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Zack Greinke on pitching in Australia: “I can’t think of one reason to be excited for it”

Feb 22, 2014, 5:45 PM EDT

Zack Greinke AP AP

The Dodgers are set to open their season with a two-game series against the Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia from March 22 and 23. Zack Greinke is tentatively scheduled pitch the second game of the series, but he told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles today that he’s not looking forward to making the trip:

“I would say there is absolutely zero excitement for it,” Greinke told “There just isn’t any excitement to it. I can’t think of one reason to be excited for it.”

Tell us how you really feel, Zack.

Greinke made sure to point out that he understands the series is “for the greater good of baseball,” but it’s easy to understand why he (and others who won’t go on the record) would be annoyed or inconvenienced by it. Players had to report to spring training earlier than normal and will receive fewer opportunities to play in exhibition games before the start of the season. They’ll also have to deal with some lag time between the end of the series in Australia and the traditional MLB Opening Day. The trip likely won’t have any bearing on how the season plays out for either team, but it’s just a weird way to begin the year. Of course, they are getting paid millions of dollars to play, so sympathies will be hard to come by.

  1. nymets4ever - Feb 22, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    Cry moar.

    • barrybondsisthealltimehomerunking - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:03 PM

      What do you want him to say? It’s refreshing to hear an opinion, that’s how he feels and my guess is that’s how most of his teammates and the Diamondbacks feel.

      • nymets4ever - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:14 PM

        I dunno, I guess I was thinking something that doesn’t offend an entire nation and make it look like he’s reluctantly doing them a great favor by gracing them with his presence.

      • Kevin S. - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:56 PM

        Way to read in what wasn’t there.

      • bigdicktater - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:58 PM

        I hope Greinke sits in his room and pouts, never gets out to see how gorgeous Aussie girls are and learn they actually like Americans.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:53 PM

        If he wants, I’ll go to Australia for him and he can work my office job while I’m there 😀

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:06 PM

        Your fastball is a tad bit slower than Zack’s.

  2. mybrunoblog - Feb 22, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    I admire his honesty. Can you blame him? 28 hours in a plane round trip, a break in normal routine, jet lag, etc. All that in mind these guys are well compensated so deal with it boys.

    • gothapotamus90210 - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:59 PM

      For those into the Briggs-Myers scale, he’s definitely an INTJ, and I love it.

    • Professor Fate - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      Too bad the team can’t just leave him home. If a player doesn’t understand the business well enough to support attempts to expand it, which directly impacts salaries, then they are more of a liability than an asset.

  3. chacochicken - Feb 22, 2014 at 5:59 PM

    Greinke has a problem with painful honesty as in painful for others.

    • unclemosesgreen - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:22 PM

      Not as painful as being victimized by a drop bear!

      • Old Gator - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:14 AM

        About twenty years or so ago I was doing some research in Sydney on the Australian Nobel laureate Patrick White. While I was there, the Australian minister of tourism got drunk at a diplomatic reception somewhere and said a bunch of disparaging things about koalas – they had fleas, they bite and scratch you if you pick them up, they piss on you. He got fired. You don’t insult koalas and stroll away clean in Oz, bub.

        Anyway, drop bears are the least of your worries. If you walk under a tree that has a resident Australian possum – which looks something more like a big lemur than a possum as we know it – it will, literally, piss on your head. We had a couple of narrow escapes from that. And if you happen to be using a dunny with a redback hanging out under the seat, well….

      • unclemosesgreen - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:59 PM

        That’s not even the worst part – after the possum pisses on your head it tries to tell you it’s raining. Nervy bastards.

  4. yahmule - Feb 22, 2014 at 5:59 PM

    You won’t find a baseball or football player who likes these trips.

  5. barrybondsisthealltimehomerunking - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    Stupid and unfair for both of teams. Very Roger Goodell of MLB.

  6. gibbyfan - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    Honestly —What exactly is the point of it. I too agree that what he said was not at all out of line.

  7. elmo - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    He’s not really asking for sympathy, nor is he exactly complaining about it. Just an honest and matter-of-fact statement, typical Zack.

