It was a dream come true.
In 2012, the Texas Rangers selected Gonzaga outfielder Royce Bolinger in the 6th round. That was great news for the Scottsdale, Arizona native because his professional baseball career would begin right down the road at Avista Stadium.
"It is pretty cool," Bolinger said in 2012 before the season. "People are getting on me a little bit for being a hometown boy and stuff like that, but I'm excited and happy about it. To have the opportunity to take that journey is awesome."
When it comes to journey's, we can never dictate the path. The only thing we can do is take the road that's presented in front of us and hopefully reach our desirable destination as quickly as possible.
Bolinger had early success in Spokane, but thanks to an injury and just the grind of minor league baseball, hitting was not panning out. It is why his journey has him back to where it all started in the lovely Lilac City.
Not as a batter, though.
The man who owns the longest hitting streak in Spokane's Northwest League career at 23 games is ready to take the mound and reinvent himself as a pitcher.
Bolinger has only thrown in a handful of minor league games, but that was enough for the organization to see potential in his arm.
The 27-year-old doesn't see this as taking a step back, but actually taking a step forward. He thinks this is now the best route to the major leagues, even if it is eerie putting on the Indians uniform again.
"I'm definitely still familiar with the area. Coming back and playing with the Indians is different, but I'm excited for it," Bolinger said less than a week before Opening Night. It's a tough league. I'm just trying to get my body in shape. My first year pitching is a little different than being a position player so I've just been trying to take care of my body and my arm. I want to grow as a pitcher and learn as much as possible."
Bolinger speaks like an old soul in the sport, but I guess entering your seventh year in pro ball will do that to you.
While he figures out his way on the mound, he will be a wonderful asset to his teammates, especially since he thrived here six years ago. A lot of these players have never seen more than 15 fans behind the screens in rookie ball so he has some advice for the new guys coming in.
"The fan base is going to be behind them no matter what. The front office and the staff give us everything we need, which is pretty unique for a short-season ballclub. Cherish it. Take advantage of it because it's pretty special."
Bolinger telling rookies to embrace the dream, while he continues to chase for his at the same time.