What's Buzzing:

Locals love it as MLB makes quick trip Down Under

AP - Sports
Locals love it as MLB makes quick trip Down Under

View gallery

SYDNEY (AP) -- Yasiel Puig and Paul Goldschmidt hadn't left the stadium before workers began dismantling what was quite an impressive place to play baseball.

For a week, at least.

Home plate was dug up, the pitcher's mound flattened and the eight-foot-high perimeter home run fence taken down within an hour after Puig's Los Angeles Dodgers beat Goldschmidt's Arizona Diamondbacks 7-5 Sunday.

It was a two-game Dodgers' sweep of Major League Baseball's opening weekend at Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw won the Saturday opener 3-1, sending the Diamondbacks back to the U.S. 0-2 to start the season and with the L.A. team holding a very early two-game lead in the NL West over their Arizona adversaries.

The regular season will resume next weekend for both teams, with a few exhibition games scheduled this week while they recover from jet lag after the 15-hour flights Down Under and back.

The cricket ground, and Australian baseball fans, meanwhile, may never be the same.

Nearly 80,000 fans attended the weekend games at the 162-year-old ground in leafy Moore Park, minutes from downtown Sydney.

Clearly, sports-mad Australia loved having the world's best baseball players in Sydney. So did their rugby, cricket, soccer and Aussie Rules football stars who took time to mingle with Kershaw and Puig, among others, for photo shoots.

It was a mutual admiration society, with Kershaw posing on his birthday with a kangaroo and kicking around a rugby ball on the eve of his opener. Puig and Goldschmidt even tried their hand at cricket.

Cracker Jack and two-foot-long hotdogs became part of the menu at the SCG snack bars, and MLB commissioner Bud Selig was non-committal about a return to Australia in the near future.

Australian fans might like to see it sooner than later. Never were foul balls into the stands more heartily cheered, because they could keep them. In cricket, where balls are changed only after a predetermined amount of play, they must be returned to the field.

''This event was outstanding, really cool,'' Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. ''The crowds were great. The preparation from the city of Sydney was outstanding. They treated us well.''

Mattingly says a concern after the teams return to the U.S. will be avoiding complacency. They'll have a few days off, then three exhibition games before returning to the regular season next Sunday for a three-game series in San Diego.

''My biggest fear is when you start games, games that don't count are tough to get ready to play,'' he said. ''And then you get lazy and you get bad habits. That's what I will try to fight.''

Regardless, Mattingly loved his Australian experience.

''Your team kind of comes together on a trip because you really don't know anyone else,'' he said. ''We document how far you've got to go, and how it changes our schedule, but at the end of the day you look back on it as a memory you don't really forget.''

View Comments (3)
  • Cardinals 1B Adams exits with bruised knee after collision

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams has bruised his left knee and exited Thursday's game at St Louis. … More »

    AP - Sports - 34 minutes ago
  • Royals' slump includes defense

    Royals' slump includes defense

    The Kansas City Royals hadn't been hitting lately. It was the one constant during a surprising run to Game 7 of the World Series two years ago, and to their five-game whipping of the New York Mets last fall for the championship. ''This thing goes … More »

    AP - Sports - 49 minutes ago
  • Cardinals complete a double play

    Cardinals complete a double play

    With runners at first and third, Brandon Moss snares a line drive down toward first then tags out Tyler Goeddel for the double play … More »

    MLB.com - 52 minutes ago
  • Moss' solo homer

    Moss' solo homer

    Brandon Moss drives a solo home run to the second deck in right field off Jerad Eickhoff to give the Cardinals an early 1-0 lead … More »

    MLB.com - 1 hour 19 minutes ago
  • What will Adam Conley do for an encore after no-hit bid?

    What will Adam Conley do for an encore after no-hit bid?

    Adam Conley, who tossed 7 2/3 no-hit innings his last time out, will take the mound against the Diamondbacks in the MLB Free Game of the Day on Thursday. … More »

    Big League Stew - 1 hour 55 minutes ago