Baseball

Major League Baseball opens 2014 season in Sydney

With news that the 2014 MLB season will open at Sydney’s famed Sydney Cricket Ground next year with a heated series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, talk has turned into the pricing structure and pre-release procedure for those interested in snagging a ticket for the big event. International season openers are nothing new for Major League Baseball, having opened last season in Japan, but a trip all the way down to Australia is a new prospect for Bud Selig’s league, and already there has been much gripe about the process in which fans can sign up for early tickets.

The Australian Baseball League is a burgeoning league here in Australia. While secondary to the AFL, rugby, cricket and even soccer, its connection to the major leagues (it is partly funded by the MLB) means that it has close ties to the very best of the sport. Tickets for the event go on sale next week and priority is given to the members of any ABL team; a good way to boost the local league’s numbers but at the same time, a ghastly cost of having to fork out around $90-$190 for a local membership (these figures are from full membership prices to the Melbourne Aces) just to be first in line to purchase tickets for the series. Prices for the series?

Exorbitant to say the least. Certainly this opportunity is a fantastic one to get up close to two famed MLB franchises, and considering the distance the clubs have to travel, it is no surprise prices are so high. However, those traveling interstate will surely be spending no less than $1000 for the trip- almost an entire fare to the US, where some tickets from either official team websites or Stubhub can be bought for a measly $6.

Is it worth it? From this writer’s perspective, it’s hard to say. Last June I spent $149 each on great seats at Yankee Stadium for a subway series game between the Mets and the Yankees. These tickets were bought off Stubhub so they were more than the regular price- but even New Yorkers weren’t going to gouge me for that much.

Nonetheless, recent events between the Dodgers and the Dbacks have been less than friendly, adding a possible edge to next year’s series (baseball players tend not to forget getting hit by a pitch). We’ll get to see the best sport in the world in our own backyard which is always a positive, and let’s hope that when March rolls around, we’ll also get to see a little of this too:

Baseball in Australia is a growing sport, but there are plenty of Australian major leaguers who more than just contribute to their respective clubs. Perhaps this is the best way to expand the sport here, and in a sense, we’re lucky that Major League Baseball is enthusiastic about sending teams all the way down. Time will tell whether or not such ventures are worth it for the fans. We should be excited that they aren’t sending the Marlins or the Astros, and let’s hope they bring some Dodger dogs down with them.

Play ball (mate).

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