After multiple trips and site reviews to Australia
we are finally bringing an MLB
game down under! Not only a game but an opening series. One of the challenges of selecting a site for the games was finding a venue that could be transformed for the event. After todays media frenzy that can be checked off the box. ( Photo above is looking from center field back to homeplate of the new seating section.)
Cricket Grounds ( SCG) in New South Wales
is the spot! With dimensions of 335 down the lines and 405 to center it meets the requirements and the cricket pitch has a history of playing baseball..even though it was 100 years ago. Also the natural Bermuda
over seeded rye grass
that we will play on is common to spring training facilities and the SCG
staff manicure it to the 9’s. With a bit of grade tweaks and fencing design it will be just fine for an MLBfield.
Having met with the head curator for the SCG , Tom Parker we came up with a sound strategy for making the pitch work. He has cricket until March 1 and that gives us a couple weeks to flip the field. Afterwards he has a week or so before the AFL
We are making clays locally for the infield and shipping in mound clays. A complete warning track
will be installed along with bullpens, batters eye and backstop. A lot of work for a couple weeks but the folks the SCG have lot of experience with multi use venues so everything will be fine. The venue will also be showcasing a new 170 million dollar grandstand behind homeplate
The winningest ticket in baseball. Not only the best venue in the world but the best beer. Can’t wait to hear MLB’s thunder down under!
My Ausie friends have the travel thing down pat! Let me explain. After a day of meetings in Sydney on Thursday, we had a long travel day planned on friday beginning with a flight from Sydney to Melbourne. its a 645am departure from one of the busiest airports on the Pacific rim. Im thinking 4:00 am pick up and at the airport at 430. Tom says nope see you at 545am.. I was a bit skeptical
545am – Tom picks me up at hotel in downtown Sydney to drive to airport
6:00am– Arrive at avis to return the rental car
6:05am– enter terminal and go through security screening ( with my belt, shoes, socks…and NO BOARDING PASS)
610am– enter Qantas lounge. Pick up boarding pass and dine on a breakfast buffet that was outstanding
625am– Walk to gate
630am– take seat (on a full flight)
Flight departs at 645am on time. Over a course of 1 hour and not even having to rush the experience was amazing! I really liked the fact they allow anyone to pass security without a boarding pass. You can bring your friends, have meetings in the airport, family can meet you at the gate etc…
Tom Nicholson and I performed site visits in 4 state capitols on Friday. Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane which would have been impossible in the US or other countries.
Traveling around Australia this week reminded me of the air travel we enjoyed before 9/11 changed our countries transportation system. We live in a safer world because of our security systems which I support but one can only wish we could some day return to a simpler way of flying with “no worries” .