LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks to break new ground for the game.
The LA Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks will spread the baseball gospel as part of an exciting initiative that will see the two sides play their 2014 season opening series in Sydney.
The two-game series will be the first time any Major League game has been played in the country, in hat is being heralded as a major coup.
MLB games have only been played outside of Northern America previously six times, but commissioner Bud Selig beleives the move is important to help ingrain support for the sport in non-traditional markets.
“The globalisation of our game continues to be paramount to Major League Baseball, and Australia is an essential part of our long-term efforts to grow the sport. We look forward to writing an exciting new chapter in international baseball history at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground next March,” Selig said.
The games will be played at one of the more iconic sporting stadiums in Australia, with the Sydney Cricket Ground to be transformed into a baseball field, including pitcher’s mound, foul-ball poles and dugouts.
While baseball is not the most mainstream of sports in Australia, the country has produced its fair share of Major League players per capita.
There have been 31 Australian Major Leaguers, including 28 who were born in the country, beginning with infielder Joe Quinn, whose career dates back to 1884.
Craig Shipley, currently the assistant to D-backs general manager Kevin Towers, pioneered the most recent wave of Australian players in the big leagues.
Former Brewers catcher David Nilsson was a 1999 National League All-Star.
Current Dodgers reliever Peter Moylan is the fifth Australian native and A’s closer Grant Balfour and Astros Melbourne-born reliever Travis Blackley are also active in the Majors.
Right-hander Liam Hendriks was on the Twins’ Opening Day roster, in all, there are more than 60 Australian players under contract to big league organisations.