AUSTRALIA — Day 4

This was a BIG day for me — my entire reason for traveling halfway across the world. Game 1 of Major League Baseball’s Opening Series at the Sydney Cricket Ground was scheduled to begin at 7:15pm, but of course I wanted to get there much earlier. The stadium was going to open at 5pm, and I decided to arrive by 2:30. I figured I didn’t have enough time to do anything interesting beforehand, but my Australian friend Ray Burton wasn’t about to let me waste a perfectly good morning. He and his family planned a Sydney Harbour Cruise, and it started here in Darling Harbour.

354_baseball_flags_at_the_harbor

In the photo above, do you see all those flags along the water’s edge? The blue ones featured Dodgers players, and the red ones featured Diamondbacks — and check this out:

355_sydney_convention_centre_being_demolished_and_replaced

No, I’m not talking about the Sydney Convention Centre being demolished in the background. I’m talking about those gigantic baseballs floating in the water! I wasn’t the only one psyched about these games; the whole city seemed to be embracing it.

Here are the Burtons:

356_all_five_burtons

In the photo above, Ray is wearing the yellow shirt, and his wife, Donna, is rockin’ the stripes. The other three folks are their children — Nick on the left, Emily in the middle, and Alex on the right.

The cruise tickets weren’t cheap:

357_tickets_for_a_sydney_harbour_cruise

They cost $55 apiece, but it was worth it. Look how beautiful it was once we got out on the water:

365_heading_toward_the_sydney_harbour_bridge

I was glad to finally see the much-hyped Sydney Harbour Bridge, but I was even more excited to get a good look at the famous opera house:

371_sydney_opera_house

I’m not a fan of opera, nor am I an architecture aficionado, but c’mon, that’s a pretty cool building.

Our boat was one of those “hop on/hop off” things, so we rode it a nearby harbour called Circular Quay. That’s the closest stop to the opera house. Here’s what it looked like as we walked toward it:

376_walkway_to_the_opera_house

Here’s what I saw as we got closer:

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Take another look at the bridge:

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Did you notice those little specks on the very top?

Those were people . . .

383_people_climbing_the_bridge

. . . who had paid hundreds of dollars apiece for an official bridge climb. I would’ve loved to do that, but (a) the timing didn’t work out, and (b) hundreds of dollars? Really?! I went skydiving for hundreds of dollars. I bought an Arkanoid machine for hundreds of dollars. The bridge climb looked cool, but not THAT cool.

Here I am “imitating the opera house” with the Burtons:

387_donna_emily_alex_zack_imitating_the_opera_house

(That stupid photo was my idea.)

Everywhere we went, I saw people decked out in Dodgers and Diamondbacks gear. Here’s some photographic evidence from the boat:

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Look at this sign on the boat:

403_alcohol_sign_on_the_boat

I have mixed emotions about what the drinking age should be, but it was interesting to be in a place where it was different from home.

Our boat made several other stops (including Taronga Zoo), but we didn’t get off. Instead we rode it back to Darling Harbor . . .

406_heading_back_to_darling_harbour

. . . and got ready for the game. Look what Ray wore:

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HEATH BELL, BABY!!
YEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH!!

On our way out of the hotel, I noticed this in the lobby:

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Sydney was going baseball-crazy.

That’s the end of my Day 4 blog entry. Click here for a separate entry (with 87 photos) about my experience at the game.

9 Comments

Such an Amazing trip. The opening series in Sydney was definitely once in a lifetime!

Z Ham… c’mon! How often can you legally climb a bridge over a harbor like that?!? I’d do it in a heartbeat. ;-) But, hey, you had more important things to do. Seeing all your pics makes me want to visit again. I’m glad you seem to be having a total blast!
-M Jack

The views looked great on the cruise
-Demetrius
http://thatballhawk.mlblogs.com/

It’s great to see other parts of the world embrace MLB, even though they might not understand it…….
-Larry
http://curveblog.mlblogs.com/

We were very lucky with the weather for the whole of Zack’s trip.. It was a beautiful autumn day on the harbour. Not too hot- about 75 degrees , and no wind. Right after Zack left we had 2 weeks of solid rain. The weekend after the Opening series was a total disaster – it rained heavily and no games would have been possible. MLB and Australia were very lucky that baseball was played on the 22 / 23 March weekend. I don’t know what they would have done if it rained that weekend. Certainly not a double header during the week. Years of planning and all that travel organisation for the fans and players and all the re- structuring of the SCG for nothing. I know it would have been insured but…… Doesn’t bear thinking about. Anyway , as it turned out , the weather was fantastic and good times were had. Great memories.

Did you get my email
-Demetrius
http://thatballhawk.mlblogs.com/

SOUTHERN BALLHAWK 1-
So true. I feel so lucky to have been there.

BLOGGING ‘BOUT BASEBALL-
When you put it like that, it does seem worth it. But eh. Like I said, it just didn’t work out. This whole trip cost thousands of dollars, and eventually I got to the point were I didn’t want to spend much more.

DEMETRIUS-
Just answered your email. OMG.

LARRY-
That’s a beautiful way to look at it.

RAY BURTON-
That’s kinda scary. I really wonder how everything would’ve played out had there been rain, rain, and more rain. I didn’t even bring an umbrella on this trip.

Considering the photos I’ve seen of hot dogs selling at the stadium for $40, $55 for a harbor cruise doesn’t seem too bad!

Ha, good point.

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