Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dodgers Report [Print without images]

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Despite perception, Dodgers enjoying trip

By Mark Saxon

SYDNEY -- Clayton Kershaw's wife, Ellen, surprised him on his 26th birthday. She arranged to have a handler deliver a kangaroo to a park near the Dodgers' team hotel. Kershaw got to hold and pet the baby marsupial.

That counts as enjoying Australia, doesn’t it?

“That was something I’ll probably never get to do again -- pretty cool,” Kershaw said.

The Dodgers continue to be cast as the bad guys here, in part because of a perceived lack of interest in visiting Australia and in part because of their massively well-paid players. They’d like to clear one thing up, however: They’re just as happy to be here -- now that they are here -- as the Diamondbacks are.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to know the city,” said Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who brought his parents along.

Catcher A.J. Ellis is on his second tour of Sydney. He was here in November as part of an advance party. Here’s what he said he has taken from the trip: “Just the beauty of Sydney, the hospitality of the people, their love of sport and their excitement for this event.”

It’s not entirely surprising that the Dodgers have had to wear the black hat here. They were painted in a similar way in the playoffs when they faced the St. Louis Cardinals, who were viewed as scrappy overachievers.

“We talked about it last year,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “It’s something you knew coming in. When you get a lot of big names and you get a big payroll, you end up being the bad guy, no matter what.”