Her parents and friends are telling Pamela Davis what she already has told herself: Stay relaxed and throw strikes. It's just another game.
It won't be tonight.When Davis takes the mound for the Double-A Jacksonville Suns, she will become the first woman to play for a major-league farm club.
"I'll be living a dream out there," she said Monday.
Playing professional baseball is what the 21-year-old envisioned when she was pitching a U.S. team to a 7-3 victory over Canada in the Junior League World Series in 1988, what she hoped for when she chose baseball over softball at Lake Mary High School near Orlando.
She thought her dream had come true when she earned a spot on the Colorado Silver Bullets' women's team this year.
She was wrong.
Under an agreement with the Southern League and the Silver Bullets, the right-hander with a fastball approaching 80 mph is to pitch middle relief when the Suns play an exhibition against the Australian Olympic team.
"It would be nice if she does well," said Arnold Fielkow, president of the Southern League. "But just her appearance in the game, quite honestly, is a very good beginning. It shows that a woman can get an opportunity. Hopefully, she'll showcase her talents."
Davis will be following other women who have tried to make it in a men's progessional league.
Ann Meyers tried out with the Indiana Pacers in 1979, but never played in an NBA game. Manon Rheaume played one period in goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning in an NHL preseason game in 1992.
A woman has never played for a sanctioned men's professional baseball team, something Davis has been reminded of since she was a teen-ager.
"This isn't just for me," she said "It's for all the little girls that are playing baseball now. If they see me getting a chance, they'll realize it's not impossible. Maybe I can help some girl that's 8 or 9 right now get to the major leagues someday."