The Diamondbacks lost a day off their calendar. They hope that’s all they lose Down Under.
The D-backs departed Arizona on Sunday and arrived in Australia early Tuesday to prepare for a two-game series against the Dodgers.
“Good morning,” Kirk Gibson said as he smiled to the waiting cameras at Sydney airport after a 16-hour flight.
In fact, the D-backs manager said he had fond memories of Australia because that’s where he spent his honeymoon in 1985 "and that part worked out pretty good, so I hope this does."
Per reports, there were only a few autograph seekers to meet both teams, unlike recent MLB opening-day series in Tokyo where arriving teams were mobbed by fans.
However, capacity crowds of about 40,000 are expected for both games at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground, where Australia's cricket teams have played memorable matches for the past century and a half.
"Of all the historic places we've played over the years, you walk in and you can see they've put a lot of work into the field," Gibson added. "And I've been told by (Diamondbacks' Australian relief pitcher) Ryan Rowland-Smith, it's fair dinkum."
Translated, that means he thinks it's a pretty good place to play baseball.
D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was in the best position to judge the change to Sydney Cricket Ground, having been part of a promotional visit here last year.
"When I was here it was set up for cricket matches, but you wouldn't know that walking out there today," he said. "Very impressed."
The series marks the first regular-season games in Australia. In addition, the D-backs will play Team Australia in an exhibition game on Friday.
“I know our club is very excited. We’ve talked about it for a long time. We’ve looked forward to it,” said Gibson.
The weekend games will mark the 100th anniversary of an exhibition game played by the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants at the same stadium.