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Sydney Cricket Ground

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The Sydney Cricket Ground is a 48,000 seat stadium located in Sydney, New South Wales. It serves as home for the Sydney Sixers (Big Bash League), New South Wales Blues (Sheffield Shield) and Sydney Swans (Australian Football League). The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will open the 2014 Major League season here on March 22 and 23.

The Ground is built on what was the Sydney Common, a vast public park first laid aside by New South Wales Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1811. Part of the Common was laid out as a cricket ground in the second half of the 19th Century, with the first grandstand erected in the 1870s. It received its name in 1894, but it had already hosted its first international cricket match back in 1882. It was used for baseball a few times early in the 20th Century, the most important occasion being the world tour by the Chicago White Sox when they played an exhibition game against the New York Giants in the stadium on January 3, 1914.

The main Victorian-era grandstand, the Members' Pavilion, still subsists, and was used in the baseball configuration put together for the 2014 Opening series, standing on the first base side of the field. Next to it is the equally-stately Ladies Pavilion, a reminder that the two genders were not allowed to mix on the grounds until the mid-1970s. In baseball guise, the Ground seats 45,000 spectators, and has a fence that is located 328 feet down the two foul lines and 400 feet in center field. Foul territory is huge, and the ground is very hard and fast, something that is important in cricket where bowled balls are bounced towards the batters. Major League Baseball's groundskeeping guru, Murray Cook was in charge of transforming the cricket oval into a major-league caliber baseball field.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Doug Miller: "Here's the pitch: Park takes shape for Opening Series: 'Field Guru' Cook leads transformation of historic Sydney Cricket Ground", mlb.com, March 5, 2014. [1]
  • Doug Miller: "Sydney Cricket Ground welcomes America's pastime: Australia's historic sports venue wows with pristine ballfield for Opening Series", mlb.com, March 18, 2014. [2]
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