Players apparently have mixed feelings about the Major League’s first trip to Australia.
Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke might not be enthused about beginning the new season in Australia, but he and his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates have very little say in the league’s expansion overseas.
However, the Arizona Diamondbacks are mostly excited for the longest road trip of their lives.
A week ahead of nearly every other team’s Opening Day and for the first time in MLB history, the Dodgers will take on the Diamondbacks on March 22 and 23 at Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia.
“I would say there is absolutely zero excitement about it,” Greinke said according to the L.A. Times. “There just isn’t any excitement to it. I can’t think of one reason to be excited for it.”
Greinke caused a bit of an uproar Down Under, and club officials as well as MLB stated that the former Cy Young winner's comments were strictly his. But the 30-year-old also said he sees the bigger picture for baseball.
“It’s a baseball thing,” Greinke said. “It’s an ownership thing, spreading stuff around. That’s what it’s for, and it’s for the greater good of baseball.”
In contrast, newly signed Diamondbacks righty Bronson Arroyo said he and his teammates are looking forward to the new adventure.
"The consensus around this locker room is that guys are excited to go over there and be together," Arroyo said according to ESPN. "Everything is about team-building here. I hear guys saying, 'I want to go on that trip.' Everybody is worried a little about the body clock. But other than that, guys are pumped."
Whether Greinke likes it or not he and the Dodgers, along with the rising Diamondbacks will take the 14-hour flight to Sydney and hopefully create new fans for a game that’s never been played in the Southern Hemisphere.
Catching the first-ever MLB game on Australian soil will cost budding fans quite a bit, with prices ranging from $499 in the Platinum section to $69 for the grandstand outfield in the 46,000-capacity stadium traditionally used for cricket, according to ticket site Ticketek.com.
Beyond the excellent one-two starting punch of Clayton Kershaw and Greinke, the Dodgers ran away with the National League West division crown last season, with Diamondbacks a distance second 11 games back.
L.A. would eventually fall to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Championship Series, while the Diamondbacks licked their wounds and made a few moves in the offseason, including the signing of Arroyo and the trade for reliever Addison Reed, who’s totaled 69 saves the last two years.
Greinke might have to start in Sydney, with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly mulling the idea of keeping Cy Young champ Kershaw back in L.A. That could place the ornery Greinke on the mound, however the Dodgers could start South Korean Hyun-Jin Ryu to up the game’s international appeal, according to the L.A. Times.