Diamondbacks All-Star slugger Paul Goldschmidt, who made the trip in the offseason to promote the games, thinks the travel is “no big deal.”
“You’ve got to kill 15 hours anyway,” he said. “You might as well do it in the air.”
Dodgers‘ right-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu has traveled a lot in international competition. Asked how the travel would affect the players, Ryu said through an interpreter, “it depends on the individual, but it usually takes about a week to get used to the change.”
The opener will feature teams not particularly enamored with each other.
The Diamondbacks and Dodgers engaged in a monumental brawl last June, resulting in eight suspensions. The incident has been credited with ignited the Dodgers‘ stunning run that propelled them to the NL West title.
Arizona general manager Kevin Towers is glad for the early matchup with the Dodgers.
“That’s the team we’re going to have to beat,” he said. “I don’t take anybody in our division lightly, but I’m sure most people are picking them to win, and we’ve got a chance to hopefully be two games up on them when we come back home.”
It will be a homecoming for Arizona reliever Ryan Rowland-Smith, born and raised in Australia. He will play for the Australian team against the Dodgers, then switch to the Diamondbacks for their game against Australia.
“To go back to Australia and play in my own back yard is a special feeling,” Rowland-Smith said. “I think it will be an overwhelming experience for me, especially in front of a sellout crowd in Sydney, which is something I never would have imagined.”