Sunday, February 23, 2014

Zach Greinke Is Not Excited To Play In Austrailia, And Also Correct

Australian For Honest
Finally, an MLB player actually answered a question with an honest answer, in saying that there is "zero excitement" for the Dodgers openign the season against the Diamondbacks Down Under... and, um, he's freaking right.

I get that the Dodgers are trying to grow the brand, that there are players that hail from there, and how 2 of 162 games does not seem like that big of a deal. But we are talking about a 16-hour flight for men who are going to log thousands of hours of plane travel this year, crossing the date line, to play two games against a hated division rival (remember last year and the pool?)... and then shutting it down again for another couple of weeks until the real season begins.

It's, well, crap.

(A small aside: I've been to New Zealand. I'd leap at the chance of going to Australia for myself, or for my family; a dear friend lives there, I'd love to see the sights, and I'm a little bummed that I never got there, or even Hawaii, when we lived on the West Coast. I'm also not, well, an independently wealthy MLB player who, it is presumed, could afford to take this trip whenever I like in my decades of free time after my forced retirement in my mid '30s to early '40s. Moving on.)

If you really want to grow the game overseas, take a week off in the middle of the regular season, and host the All-Star Game there. (The number of last-minute "injuries" alone should be worth it.) Have all of the Arizona spring training teams report to the Sydney area to do their work a week early. Resurrect the Babe Ruth Traveling All-Stars and do a November barnstorming run with minor league pitchers and a beer league mentality.

But the idea of sending teams 10K-plus miles away to play a game that counts in the standings and against their statistics, in a park with uncertain effects, two weeks before anyone else has to work...

Well, Greinke is *right* to not be excited about that. So is any one else in uniform, if they care to be candid about it, though given the hue and cry hitting Greinke now, one suspects no one will want to be honest about it ever again. Not that this matters in the least, but I also don't know anyone in my fantasy league, or in my core of MLB fan friends, who feel like that the early games are must-see TV or a welcome jump start to the season, either.

Instead, like the World Baseball Classic, inter-league play, the Now It Counts All Star Game, the play-in wild-card and the bulk of Bud Selig's "contributions" to the game, they see it for what it is: a naked money grab by people who, of course, do not know any better, and never have.

I've never been a Zach Greinke fan before. But I think I'm interested in a seat on the bandwagon now...

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