Diamondbacks pitcher battles flight fear

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw nearly didn’t come to Australia because his club wanted him wrapped in cotton wool.


His Arizona Diamondbacks counterpart Wade Miley almost didn’t make it to the MLB season-opener due to his crippling fear of flying.

As a professional baseball player in the United States, with 81 road trips a season, there can’t be a worse condition to have.

Especially when you’re told at the last-minute there’s an injury to the No.1 pitcher, and you’re required on the next 15-hour flight to Sydney.

Dodgers star Zach Greinke said he had “zero interest in coming to Australia.”

Miley’s issue with the great southern land was a little more complex.

“There’s nothing wrong with Sydney, Australia. It was just, ‘is there not a train that runs around here or anything?'” he said.

“Now I’m starting to get nervous about the flight back. I’d rather stay here.

“I remember thinking when I was a kid, ‘I’ll never fly.’ I just don’t feel safe.

“But when it came down to it I had to go.

“My palms are sweaty, I’m squeezing the armrail trying to help the pilot fly.”

Many critics are already writing off the Diamondbacks’ season because their No.1 starter Patrick Corbin is out for the year with an elbow injury.

But even though he had to hold a special conference with Miley at his ranch just to get him on a plane, Diamondbacks coach Kirk Gibson has faith in the 27-year-old left-armer to match it with Kershaw, the highest-paid player in baseball.

“I filled him in several facts about it. I think he realises that flying is safer than a lot of things that he does every day,” Gibson said.