The Dodgers' Scott Van Slyke hits a two-run home run in the Major League Baseball opening game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket ground in Sydney, Saturday, March 22, 2014.
The Dodgers' Scott Van Slyke hits a two-run home run in the Major League Baseball opening game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket ground in Sydney, Saturday, March 22, 2014. AP Photo - Rick Rycroft

Baseball star Scott Van Slyke is no stranger to cricket

THE man who hit the first ever Major League home run in Australia, the LA Dodgers' Scott Van Slyke, has been described as "a different kind of guy where everything comes easy to him".

And quite fittingly, he's also quite clued up on his cricket knowledge.

Van Slyke crushed the memorable two-run homer off Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Wade Miley in the bottom of the fourth inning on Saturday night, sailing just inside the right-outfield foul pole.

That entered him into the SCG history books alongside cricket greats such as Don Bradman, Victor Trumper, Allan Border and Ricky Ponting.

"Scott is a different kind of guy, really. His dad played in the big leagues, everything's really easy for him," Dodgers coach Don Mattingly said.

"He's laid back and he's the kind of guy you can get a bad read on if you didn't pay attention and see his actions.

"He's really a pretty solid player - he just looks a little different. He's six foot six and kind of long.

"But he's a guy you've just got to pay attention to a little bit to see his game."

He's a man with an unorthodox technique too, with a leg kick incorporated into his swing.

"He's kind of a long and lean guy, so it takes him a long time to get it together with his timing," Mattingly said.

"He's got a little late kick and it takes a little bit of time to get his timing down."

Van Slyke had some modest Spring Training results, again fooling some people with his laidback approach.

"Spring Training is preparation time. Guys haven't played in a long time," Mattingly said.

"A lot of guys will fool you with good springs, a lot of guys will have a spring that's so-so, because they know it doesn't count."

Van Slyke described his transformation from a .219 Spring Training average to SCG conqueror in his simple, no-fuss fashion.

"I wouldn't say you flick a switch," he said.

"But when you realise that it counts and there are more people watching and you feel the adrenaline of the game, you kind of zero in and do what you do."

And as for his appreciation for playing, and succeeding at, one of the world's most famous cricket grounds?

Van Slyke had a unique way of describing that too, putting on an Australian accent when impersonating an old roommate and friend.

"I roomed with an Australian kid in Low-A one year and I vividly remember asking him to change over the cricket matches - his mum would send them to him on DVD," Van Slyke said.

"And he would say 'I'm trying to watch my cricket matches' (said in an Aussie accent).

"So I learnt how to watch cricket."


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