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Oct '11 18

Off Base: Do they have Championship Parades in the Netherlands?



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.


2 Comments

  1. Comment by michieldc
    October 18, 2011 | 9:56 pm

    It feels pretty good actually 😉 I have been following the Dutch players and team for about 20 years. By the time Robert Eenhoorn really started to get involved in Dutch baseball, things went better and better. The Dutch Baseball association has put the perfect people in the right places, and that is a quality in itself. Like always in “smaller” sports, your concern should be to secure early success. In the not so distant future, we have been Olympic champions in volleyball, because of a very successful, but very isolated project. Today, we don’t even qualiy for the World League. I think we are so lucky that many of the people that brought our baseball to its present level, were so in love with the sport that they did their hard work practically without being paid. With all the talent academies (many of our best players are coaching), the contacts with MLB and the efforts that Dutch players are willing to make for the national team (many of them have to ask permission from their employers to play a tournament) it looks like the position of Dutch baseball is pretty solid. The fantastic atmosphere at Dutch baseball tournaments like the World Port Tournament and Haarlem Honkbal Week shows the potential of the sports in the Netherlands. The down to earth attitude of the players and coach and their willingness to work hard are qualities that are admired in our country. It sure makes a nice change from the football stars that we know. The team has been on the front pages and on the news for three days in a row. We have hardly seen any officials on TV, in fact the only official we saw is Eenhoorn, a national baseball hero who played for the Yankees and was a successful head coach of “Orange” himself. And that’s the way we like it. There are about 50 Dutch/Antillian players playing for American Professional organizations. The Dutch Baseball Associaton keeps in contact with all their potential national team members. Thanks to Eenhoorn and his contacts we saw people like Bert Blyleven, Andruw Jones and Davey Johnson happy to help Dutch baseball. The Dutch Baseball Association’s main concern is to try and get as much positive off spin from this situation as possible. Three cities immediately requested to be the host for the tribute of the “orange” team. The Dutch baseball Association responded that any city that was interested could apply, so they can make the right choice publicity-wise. It is these small things that make me confident that Dutch baseball is on the right way.

  2. Comment by BigFan13
    October 19, 2011 | 10:26 am

    I just want to say that this is about the World Cup and not the Baseball Classic. This means that all the teams are missing their best players. The US and Canada filled there teams with triple and double A players with is no different then 2 years ago (on paper they should have even a better team this year). Only Japan struggled to put up a competitive team. This said, I wonder on what bases did you made your conclusions about teams advancing to the second round or not. If look back to the last 4 cups Italy never advanced to the final group. The Dutch reached twice a 4th place and one 6th place. The other European teams aren’t there jet but Germany is making big step forward. They showed us some good games and had the change to give us a couple of upsets if their defense didn’t fail.
    The Dutch becoming World Champion is a major step for European Baseball which hopefully gives a positive spin-off on active ball players on the continent. We need to increase the numbers to stay on top of this success! Hopefully MLB has noticed this success and will invest more money in European Baseball.

    Congratulations Dutch team on a job well done!

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