These are the first regular season MLB games to take place in Australia. MLB has opened previous seasons in Monterrey, Mexico (1999); Tokyo, Japan (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012); and San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001).
The two teams will play Spring Training games March 16 before leaving later in the evening. The teams are scheduled to arrive in Australia on the morning of March 18. The first game will be played March 22, followed by an afternoon game March 23.The Diamondbacks will serve as the home team in both games.
Sydney resides in Australian Eastern Time Zone, which is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time; a 7 p.m. start in Sydney would start at 5 a.m. in New York City.
The two games will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The 2014 Opening Series will mark the 100th anniversary of an exhibition match between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants at the same venue.
The Sydney Cricket Ground has hosted cricket matches for more than 150 years, per the official SCG website. The stadium hosts New South Wales Blues cricket team, as well as the Sydney Swans of the Australian Football League. Andrew Clennell of the Daily Telegraph says the series is the biggest international sporting even in Australia since the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final. The venue will undergo renovations to fit a baseball configuration.
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig discussed the decision to play open the 2014 series in Australia, stating in a press release:
"Major League Baseball is thrilled that the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers will open our 2014 regular season in Sydney, Australia. 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. We look forward to writing an exciting new chapter in international baseball history at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground next March."
Dodgers reliever Peter Moylan is the only Australian-born player on either team's current roster. There are 60 total Australian-born players currently under contract with major league teams.