Day 1 in Australia: Baseball, cricket and, of course, kangaroos
The D-backs and Dodgers arrived in Australia this week for the Opening Series. We'll be bringing you a running diary from Down Under over the next few days. Here are some highlights from Day One.
Sydney Cricket Ground
After resting from our 15-hour flight, we embark on a short taxi ride to the Sydney Cricket Grounds. Immediately, we recognize the area as a major sporting complex -- and not just for cricket -- as there is a massive rugby station next door. But today there's dirt, three bases, a pitcher's mound and a plate. All important features for the coming week.
The abundance of foul territory is apparent, and upon closer inspection of the dugouts, it's clear they were just installed. Nevertheless, the stadium as a whole is very unique and impressive.
The D-backs begin testing out the field -- fielding ground balls, performing drills and taking in the new digs.
After an hour-and-a-half, a press conference is held to gather all representatives of the event -- ballplayers and Australian politicians alike. At the table sits Don Mattingly, Adrian Gonzalez, Paul Goldschmidt, Kirk Gibson and MLBPA Director Tony Clark.
While the players and managers talked about winning and representing the game in the best way possible, local politicians note how important the game is to the area's economy.
Suddenly, we feel right at home. As the new setting becomes more and more familiar, watching the Dodgers take the field feels quite normal. The abundance of camera's no longer seems excessive, as the game's scope becomes apparent, but not overbearing.
Players also use the day to explore the area outside the stadium and hang with locals:
An immediate reaction to Sydney is one of comfort. The people are friendly, the area is convenient, but sadly, it only resulted in the day going by a little too fast for our liking. Also, Adrian Gonzalez, where's your Speedo?