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MLB to media in Australia: Just smile and have a Vegemite sandwich

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So the Dodgers and Diamondbacks are in Australia to promote baseball as international sport. Guess that’s swell, though making it part of the regular season seems a hellacious idea.

But if Major League Baseball wants this pair of games to actually spur interest and grow the game Down Under, you would think they’d make it as media friendly as possible.

Instead of the opposite, which is more like what they’re doing.

Unlike every other regular season game, the media are not allowed in the clubhouses prior to a game in Sydney. Neither are they allowed in after the game. They have no clubhouse access at all.

Play your didgeridoo to that, mate.

MLB said the clubhouses at the Sydney Cricket Ground are just too small, which seems strange, since they were specially built for this series. And it’s hard to believe they could be any smaller than the visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field, where players are not allowed to all inhale at once.

Media coverage will be carefully orchestrated. A MLB spokesman said postgame a half a dozen players will be brought into an interview room. And then there will be the dreaded “mixed zone” outside the clubhouse, where players will stand behind fences and talk to a crush of media. That’s if they feel like coming out.

News organizations spending thousands of dollars to cover these two games better hope their readers/views like plenty of color. You could capture most of that watching on television in your PJs. You know, like most bloggers. And there are fewer than a dozen media members from the U.S. in Sydney.

But if you want your media representative to be able to privately sidle up to a player in the postgame clubhouse to find out what he really thinks about that play in the eighth, forget it. Insight will be hard to come by.

This is the same way it’s done at the World Baseball Classic, the Olympics and at soccer’s World Cup, which is not the same as daily coverage of a team where relationships can become important.

Some years ago, MLB closed pregame clubhouses during the postseason, which I thought strange. They’re open postgame.

Our readers should be able to reap the benefit of Dylan Hernandez working the clubhouse, not leaving him too much time to figure out the difference between a wallaby and a wallaroo.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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