By Johnlp (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
MLB's desire to globalize baseball is well known, with previous season openers in Japan. But the year after next could be a groundbreaking trip, with a report from the Sydney Morning Herald stating the Dodgers are likely to face the Diamondbacks down under.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson is set to bring his Los Angeles Dodgers to Sydney to open the 2014 Major League Baseball season. The negotiations to bring the Dodgers, owned by National Basketball Association Hall of Famer Johnson, are well advanced and their likely opponents will be the Arizona Diamondbacks for a historic clash at the SCG.
-- Sydney Morning Herald
The story goes on to report that negotiations have been under way for several years between local authorities, Australian baseball and MLB, but Bob Turner, chairman of Sydney Blue Sox, appeared to endorse the Dodgers at the launch function for the Blue Sox yesterday. The SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground), is not just one of the most storied venues in Australian sport, home to international cricket matches since 1882. It's also no stranger to baseball, the White Sox and Giants having played a pair of exhibition games there in January 1914 - Chicago beat New York 5-4 and 10-5. Commemorating the centenary would be a particularly fitting proposal.
That was quite the epic endeavor, part of a "round the world tour" for the two teams, which also took in the Far East, Afrixa and Europe - all in the days before long-haul flight, so it's no surprise it took three and a half months before they returned to North America. Obviously, it won't be quite the same for the Dodgers and D-backs, if this event comes to pass. It's more likely to be something like the Athletic and Mariners went through before this season, where they played two games in Japan, a week before the rest of the major-league season got under way.
The article says the teams would stay in Sydney for six days. However, the question of whose "home" games they would be counted as for scheduling, and the financial recompense for the loss is no doubt something the teams would have to work out with MLB. But there wouldn't necessarily be any significant issue with time - Sydney is six hours behind Phoenix and Los Angeles, so an afternoon game there would drop directly into evening viewing here, without any problems.
I love the idea - I've been a fervent supporter of globalization for baseball since... Well, since I was a part of it, back in the United Kingdom in the 1990's. It'd be great for the Diamondbacks to become part of something as historic as this. Do you think we could get Trent Oeltjen back for the series?
[Update: Looks likely to have been a red herring. MLB's senior vice president of public relations Pat Courtney told the Associated Press today, "We are not currently exploring the possibility with the Dodgers or any team to play in." Dammit.]