Australian Organizers Concerned About Dodgers Possibly Not Bringing Clayton Kershaw
The Dodgers "continue to cause headaches" for organizers of the MLB season-opening D-Backs-Dodgers series at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia, as the team is "considering leaving" P Clayton Kershaw at home, according to the AAP. Australian organizers are "privately hoping" the two-time Cy Young award winner will make the trip, and MLB officials are "adamant Kershaw and his wife will be in Sydney as promised unless something untoward happens" (AAP, 2/25). In L.A., Dylan Hernandez writes Kershaw would be "spared a trip to the other side of the world and back, allowing him to better prepare for the domestic opener" against the Padres on March 30. If Kershaw "doesn't pitch in Australia, Hyun-Jin Ryu probably will." From a "promotional standpoint, the South Korean left-hander would serve as more than an adequate replacement for Kershaw, as he would increase the event's international appeal." P Zack Greinke has "made clear he would prefer the Dodgers not open their season in Australia." P Dan Haren was "more diplomatic, but not before indicating he shared Greinke's thoughts." Haren quipped, "Which answer do you want? The politically correct answer? I think [Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten] would probably want me to give the politically correct one." He added, "I think everyone understands why we're doing it, to build the brand" (L.A. TIMES, 2/25). Haren: "It's a long trip for us, but we have to think of the game. The actual trip will be a lot to handle, especially for the starting pitchers. It's a lot to ask of a player. ... It would stink to fly 30 hours and not pitch." MLB.com's Ken Gurnick noted all players "will receive a $20,000 bonus to make the trip" (MLB.com, 2/24).
UNDERSTANDABLE SENTIMENT? ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said Greinke was not "out of line" about his criticism, but he was "out of step" with the message from both MLB and the Dodgers. ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "This is about worldwide promotion. If you're a team, you're an agent of the league. You want this. If you're a player, you're going to take away a third of my time to prepare for the beginning of the season" ("PTI," ESPN, 2/24).