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MLB Season Opener 2014: Dodgers, D-Backs In Australia To Prepare For Opening Day; What Does This Series Mean For MLB?

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First Posted: Mar 19, 2014 03:23 PM EDT
Matt Kemp
(Photo : Flickr/ breakmake)

The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers have arrived in Australia for the upcoming season-opening series set to take place this weekend.

The two squads endured 14 plus hours of air travel before arriving in Sydney, the location of the first Major League Baseball game to take place in Australia in 100 years. The teams will face off at the Sydney Cricket Ground, which has been changed around in order to fit proper baseball regulation.

But as cheery as the story sounds, it marks another chapter in the strong yet controversial efforts by MLB to expand beyond North America. The league is due to face a great deal of scrutiny for overdoing its increasingly obnoxious marketing efforts abroad. Furthermore, MLB already has been the target of internatonal criticism due to controversies surrounding exploitation of players from Latin American countries. The players in Latin American countries have been signed for much cheaper contracts over the years and this has created a low-cost, high-reward system that benefits the league.

Thus, as players and teams arrive in Australia, this issue is probably going to resurface. Even as the media glosses over the trip with only the most positive sentiments about having games abroad, it is difficult to look at it as anything other than a missionary and marketing trip. The fact that this game is the first one of the regular season shows just how strategic the league was in making sure all eyes would be on MLB's international presence.

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What do you think about the upcoming game in Australia? Are you looking forward to seeing a professional baseball game in another country or do you think they should have just opened the season at one of the current Major League Baseball stadiums? Feel free to chime in with your own opinion in the comments section below.

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