Could Twenty20's David Warner make it big in Baseball?
PLENTY of debate has raged this week on whether cricketers can make good baseballers, and vice versa.
You only have to look at Australian Twenty20 star David Warner for proof he could make it as an "offensive player" at the baseball plate, with plenty speculating recently he could do just that.
Take your pick at who could set cricket alight in the field from the visiting LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks teams.
Both ball clubs will square off in the historic Major League Opening Series, starting at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday night.
Imagine the energy of Dodgers livewire outfielder Yasiel Puig chasing down a Warner or Aaron Finch slog sweep and diving to make a catch at full stretch?
Puig, at an imposing 190.5cm and 107kg, has already drawn comparisons to baseball legends Bo Jackson and Roberto Clemente after his debut season last year, due to his athletic fielding and dynamic hitting.
But former Australian talent scout and Diamondbacks assistant general manager Craig Shipley is not dreaming too much about the possibilities.
And Shipley would know.
He was the first Australian to make it in the modern Major League competition, going on to play for the Dodgers, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros and Anaheim Angels between 1986 and 1998.
"It's not as easy as some people think," he told APN.
Two of Australia's greatest Test batsmen, Allan Border and Ian Chappell, played baseball at a high level, with catcher Chappell earning All Australian selection in the 1960s.
But they played both sports from a young age.
"If an elite athlete with very good hand and eye coordination grew up playing both sports from when they were a young age, then it could be possible," Shipley said.
"But hearing about guys who are 25 that could make the switch would be very hard."
A famous story was re-visited this week about a famous exchange between respective baseball and cricket gods, Babe Ruth and Don Bradman.
The two legends made headlines just by sitting next to each other at a ball game in New York in 1932.
Three years later, Ruth faced a series of first-class bowlers at a special session in London.
Aussie Test allrounder Alan Fairfax later said it would only take The Babe just two weeks to become "one of the world's greatest batsmen".
"Babe was one of the best of all time, and so was Donald Bradman," Shipley said.
"Those two would be rare exceptions to the rule."
While Shipley was reserved in predicting a prominent cricketer or baseballer to make a successful switch soon, he did say the advent of Twenty20 cricket may speed up that process.
"I like T20 cricket - there are a lot of similarities in the batting swings of that game compared to batters in baseball," he said.
"We're starting to see more baseball fundamentals trickling in to Twenty20 cricket."