As spring begins to come upon us so does the marathon of a season that is Major League Baseball. Many days spent at the ballpark, eating hot dogs, and playing catch before the big game. Baseball truly is the American past time. However, before all of that takes place on American soil the Aussies will get a taste of what baseball season is like right in their own backyard. That’s right, this year the Opening Series of the Major League Baseball season is set to take place in Sydney, Australia between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks. They are scheduled to play a short two game series before heading back to the States to continue the rest of the season just like every other Major League team.
One thing that should be noted is that this is not the first time the opening series has been played in a country other than the United States. In the past teams have played in Japan, but the reason Australia is an interesting location is the lack of baseball support from the fans. See in Japan they already have an established league that is just below the MLB in terms of competition level. In Australia there is no professional league for players, only an Australian national team who competes sporadically throughout the year. This is one of the reasons Major League Baseball has decided to use Australia as a way to spread baseball.
It is interesting how they use this as not only a means of expanding the market, but with that comes a plethora of revenue. All though all of this costs a significant amount there is tons of profit to be made from the ticket sales, merchandise, food, and all of the other expenses that come with a day at the ballpark. One thing people seem to forget about is that Major League Baseball is a business and the more opportunity you have for your customers to purchase things the better success you will have.
Aside from the money that is involved with the Opening Series there is another interesting aspect that most people probably do not know or are over looked. This series is being played at the historic Sydney Cricket Grounds, but the grounds were transformed to be a regulation size field. As we have read and discussed in class the history of sports and how the sport is taken by the culture says a lot about how it is played. Baseball and cricket are very similar sports. I would consider this to be like how soccer was changed to rugby in certain countries. I feel like this Opening Series is a way of combining two different sports coming together, it adds an extra dimension of excitement to the game.
Now its time to sit back, open up your sunflower seeds, and put another shrimp on the barby because baseball season is about to be in full swing starting Down Under. It truly is the greatest time of the year.