Sydney, Australia (4E Sports) – Despite threat of a thunderstorm, 38,266 spectators packed the Sydney Cricket Ground for the first game of MLB’s Opening Series 2014 between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks that officially began the regular season.
The spectators were into the game, from Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley’s first strike all the way to Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen’s last one to Gerardo Parra.
“There was an electric atmosphere,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “Opening Day, I think we all think of it in our home stadiums, when the whole city’s got somewhat of a buzz, kind of like a holiday.”
“But great crowd tonight. They did a great job with the field, the rain held off, and I thought it was a very nice, great event,” Gibson added.
Josh Guelzow agreed. The 29-year-old artificial-lawn salesman from Adelaide, Australia, traveled close to 1,000 miles to root against the Dodgers. Guelzow, who pitches for the Adelaide Angels in his spare time, is a Giants fan, after all.
Also, the question about the of baseball knowledge fans in Australia was put to rest, with the spectators wearing different Major League jerseys from markets big and small, and eras current and past.
One pass-through revealed jerseys featuring Cal Ripken, Luis Gonzalez (old-school, purple-and-teal 2001 D-backs), Brett Lawrie, Darryl Strawberry (1986 Mets), Roberto Alomar (Blue Jays), Barry Bonds, Evan Longoria, David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval, Bryce Harper, Ron Santo, David Eckstein (Cardinals), Freddie Freeman and Jonathan Papelbon.
But more than anything else, there were Paul Goldschmidt, Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig jerseys.
Clayton Kershaw pitched 6 2/3 strong innings while Scott Van Slyke hit a two-run homer to carry the Dodgers to a 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks.
Kershaw gave up one run on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts to earn the victory while Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save.
Miley (0-1) tossed five innings, giving up three runs on three hits with two walks and eight strikeouts for the Diamondbacks.
In Sunday’s second game, the Dodgers will start Hyun-Jin Ryu against D-backs right-hander Trevor Cahill.