  8. willclarkgameface - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    He’s right. This is always a ridiculous idea to have baseball players travel all over the world just to play a couple baseball games. There’s no point other than to force American culture down the throats of our international friends.

    I hate it as does Greinke.

    • angrytwitterguy - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:58 PM

      Grienke never said anything along the lines of what you just said, in fact he pointed out the fact that it’s good for the business of baseball.

      • willclarkgameface - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:06 PM

        Are you kidding?

        He’s IMPLYING that the idea sucks by not even implying that there is ZERO excitement for this series.

        And do you think he’s trying to be an ambassador by saying it’s such a great idea for the business of baseball? Don’t you see that as more of a swipe at Selig and him being pissed off that he has to play in MLB regular season games half way around the world 10 days before anyone else not on the Dodgers or D-Backs?

        Read between the lines bro. #ClownResponseBro

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:04 PM

        Ten thumbs downs say your comment was the clown bro. one, mmkay?

    • darman55 - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:43 PM

      Oops. I meant to replay and filed a report comment by mistake. What I wanted to post was that, it’s not forcing American Culture down an international friend’s throat. It’s exposing the Aussies to how the game is played by American Professionals. Nothing more. No different than if a couple of Aussie “Football” teams (Australian Rules Football) coming to the US and playing a couple of games.

    • Old Gator - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:23 AM

      Well, given half an opportunity, I would prefer to force some Australian culture down my own throat. For example, the wunnerful seafood they have: the best damned oysters you’ll ever eat, and barramundi – a primitive perch-like estuarine fish that’s born male and turns into a female as it grows up (keeping with the fine tradition of Oz weird), with succulent white meaty flesh that honors its sauces and your palate, but most of all, bugs – Balmain or Moreton Bay (I prefer the former for sweetness), truly weird looking small lobsters that resemble Romulan cockroaches and star accusingly at you from their platter but which taste like little Maine lobsters, only with more concentrated flavor. Oh my Buddha, but they’re good. And then to the opposite extreme there’s a regional specialty called the pie floater, native to the Adelaide area but now widely available there, which consists of a meat pie in bowl of pea soup with tomato sauce and a splash of vinegar. They’re better from the pie carts (trucks) than from restaurants per se but as a late-night, pre-hangover wolfdown you just can’t beat the damned things.

      Oz is a land of many culinary delights. Stop whining and chow down, Zack.

    • dan1111 - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:23 AM

      “force American culture down the throats of our international friends.”

      No one is forcing anyone to do anything. Attendance at the game is purely voluntary. This will probably be a welcome opportunity for many people to see a game they don’t usually get to see.

  9. yahmule - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    The one consolation is we’ll likely get one more Kershaw start this season as a result.

  10. Professor Fate - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    The guys that were locked out of the bigs by racism worked hard to change it and they didn’t get much except grief for their efforts. Later players benefited. The guys who worked hard to bring about free agency and the end to indentured servitude helped pave the way for selfish (rich) dicks like Greinke to whine. It’s about being grateful for the opportunity you have and making the same kind of contribution to promote the sport that previous players did.

    And what is he complaining about? A free vacation to a really cool place? Helping give back a little something to grow the sport that has made you a multimillionaire? Greinke, and others he claims feel the same way, wouldn’t think twice about flying halfway around the world on his own holiday. Is that it? A long plane ride? Pitch poorly, Zack, and you can look forward to another long plane ride to someplace like Japan. The club whose checks you cash has worked long and hard to develop the game, and players, in places all over the world. Some of those guys are on your team trying to help you get a WS ring.

    I’m a lifelong Dodger fan, but an knee-jerk reaction like this just illustrates the lack of gratitude by some of today’s players. Players who are standing on the shoulders of giants while looking like mental midgets. You can disagree with MLB’s attempts to open new markets, or even the way they go about it, but whining like a schoolboy with a complete lack of perspective because part of the responsibility of your job is some travel instead of kicking it in your Arizona hotel room is immature and counterproductive.

