by Ty Eriksen
Mister-Baseball.com serves the whole European Community, so here is a question for those readers in the Netherlands:
How does it feel to be on top of the world?
Please share your feelings in the comments; we’d love to hear stories of all night celebrations and championship parades being planned.
I, for one, didn’t give the Netherlands enough credit at the start of the tournament. While they are routinely the best team on our continent, a look at their group was more than a bit deflating. Despite the US, Canada, and Japan missing their top players in the MLB system, there was still Taiwan and Panama to deal with. Would anyone have given a second look if the Orange finished seventh in the group?
Now we find ourselves in some uncharted territory. Never before has a European team won the Baseball World Cup (hand down, Great Britain. That doesn’t count.) In fact, they become the first champions from outside of the Americas since South Korea in 1982. Talk about raising the bar for baseball on our continent.
It must have been the rain giving them an advantage. A four-hour period of rain couldn’t throw them off their game before the final, and doubleheaders to fit in the games couldn’t mess with head coach Brian Farley’s rotation. Seven pitchers made starts for the champions. Its quite telling that the worst ERA was just 4.70, when Mr. Markwell held the US of A to four runs on eight hits in six innings. He still got the win, because his teammates put a pounding on the American pitching in the early innings. They’ll probably give him some good-natured teasing for that. Why aren’t all these guys in the minors, they just posted a team ERA 1.65 in 93 innings. Only three of them are in the US right now, so: agents, start making some calls to the other seven.
And it wasn’t a one-man-show on offense, either. Not a single Dutch player made the tournament All-Star Team. Pretty ridiculous, considering how they just whipped the whole freakin’ world. Curt Smith picked up the MVP award and also had the most RBI’s with 13. He only had 13 hits, how’s that for clutch conversion? I’m scratching my head to figure out how that even happens. Must have come up with runners in scoring position nearly every time.
Tom Stuifbergen grabbed the award for lowest ERA with most innings pitched. Zero is pretty low. They don’t give out negative ERA’s in baseball, so he’ll have to make due.
The team must have superstar status in Panama, too, since they played in front of crowds numbering over a thousand on seven occasions, including the championship. Some of the towns they played in have barely more than 20,000 people total. Now, the whole world knows who they are.
Word from colleagues on hand to witness: Netherlands can play some ball.