There’s two Major League Baseball clubs in Sydney for this weekend’s historic opening-season series. But there couldn’t be a bigger gulf between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers boast the biggest payroll in the MLB at $US220 million ($A241.82 million).
That’s two and a half times more than what the small-town Diamondbacks earn as a collective.
LA’s highest earner Clayton Kershaw is bringing in a cool $30 million a season compared to the D’Backs’ headline star Paul Goldschmidt, who wouldn’t be out of place in the AFL or NRL with a pay packet of $550,000.
Dodgers owner Magic Johnson is a giant global brand in his own right and one of the most in-demand sporting celebrities in the world.
While Diamondbacks’ counterpart Ken Kendrick can be spotted eating breakfast at Spring Training with minor leaguers who have never seen the light of day in the big time.
“It’s a legitimate rivalry. Both teams don’t really like each other,” said Arizona pitcher, JJ Putz.
It’s not hard to work out why.
For the same reason, it’s easy to identify which team is genuinely jumping out of their skin to be in Sydney, while the other is giving indications they may only be pretending.
The attitude of some of the Dodgers players suggests they’d rather still be in Spring Training in the Arizonian desert – concerned how 30 hours of travel to and from Sydney inside six days could affect their prospects of winning this year’s World Series.
But for the MLB’s average Joes from Arizona, they’ve embraced this venture as one of the highlights of their careers and even included Australian Ryan Rowland-Smith in their squad.
“I don’t know what’s going through their heads, I don’t care. All I can speak for is on behalf of the Diamondbacks and we’re really excited to be here,” said Putz.
Last year the benches of both teams cleared for one of biggest MLB brawls.
At the end of the 2013 season, Dodgers players urinated in an iconic pool located at the end of the Diamondbacks ball-park – as they celebrated a playoff win.
The D-Backs front office weren’t impressed.
Putz won’t rule out another heated clash between the fibros and silvertails in Sydney.
“Anything is a possibility,” he said.
“We’ll just see how the game goes and if anything happens you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”