    The only thing more disappointing than Greinke’s parochial, self-centered attitude are the people defending his short-sighted outlook. Hey, Zack, at least you have a built-in excuse if you start the regular season by getting shelled.

    • American of African Descent - Feb 22, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      Do you know what Greinke owes MLB? Absolutely nothing. He’s worked damn hard for what he’s has—there are not that many people who can do what he can do with a baseball. Gratitude? Do you think that the Dodgers are giving Greinke those checks as an act of grace? If so, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. The Dodgers are paying Greinke because he puts butts in the seats and eyeballs on the television screen.

      Unless your position is that all employees should do what their employers say with a smile on their face at all times, consider toning it down.

      • Old Gator - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:25 AM

        He could have worked just as hard at anything else and not be sitting nearly as pretty as he is now. Yeah, he owes MLB. No way he makes that kind of money busting his ass as a high school coach.

      • losanginsight - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:14 AM

        Bridges would be sold out on HBT… I can see where Zack may not be excited about leaving his wife, children, and pets an extra 10 days, before a 162 game season, to go all the way down under to get a W against the dbacks.

      • Professor Fate - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:55 AM

        There’s a big difference between “all employees should do what their employers say with a smile on their face at all times” and not sounding like a petulant, overgrown six-year-old. He’s an entertainer. Entertainers go on the road to display their wares. It’s just another road trip and Greinke acts like it’s a huge waste of his time. I’m sure the Aussies will love his derisive attitude.

      • American of African Descent - Feb 23, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        Old Gator: I know hedge fund guys, attorneys, and businessmen who are doing quite well thank you. Professional sports are not the only way—or even the most likely way—to make big money.

        Moreover, even in professional sports, I’d much rather be ownership than labor.

      • American of African Descent - Feb 23, 2014 at 4:01 PM

        Professor Fate: You write like you’ve never flown half way around the globe. The trip from Los Angeles to Australia is absolutely nothing like the trip between Los Angeles and [pick any other location in the United States]. Your boss tells you to do something that’s a pain in the ass and not standard, you mean to tell me that you don’t grouse a bit about it?

  11. onbucky96 - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    That is why you should have taken Mr.Attanasio’s 5yr $100 milion from the Brewers. Oh well, at least we’ve got Segura for 3 more years.

  12. dodgerblue247 - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    You people are all ingnorant. Before throwing stones, do a little research. Greinke has Asperger’s which is a form of Autism. People with this are very blunt and speak their mind “unfiltered”. This is exactly why Greinke rarely speaks to the media. People think he is rude and stand-offish, but he is dealing with this disorder on a daily basis the best way he knows how. I commend him for putting himself in the public’s eye. People…..think before you judge!

    • Professor Fate - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      Then maybe someone should tape a note on Zack reminding him of this so he doesn’t make himself look like an ass. I don;t believe he is so handicapped he can’t remember two simple words: “No comment.”

      • koufaxmitzvah - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:55 PM

        You “telling” Zach Greinke that he looks like an ass is hysterical.

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:02 PM

        Yo, Mitzvah: I misspelled Zack’s name too.

      • Professor Fate - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:58 AM

        Zack as in hack. No, sandy, I didn’t “tell” Greinke anything at all. I said he looks like an ass. See the difference? I guess you think it’s funny because it’s so obvious, right?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:55 PM

      He has Social Anxiety Disorder, he’s not on the spectrum. So I’d be careful about throwing out the ignorant label.

  13. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    I can’t think of one reason to be excited for it.”

    I can think of a few, and they are usually wearing bikinis…

    • jwbiii - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:14 PM

      Sure but they have those in Southern California as well. Without the charming accent, though.

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:59 PM

        Complete with fake Australian accent. To get the real one you’ve got to go down under.

    • themanytoolsofignorance - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:29 AM

      According to the internet they don’t even wear all of that bikini. Amazing if you ask me. Well. I don’t what he’s not excited about. I myself am a touch interested in a trip there, now. Perhaps I should discuss this with the wife

  14. crnvic847 - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    I would play in Antarctica in my underwear for a fraction of what these guys make! Suck it up and deal with it!

