Daily Distractions: Dodgers’ 2014 schedule features quirks from Sydney to September.

Sydney Cricket Ground

The Sydney Morning Herald published this photo of what the Sydney Cricket Ground might look like converted for baseball. The Dodgers open the 2014 season with two games here against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The preliminary 2014 MLB schedule was released earlier today. It’s short on game times and TV listings, and the Dodgers’ schedule is no exception.

Based on what we do know, the Dodgers either got incredibly lucky with MLB or paid off someone in New York. Not only do both season-opening games in Sydney count as home games for the Arizona Diamondbacks — meaning the Dodgers can play two more home games than Arizona once both teams return home — they also loaded up on holiday home dates: Easter Sunday (April 20 vs. Arizona), Mother’s Day (May 11 vs. San Francisco), Memorial Day (May 26 vs. Cincinnati), Father’s Day (June 15 vs. Arizona) and Labor Day (Sept. 1 vs. Washington).

If you’re in the crowd that believes Interleague play has lost its novelty, you can skip this paragraph. Someone at MLB headquarters must think the Dodgers are overdue for playing the American League Central teams. April 8 and 9 are home games against the Detroit Tigers, and if the 2013 World Series odds are any indication, this could be a rematch of the final game of this year. The Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians are also on the schedule — the White Sox and Dodgers seem to play each other almost every year — and of those, the games against the Indians and White Sox are at home.

A few other key dates to keep in mind:

The final scheduled day of the 2014 regular season will be Sunday, Sept. 28 and will feature 12 divisional games. That likely leaves either one or two days for potential tie-breakers before the first wild-card playoff on Sept. 30 or Oct. 1.

Jackie Robinson Day is April 15; the Dodgers are in San Francisco that day. It will be the first Jackie Robinson Day without an active number 42 in the big leagues, assuming Mariano Rivera follows through on his retirement plans. The first day of the 2014 MLB Draft is Thursday, June 5. The All-Star Game at Target Field in
Minneapolis is Tuesday, July 15.

Quirks aside, the season begins and ends in the division as it should. In fact, the Dodgers only leave the division twice next September — a home series against Washington and a road trip to Chicago. Players might complain that someone forgot to drop an off-day between the Sept. 21 contest at Wrigley Field and the Sept. 22 contest against the Giants at Chavez Ravine. Other than that, there aren’t too many bones for the Dodgers to pick here.

Some bullet points for a Tuesday morning:

• One follow-up to Juan Uribe‘s big night at the plate: No Dodgers third baseman had ever hit three home runs in a game before Monday.

Don Mattingly doesn’t believe this “race” matters, but here’s the update anyway:


• From GammonsDaily.com: Left-handed pitchers are trying get Yasiel Puig to chase the high pitch; right-handers are pounding him away.

The Dodgers’ win over the Diamondbacks mathematically eliminated the Giants and Rockies from playoff contention. They join eight other teams already playing for 2014: The Cubs, Brewers, Marlins, Mets, Phillies, Astros, White Sox and Blue Jays.

• A Korean cartoonist did everything but draw the Muslim prophet Muhammad in satirizing a three-strikeout inning by Radhames Liz. The cartoonist apologized and will keep his/her job.

• Happy birthday to former Dodgers Danys Baez (36) and Chad Hermansen (36), and future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson (50).

• Related: Jason Giambi might still be playing baseball at age 50.

• This has nothing to do with baseball, but I thought you might like to look at some classic muscle car porn.

Mickey Mantle : Mike Trout :: Early Moody Blues : Field Music. Don’t like it? Listen to this and come up with your own analogy:

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.