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Balfour weighs in on Opening Series in Australia

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Grant Balfour is the Rays' resident Aussie. On Wednesday, the closer spoke about the 2014 Major League season kicking off down under.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will play MLB's Opening Series in Sydney, Australia, at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground, which will be fully renovated to a baseball configuration and Major League standards. An evening game will be scheduled for March 22 to begin the regular season, followed by an afternoon game on March 23.

"I think it's cool," Balfour said. "I know it's a long way away, but it's a beautiful country and it's a great experience for a lot those guys. And I hear some comments from some guys who say it's too far to go. It's annoying to hear that, to be honest with you.

"You're getting an opportunity to do something that a lot of people don't get to do. I kind of see it as being a little ungrateful, to be honest. I've got no time for that. I flew all the way to Japan [with Oakland in 2012], and I had a great time. I thought it was just awesome. I got to experience a different culture. Australia is not a big culture shock or anything, but to get down there and see everything is pretty cool."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
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