    • ptfu - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:02 PM

      So you want to be Kate Upton then.

  15. ch0psuey - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    A chance to go to Australia, dude suck it up Grienke, life’s tough.

  16. theebbandflow - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    The Dwight Schrute of baseball.

    Seriously, he’s been around long enough and earns way to much to not at least give some nod to diplomacy during interviews.

    Even just saying “it’ll be interesting for sure” would be reasonable compromise.

  17. jimeejohnson - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    Two words, Zach: Outback Steakhouse! They’ve got to be great down under.

    • jimeejohnson - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:58 PM

      Sorry, Zack.

      • Old Gator - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:30 AM

        Ackcherley, “down under” most of the steak you get at restaurants is “buff,” or water buffalo – Indian Brahma cattle. It’s still really good, but aside from the huge gouts of sodium that overkill the bloomin’ onions, there’s not much that’s authentically Australian at Outback. You get pretty standard American beef at OS. You can order Argentine beef in a lot of places but wow, some serious sticker shock comes along with that.

  18. recoveringcubsfan - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    You’ve played knifey-spoony before, Zach.

  19. JB (the original) - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    I, as someone who is currently in Thailand for work, completely understand what he’s saying. Yes, h’e s a bit blunt about it, but so be it. Yes, it’s a “free” vacation, but, the jet lag both ways does take a toll. Why couldn’t this have been done say with, 4 teams during spring training, where you have the extra players and could “round robin” some games -THAT DON”T COUNT in the standings, then come back to the states for the last week of ST to get re-acclimated, before the season started.

    • Old Gator - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:35 AM

      I used to do a lot of travelling, transPacific included. A day or two and you can shake the jet lag – which has less to do with time zone adjustment than with dehydration and thin air in the jet cabin – with some well timed naps, plenty of fluids and some complex carbohydrates in your meals. You just have to know how to pace yourself and you’re over it. Now if you booze your way back and forth across the Pacific on a liquid per diem you’re gonna waste yourself good and proper for a lot longer. Handling yourself right, it’s not that big a deal.

      • JB (the original) - Feb 23, 2014 at 4:25 AM

        I don’t disagree with you, but there’s no reason this can’t be during Spring Training, and involving more teams. That way, they can have multiple games that reach more people, and I think the players would be less stressed under those conditions, and like ST in the States, might even be willing to “be in public” outside of the game.

      • Old Gator - Feb 23, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        JB: I think you’re right. Overall this was planned poorly. But it will still be fun – unless some of these players, like Greinke, psych themselves into a bummer from the git-go and cling to their wish to feel discommoded by it all.

  20. gloccamorra - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    Well that settles it: he’s not a team player. Good thing his contract runs out after this year the dodgers can let him go… wait, what?

  21. Carl Hancock - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:08 AM

    What’s the point in it? Wow there are some seriously shortsighted people on this forum. Not to mention the Diamondback fans complaining about the loss of 3 home games despite the fact there are around 80 total home games in a season.

    What’s the point? Promoting the sport to a country where baseball is on the rise. Helping garner interest for the fledgling Australian professional baseball league that MLB is helping get off the ground.

    Why not an exhibition game you ask? Easy. Who in the hell cares about an exhibition match? Nobody. Of Australians are going to buy tickets to see a Major League game they’re going to want to see the real thing. Not a meaningless exhibition.

    For all of those complaining about these international games being stupid, and that includes Zack Greinke, you should quit complaining about baseball not being an Olympic sport while you’re at it. If MLB sits back and does nothing to drum up international interest in the sport you can forget about the IOC giving a damn about the sport.

    If playing these games in Australia brings more fans to the sport and gives the Australian pro league a boost then I’m all for it.

    As for Zack Greinke, he’s paid handsomely to play baseball every 5 or 6 days. He should shut the hell up and pitch. There’s worse places to play a game than Australia.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Feb 23, 2014 at 8:05 AM

      Greinke has a right to make a comment. I guess freedom of speech only addresses the anonymous folks who make the Interwebz such an intelligent conversation pool (doctors and civil rights lawyers known as Mr.BigAzzzz), but I digress.

