The 2014 Major League Baseball season started Saturday morning. Weird right? Why would you start your season on a Saturday morning, unless of course you’re the MLB and want to start your season in Australia. Yes, Australia the medium sized continent in the south Pacific.
Major League Baseball much like the NFL, NBA and NHL wants to spread their league globally. There is no doubt that these games raise awareness in the countries they’re held, but after one or two games the teams leave and the people forget about it. That didn’t discourage the MLB executives from sending the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks to Sydney, Australia.
There are a number of issues the real fans, the ones that buy season tickets back here in the states have with this Australian series. While our team the Cincinnati Reds have never played in one of these series and likely never will unless they sign some international superstar you can still relate with Dodger and Dbacks fans when it comes to the frustration of playing in essentially tomorrow.
For starters this is a division game, between two teams that absolutely despise one another. As a fan you want to see those games, you want to see your team play your hated rival. By playing two games in Australia that takes away one game each for the fans at their home ballpark. The fans feel cheated.
The game started at 4am eastern time Saturday morning. Absolutely no one on the east coast got up to tune into the MLB Network at 4am to watch two west coast teams play. On the west coast the game started at 1am, did people stay up and remember it was on? Likely not, the die hards may have but the casual fan likely had no idea the season started last night.
Who was the last big name player to come from Australia? Looking through the list of players from Australia there was one recognizable name on the list. Grant Balfour from the Oakland Athletics is the only player anyone would remember. The lack of players from Australia begs the question as to why did Major League Baseball pick Australia to go to? Sure cricket is like baseball kind of, they both have balls and bats but thats about it.
Why not go to the countries that produce baseball players? The Dominican Republic, Latin American countries, Japan (again), why not go to these countries? Or better yet why do you have to go anywhere? Baseball can call these games opening day as much as they want, end of the day Opening Day to baseball fans is March 31st.
Good news though, not only did we take baseball to Australia but we also took our fat american concessions with us. Included in that was a $36 2-foot long hot dog. Promote baseball and American consumerism at the same time, love it.
Game two of this “Opening Day” series starts Saturday night at 10pm eastern time, 7pm on the west coast making it more of natural start time for the Dodgers fans.
To add to the misery of having to travel to Australia which is a 14 hour and 40 minute flight from LAX, the Dbacks bus got a flat tire forcing the players to walk to the ballpark. So players that didn’t even want to be there now had to walk. They should have taken the Zach Greinke approach who had “zero excitement” to go to Australia, he ended up not going. Andre Either also voiced his displeasure with being there.
The Australian media turned the Dodgers into the bad guys for this series based on their displeasure of not wanting to be there. That is ridiculous behavior from the media, they have to understand why they are unhappy to be there. It has nothing to do with your lovely country, it has everything to do with the 15 hour plane ride and MLB’s decision to have games there.
Lets stop this ridiculous opening day in another country thing. Playing games in other countries does nothing but piss off the fans back in the states. The fans that buy season tickets, regular game tickets and enough merchandise to fill a closet. Support the home fans.