The D-backs are headed down under. And not just for the 2014 Opening Series.
A star-studded delegation that includes Arizona All-Stars Paul Goldschmidt and Patrick Corbin as well as Derrick Hall, the team's president and chief executive officer, on Monday will begin the first of two promotional trips to Sydney, Australia.
The Dodgers and D-backs will play the first two games of MLB's 2014 season at the Sydney Cricket Ground March 22-23, and Arizona will make two trips to Australia to scout out the territory in November.
Craig Shipley, who serves as an assistant to the general manager in Arizona's organization, will be on both trips, the first lasting through Thursday and the second from Nov. 18-22. Shipley, who was the first modern-day big leaguer born in Australia, is excited for the chance to bring baseball to his homeland.
"Growing up in Sydney, I was fortunate to see several sporting events in person at the Sydney Cricket Ground and more than I can count on TV," said Shipley. "In my last year of high school at Epping Boys, I had the privilege of playing rugby at the SCG, but never did I imagine a Major League game would be played there. I am sure every D-backs fan and employee who is fortunate enough to witness the Opening Series will be impressed by the history and aura of the SCG. The added benefit of exploring Sydney, my favorite city in the world, will make the trip a once in a lifetime baseball experience."
Goldschmidt, Hall, Shipley and Josh Rawitch, the team's senior vice president of communications, will be on the first trip. Corbin, Shipley and Graham Rossini, the team's vice president of special projects and fan experience, will be on the next trip to a country that has embraced cricket and baseball.
The two groups are expected to interact with some of the highest-caliber Australian cricket and rugby stars, and they'll make stops at some of the city's biggest tourist attractions. The D-backs are set to visit Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach and the Sydney Opera House, among other sites.
Last year, Hall, former D-backs star Luis Gonzalez and general manager Kevin Towers led a goodwill delegation to Japan, and the team has made five trips to Mexico over the last two years.
Fans interested in making this historic trip with the team can shop for travel packages that include tickets to the two-game series at dbacks.com/Sydney.
"The 2014 Opening Series in Sydney is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our fans and our players," said Hall, lauded as one of the game's most progressive and fan-friendly executives. "We are looking forward to seeing how Sydney Cricket Ground is taking shape and getting an early look at this world-class city. More importantly, we will be able to begin spreading the magic and friendship of the D-backs and Major League Baseball throughout Australia and create new fans for generations to come."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com.