      The Olympics is why MLB “must” maintain a WADA-style drug policy. That means the wrong nasal spray can cost an MLB player up to 50 games on a first caught basis. NO THANKS.

      I like the idea from above. A round robin tournament to close out ST and/or to start the regular season. Not 2 teams who start the regular season 1 week before everyone else starts the regular. That’s just reeks of poor League preparation.

      • Professor Fate - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        And we have just as much right to excoriate Greinke for his lack of decorum. He represents an entire industry with those comments, not just himself. A poor ambassador for the game.

  22. badsequel - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:08 AM

    Trillion dollar salary but this fool can’t bother to act like an ambassador of the sport.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Feb 23, 2014 at 8:07 AM

      Oh, it’s a money thing. And not am I Live In My Mommy’s Basement thing that you’ve got.

  23. Carl Hancock - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:35 AM

    Leaving family? This is the type of trip that players bring their family too and turn it into a little vacation.

    The teams aren’t just flying to Sydney, playing two games and then flying home. I’m fact they are playing more than 2 games. Both the Dodgers and Diamondbacks will at exhibition games against the Australian national team prior to the first 2 games of the season take place.

    The two games between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks will likely sell out and any publicity and attention MLB can bring to the game in a country where MLB is helping establish a new professional league is a good thing in my opinion.

    The Australian Baseball League is 75% owned by MLB and consists of 6 teams. It’s in the leagues AND Major League teams best interest to help it succeed. Why? It’s a short league that takes place over our winter and could add another international source of talent for MLB.

    While only 30 or so Australians have made it to the Major Leagues there are hundreds in the Minor Leagues. Helping solidify a professional league in Australia will only help the sport as a whole and ultimately MLB *AND* it’s teams in the process.

    What’s said is if you read any of the Australian press about the series they always mention Greinke as being one of the big stars (Google is your friend) so it’s certainly a slap in the face for Greinke to basically crap all over the idea.

    Major League Baseball players are ambassadors of the sport of baseball. They should act like it instead of acting like spoiled brats complaining about a free vacation to Australia where they get to expose Australians to what Major League Baseball is all about.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:00 PM

      You know for some people international travel isn’t just no big deal — it can cause serious disturbances. If you’re an introvert, you may not find it so fun. For someone with social anxiety disorder, going to an unfamiliar place where you will likely have to deal with crowds everywhere and lots of interviews, it can be a nightmare. At home, routine and familiarity probably help him with that. A trip like this will upend that. So, while you’re thinking trips to the beach, he may be making sure he has his medicine, knows where all the exits and bathrooms are at the facilities he’s visiting, and has an out-of-the-way, quiet hotel room to retreat to. I hope the Dodgers are giving him an accommodation and have helped him make this less unpleasant for him. And, fyi, he is a professional pitcher, not Miss America (or Mr. MLB, I guess I should say).

  24. sawxalicious - Feb 23, 2014 at 3:31 AM

    Personally, I think the match should be exciting to play in a totally different environment in a cool place. That being said, I DEFINITELY prefer a player actually speaking their mind, matter of factly as opposed to the player that is essentially reading from cue cards: ” I’m just here here to win, happy to be a part if the team, blah blah blah blah blah.” Greinke is simply reminding us he’s not a robot; he’s a real person with real, actual thoughts on subjects brought to his attention in an interview. He should be commended for that. He wasn’t saying anything mean, racist, dirty, or anything else some unfiltered idiots say (John Rocker’s unfiltered opinion on NYC comes to mind). Greinke just gave his plain opinion that he’s not all that pumped to go to Australia. End of story, nothing to see here. According to most accounts, he is somewhat of an introvert and traveling may be a drag to him. He’d probably be happy pitching every game at the same ballpark for the rest if his career.

    • Professor Fate - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      Then he should either take a class on diplomacy or find another career.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        Oh for God’s sake. He’s not a diplomat.

  25. negaduck - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    Buying bread from a man in Brussels
    He was six-foot-four and full of muscles
    I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”
    He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich

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