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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dodgers down under. What the heck, mate?

The Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles after the 1957 season but they tested the west by playing 15 games in Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, NJ during their final two seasons in Brooklyn.  The trolley (google it) dodgers were abandoning their roots.  But now they are on to the continent island nation of Australia.

Brooklyn Dodgers manager Walter Alston
with Philadelphia Phillies manager Mayo Smith
before a 1957 game at Roosevelt Stadium
Major Baseball League (MBL) commissioner Allen Huber "Bud" Selig is starting his final historic season by having the first American team game played south of the equator.  The National Football League (NFL) has been playing games in London, England in recent seasons and the MBL has had some teams start in Japan.  But now a game will be played on its third continent.  But Why?  How many baseball caps can be sold by the Dodgers playing two games in Sydney?

The original Star Trek TV show started in 1966, ten years before Selig got himself appointed a director at the Hall of Fame.  Selig was only 32 in 1966 and apparently he was imbued with Star Trek fervor, maybe a becoming a Trekkie.   In Star Trek "the bold crew of the giant starship explores the excitement of strange new worlds, uncharted civilizations, and exotic people" and goes "where no man has gone before" but within the prime directive, which prohibits Starfleet personnel from interfering with the internal development of alien civilizations.

Introducing MBL games into Australia might be considered a violation of the prime directive.  But Selig seems bent on globalization.  He created the World Baseball Classic (WBC).  I think it's supposed to be based on the World Cup for soccer, which I do not follow because soccer is the last remnant of the international Communist conspiracy.  The WBC has been held three times with these winners:
2006 Japan over Cuba
2009 Japan over South Korea
2013 Dominican Republic over Puerto Rico.

No USA.  No Australia.  So what the heck are the Dodgers doing there?

At least Selig had the sense to match the Dodgers against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  The Aussies might relate to that team name better than Rockies or Marlins or one of the other many make believe teams that have been hatched in recent decades.

Well I just checked Wikipedia and learned that baseball down under may date back to the 1850s.

In December 1888, an American, Albert Spalding, brought his Chicago White Stockings and a team of U.S. all-stars to Australia, as part of a world tour. Sydney Cricket Ground hosted three games...

the national team entered World Championship competition in the late 1970s ...  winning the silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens ...

Several Australians, however, have attracted the attention of American scouts and have gone on to play in the major leagues in the United States and Japan.

Although baseball remains a fringe sport at adult level, it has experienced explosive growth at the youth level in the 21st century.
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Who knew?  I'm guessing, not Bud Selig.  Relief pitcher Grant Balfour was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

I wonder if playing south of the equator changes baseball.

Do curve balls spin in the opposite direction and turn into screwballs?

Do hitters run to "third" base instead of "first"?

Do U.S. players become disoriented when the they first arrive and lose their equilibrium?  Is everything upside down?

distribution of boomerangs in Australia
based on Martyman maps
released under the GFDL
By SuperJew via Wikimedia Commons
Maybe scouts are touring the country looking for people who are really good at throwing the boomerang.  A boomerang pitch could be awesome.  Hey, it could finally eliminate the dopey catcher position, which I advocate.


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