Crawford's full-circle journey worth a baseball diamond
BASEBALL: The term "come full circle" gets thrown around a lot in sport.
But in Tristan Crawford's case, it is an appropriate cliche.
Crawford, who was born in Alaska and moved to Australia when he was seven, is a relieving pitcher with the Brisbane Bandits, playing the national sporting pastime of the country of his birth in the land Down Under.
Making the story even more remarkable - he is set to line up on the mound for Team Australia against Major League clubs the LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks, at the spiritual home of Australian cricket - the SCG.
"It's spectacular," Crawford told APN before tonight's clash against Los Angeles, followed by Arizona tomorrow night.
"I grew up playing cricket and baseball wanting to be Ricky Ponting or Don Bradman scoring a ton at the SCG. Now I get to play Major League Baseball teams here.
"I've played professionally for the past 10 years and been injured a lot in the past three - I've definitely come full circle."
The 31-year-old, who has overcome elbow and shoulder surgery, produced incredible figures for the Bandits in the 2013-14 ABL season, giving away an earned run average of just 0.78 in 16 games, while pitching 23 innings.
That is why Crawford, who represented his country at the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009, is such an integral part of the Team Australia pitching rotation.
"You get your MRIs and surgeries done and it all just crushes you," he said.
"But then you realise body wear and tear is part of being a pitcher. There's nothing you can do about it." Crawford has played at Triple-A level while contracted with the Minnesota Twins, one below the Major League, and is presently a free agent.
He has played with and against Dodgers catcher Drew Butera, and his LA teammate and outfielder Andre Ethier. He said he was confident team Australia could cause an upset, or even two, against the powerhouse MLB teams for the historic series.
"I'd say yes - our team motto is to execute everything to the best of our ability," Crawford said.
"We can beat Major League teams - I've been a part of Australia teams that have beaten Cuba, Japan and Chinese Taipei."