The 2014 Major League Baseball season will begin Sat., March 22, as the Arizona Diamondbacks "host" the Los Angeles Dodgers. Besides treating fans to an early a.m. (first pitch is slated for midnight Pacific Time), reprisal of a heated divisional matchup that escalated to exchanged bean balls and the infamous away team swimming pool celebration less than a year prior, the game also gives viewers an opportunity to see defending NL Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw and budding stars Paul Goldschmidt and Yasiel Puig more than a week before the rest of the league takes the diamond in a non-exhibition capacity.

Beyond kicking off the new campaign in exciting fashion with a series that holds untold NL West significance, the two-game opening set also has historical bearing based on where it will be taking place: Sydney.

The first game of the season will also be the first regular season Major League Baseball game ever played in Australia. While this will be the first time the big leagues will be down under, Australians have been in the MLB for decades, and the country-slash-continent's representation in the sport is only growing. Between its growing cast of major leaguers, increased viability on the international scene and its rapidly expanding domestic recognition, Australia is quickly becoming a bona fide baseball locale.

The Aussie introduction to professional baseball actually dates all the way back to the 19th century, when light-hitting middle infielder Joe Quinn played 17 seasons -- two in the role of player-manager -- with the St. Louis Maroons, Boston Beaneaters, Boston Reds, St. Louis Browns, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Spiders, Cincinnati Reds and Washington Senators between 1884 and 1901. However, it took another 85 years before the second Australian-born player made the journey from the outback to the outfield.

In the summer of 1986, as Paul Hogan's "Crocodile" Dundee was taking Hollywood by storm, another man from the land down under was also bringing Australia to Los Angeles' consciousness.

Craig Shipley, the pride of Parramatta, New South Wales, made his big league debut in June of '86.

Overshadowed by teammate and fellow import Fernando Valenzuela in a season that found El Toro amassing career highs in wins (21) and complete games (20), Shipley quietly became the first Australian in the modern major leagues.

The utility infielder spent a total of 11 unspectacular seasons between the Dodgers, Mets, Padres, Astros and Angels -- only playing more than 100 games once and topping out at 258 plate appearances in 1994.

Shipley's 20-home run, 138-RBI and .302-OBP career line didn't exactly earn the Aussie a place in the Hall of Fame, yet his longevity rendered the middling middle-infielder something of an ambassador for his home continent. By the time Shipley called it quits after the 1998 season, Australia had churned out five more MLB representatives -- four of them were still active, and two of them had played together.

On April 13, 1994, as the Milwaukee Brewers were in the process of losing one of the 62 games they would drop as part of the team's last place finish in the strike-shortened season, history was quietly made.

In the bottom of the ninth in a 3-3 tie with the Texas Rangers, Brewers right-handed reliever Jeff Bronkley was replaced by Geelong, Victoria, Australia native Graeme Lloyd, who was brought in for a favorable lefty-versus-lefty matchup against Rangers slugger Will Clark. Scantly more than 60 feet away, Brisbane-born backstop Dave Nilsson crouched, completing the first exclusively Australian battery in major league history.