SYDNEY -- Ryan Rowland-Smith breathed a deep sigh of relief following Saturday night's first regular-season game.
The D-backs left-hander was born and raised in Australia, and he was as curious as anyone to see how his country would react to Major League Baseball.
"I was nervous about last night," he said Sunday morning in the D-backs clubhouse. "Just about how Australia would receive baseball. Just because I grew up loving the sport and I was like campaigning for it as a kid trying to get people to respect it, appreciate it and understand it. I think the relationship with baseball and Australians in general has strengthened a lot just because last night."
Rowland-Smith's family lives in Sydney, and as he walked out of the Sydney Cricket Ground following Arizona's 3-1 loss, he could hear the fans buzzing.
"I could just hear people, not talking about how packed the SCG was or how loud it was, but it was more talking about Clayton Kershaw throwing some nasty pitches, or the sound off the bat, or certain plays. Things like that," Rowland-Smith said. "That's when I realized they are paying attention and loved what they were seeing."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.