D-backs to make two trips to Australia in November

The Arizona Diamondbacks will make two trips to Sydney, Australia, during the month of November, the team announced Sunday, leading up to the 2014 season-opening series there March 22-23 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Team president Derrick Hall, special assistant to the general manager Craig Shipley, vice president of communications Josh Rawitch and All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt will be in Sydney from Nov. 4-7, while Shipley, vice president of special projects and fan experience Graham Rossini and All-Star pitcher Patrick Corbin will visit with representatives from Major League Baseball from Nov. 18-22.

“The 2014 opening series in Sydney is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our fans and our players,” Hall said in a statement. “We are looking forward to seeing how Sydney Cricket Ground is taking shape and getting an early look at this world-class city. More importantly, we will be able to begin spreading the magic and friendship of the D-backs and Major League Baseball throughout Australia and create new fans for generations to come.”

While in Sydney, both groups of Diamondbacks representatives will tour the historic Sydney Cricket Ground, where the D-backs will host the Dodgers during the first two games of the 2014 regular season. The groups are expected to interact with some of the biggest names in Australian cricket and rugby and will take part in promotional stops at several of the main city sights, including the Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach and the Sydney Opera House. The first group will be involved in promotions as locations such as Royal Randwick, where the Australian Turf Club will host a race in honor of the D-backs.

“Growing up in Sydney, I was fortunate to see several sporting events in person at the Sydney Cricket Ground and more than I can count on TV,” said Shipley, who was the first Australian-born player to appear in the major leagues in the modern era. “In my last year of high school at Epping Boys, I had the privilege of playing rugby at the SCG, but never did I imagine a major league game would be played there.

“I am sure every D-backs fan and employee who is fortunate enough to witness the opening series will be impressed by the history and aura of the SCG. The added benefit of exploring Sydney, my favorite city in the world, will make the trip a once-in-a-lifetime baseball experience.”

The trips to Australia are a continuation of the Diamondbacks’ efforts to grow their fan base internationally. Last year, Hall, general manager Kevin Towers and franchise legend Luis Gonzalez led a goodwill delegation to Japan, while the team has made five trips to Mexico over the past two years, including a recent visit to Guadalajara. Earlier this year, the franchise hosted the World Baseball Classic at Chase Field, and in November, the team will be represented during an MLB talent showcase in Brazil.