Australia's Sydney Cricket Ground To Host 2014 MLB Opener

by
Reuters
Australia will host Major League Baseball's 2014 season opener between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks next March, organizers said on Thursday.

Dodgers Gonzalez signs autographs for fans before their MLB baseball game against Marlins in Los Angeles

Australia will host Major League Baseball's 2014 season opener between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks next March, organizers said on Thursday.

The matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground will take place in the year of the 100th anniversary of the Chicago White Sox playing the New York Giants on a combined world tour just before the First World War.

Major league teams have previously played regular season games outside the U.S., most recently when the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners split their opening series in Japan in 2012.

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks will play games on March 22 and 23 at the SCG, which hosted a local baseball game as long ago as 1878 and is currently undergoing major refurbishment.

"The globalization 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," MLB commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement.

"We look forward to writing an exciting new chapter in international baseball history at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground next March."

Baseball was brought to Australia by American miners in the Victorian gold rush of the mid 19th century and, although far outstripped in popularity by cricket, has retained a hard core of adherents since.