. It might speed up the NBN roll out your way 🙂 Commiserations until then, but at least you’re in paradise 🙂

I would really love to hear what you have to say. C'mon.. you know you want to!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s