New Zealand's top domestic baseballers will have a chance to represent the Auckland Tuatara, with the country's newest professional sporting organisation to hand out two contracts at nationwide trials next month.
The trials, to be staged in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, will take place in the middle of September, with amateur baseballers, as well as cricketers, softballers and even javelin throwers and water polo players encouraged to make the Tuatara's roster ahead of their inaugural season.
Team manager Steve Mintz, currently working as a coach with the Texas Rangers, spoke of his excitement at getting to filter through some of the country's best and brightest amateur players.
"I can't wait to get to New Zealand and see the talent that is there," Mintz said.
"It is going to be fun going around the country and trying to find us some players to help the Tuatara in their first season."
Baseball New Zealand CEO Ryan Flynn also spoke of his excitement in finding players through the trials.
"I believe we'll see some up-and-coming talent, and our big announcement could be life-changing for a couple of our Kiwi baseball players: I'm going to sign the top two players who make it through a couple of rounds of cuts at our mid-September trials.
"We'll present Auckland Tuatara ABL contracts to the final two players standing, and we'll work them into our roster during the season.
"They will have a chance to control their own destiny, and perhaps even get signed by a Major League Baseball team in the US or a pro team in Japan if they play well," added Flynn.
"Dozens of players have been signed out of this league over the past seven years. It's time for Kiwis to have the same opportunity as they do across the region and the world. And it all begins on the 15th of September in Wellington."
The Tuatara will assemble as a team for the first time in November, ahead of their inaugural season.