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Diamondbacks Could Open 2011 Season With Two-Game Set In Taiwan

The Diamondbacks could open their 2011 season with two games against the San Francisco Giants in Taiwan according to Diamondbacks Chief Executive Officer Derrick Hall.

The games would be held in late March and be part of a five-day trip that would include one day of workouts, two days of exhibition games against local teams and then the first two games of the regular season.

The team would return to Arizona for a few more Spring Training games and then open the season at the same time as the rest of the league.

Hall met with the media in the Diamondbacks dugout before Thursday's game (against the Giants) and explained his enthusiasm for the idea: "It's great for the players, it's good for the staff -- it gives them a whole new experience. From a marketing standpoint and scouting in the Far East I think it's tremendous.

"It opens a whole new door for us so I would welcome the opportunity to play on the international stage and be the only game going for those two days, particularly in Asia where our popularity (and) our opponents popularity would surely increase."

The Giants are the lead team in the deal with the Diamondbacks along with a few other teams being considered as their opponents. Hall, however, thinks that if the deal can be put together the Diamondbacks will be part of it. He's been asking MLB for several years to be part of of an international exhibition.

There are several key business hurdles to overcome to make something like this happen.

The MLB is negotiating with Taiwan to make sure the teams are compensated for the loss of gate revenue along with additional travel costs and compensation for the staff and players associated both with the trip and with starting Spring Training a few days early.

Hall thinks the club would welcome the opportunity but the process for approval would involve the Union talking with both teams and getting the players' sign-off.

The deal is described as having a less than 50/50 chance at this point but resolution should come within the next week or so to allow ample time for preparation.

Other details to be resolved include scheduling the final Spring Training games at Chase Field and asking to hold the opening series against the Rockies at home instead of having to turn around and play on the road after coming back from Taiwan.

Manager Kirk Gibson hadn't heard anything about the possibility of the trip when asked during his normal pregame media availability. After a bit of consideration he seemed to be on-board with the idea.