Sydney-born pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith has allowed himself to visualise what it will be like to walk out of the Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen, to the sound of a packed Sydney Cricket Ground audience cheering his name.
It can best be described as his two worlds colliding.
For the duration of his baseball career, Rowland-Smith has been living a double life.
Like scores of other Aussie kids, he would make the pilgrimage to watch cricket at the SCG.
But when it came to his own blossoming sporting potential, Rowland-Smith had to come to terms with the fact he was playing a game Australia cared little about.
“Growing up as a teenager, I had friends saying, “when are you going to start playing rugby and not baseball?'”
But on Saturday and Sunday, the left-arm power pitcher may get a chance to show his friends, and the Australian public, exactly why he’s considered one of the country’s best ever pitching exports.
Rowland-Smith was to start the season in the minor leagues, with his Australian heritage getting him on the plane to Sydney.
However, that said, he now has a genuine chance to show the Diamondbacks what he’s got to offer, and all with a home crowd behind him.
On Thursday night, Rowland-Smith has been given permission by the Diamondbacks to pitch an innings for Team Australia against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first exhibition game.
It’s a proud moment for the Newcastle-raised ball-player, who won a silver medal for Australia at the Athens Olympics.
But the chance to resurrect his Major League career for the Diamondbacks in the opening games of the 2014 season is what Roland-Smith is visualising.
After three successful years for the Seattle Mariners at the end of the last decade, Rowland-Smith’s career hit the brakes for a couple of seasons – before last year injury robbed him of a chance to turn things around.
Things were looking good for him at the Boston Red Sox, but a horrific bout of appendicitis ripped through him and kept him from being part of the famous club’s latest World Series success.
He’s hoping to write the next chapter on Saturday’s opening night.
“It’s special for my family. To have my family here in my own backyard to be able to see it, that’s the big thing I am proud of,” he said.
“I was infatuated with baseball since I was 12 years old. I love the game.
“I have my Australian life and my life in the US. I am used to that now. I have been doing it for 13 years.
“It will be pretty overwhelming stepping out here on the SCG.”