Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dodgers Down Under



Over and over and, well, over,  I am amazed at the opportunities I have.  This last one brought some Americana our way…via Australia.

I miss sports.  I miss sports A LOT! I got in the habit of watching ESPN and Sports Center because there doesn’t tend to be much  BAD news there (except if your team is having a season like the Steelers had this past year).  I’ve never really gotten used to watching College football on Sunday, Pro Football on Monday AND drinking coffee during those games ! 

Low and behold, the Dodgers announce they will be “opening” their season against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney!  I mentioned to Corey that we should think about going…after all…Sydney is a mere 9 hours away!  A hop for us compared to those coming from the US for the game…well, mentioned probably is the wrong word…let’s just say I brought it up …repeatedly…you know, JUST in case he happened to have a trip into Australia that … week. 

My mentions (wishing, urging) stuck in Corey’s head…and yes, the trip was a few days before the games were to be played.  He moved heaven and earth to have me go with him from Tuesday – Sunday, but tight flights and my schedule had me going into Sydney on Thursday night.  Corey secured the tickets …airline and game…we were set.  (What a guy!)

Major League Baseball claims they wanted to help expand baseball in Australia.  It had been 100 years since Professional American Baseball had been played there. Others have theories of MLB going to Australia to expand a fan base, a fan base that would buy merchandise (oh boy…was that part right!).

The games were to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). It is a BEAUTIFUL cricket ground with history and holds upwards of 70,000 people.  Some of it reminded me of the Ironwork around The Ballpark at Arlington (my favorite park)


A cricket field is a pitch. A Cricket Pitch is HUGE!  WAY bigger than a baseball field, so getting this particular field ready was a Herculean effort.  50,000 TONS of sand was brought in from San Diego to make the infield and fill Center Field.  Fences were erected, measurements to somewhat equal a big league ballpark.  Tarps were dropped over seats in “center field” so the batters would not be distracted.  It took 16 days to pull this off!  LORD only knows the money!  Four games were scheduled…two against Team Australia and then the Major League Openers.

Herculean efforts brought Herculean ticket prices:

IMG_3954 The tickets were very dear!  There is very little need for a currency converter here…the AUD is just about even with the USD. So, yep…you wanna SEE baseball?  You’re gonna PAY to see baseball.

Traffic was a nightmare…is that the way everywhere?

IMG_2101We ended up walking in.  It was a good night for it!

Corey was met right away with a few Dodger friends.  WHAT a picture opportunity!

IMG_3956They were so nice to stand by while he posed.

I loved that the ushers and attendants did not keep fans away from the field (pitch) during batting practice.  There was no pretense of “these are not your seats”.  There were tons of us down at the rail (or as close as we could get) snapping pictures, hoping for an autograph.

MY best spot of the night was this one:

IMG_3994a small glimpse of Vin Scully in the broadcast booth!


Some fans got souvenirs.  Most of us settled for being close to the field and grabbing some decent pictures.

It was a perfect night. 


All too soon it was time to head to our seats, hear the anthems and Play Ball!


The Dodgers were playing the Diamondbacks.  So we got to see Kirk Gibson (who was the inspiration for our Kirks naming)


Corey and I had a great time…the Dodgers won!  IMG_4104IMG_4103

AND…nice people took our pictures! 

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