By Peter Laanen from San Francisco
After word got out that #1 MLB prospect Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers, joined the ranks of the Dutch National baseball team, ticket sales even went up higher for Monday’s semi final.
As former President of the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Federation, I was lucky enough to celebrate a European Championship in 1987, Barcelona, Spain, and an honorable 5th place during the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. Then I was overly enthusiastic but kept (kind of) my cool as an official. This time I am a fan who also happens to be so lucky to live and work in the Bay Area.
On top of that, now I can be the cheerleader who brings in a huge number of the roughly 20,000 Dutchmen and women who are living in the Bay Area. Even unite the fans of the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s!
It is, of course, of utmost importance that the highest diplomatic person in the 13 Western States, Consul General Bart van Bolhuis, is part of the equation. And you can imagine how happy we were that he knighted present Manager Hensley Meulens on a beautiful
Friday the 13th (!) 2012 before a Giants game at AT&T Park:
Left to Right: daughter Michelle, wife Gyselle with daughter Mia, Peter Laanen with NL hat, Thomas Veerman, Hensley Meulens and Bart van Bolhuis. Photo: S.F. Giants
The reception of Hensley, Giants’ hitting coach, in the dugout was hilarious!
Foto: S.F. Giants
For me personally, it is almost like coming full circle. When we decided in 1997 to really go for youth in the national teams, Robert Eenhoorn, at age 19, playing for Neptunus, Rotterdam, became our full time shortstop. When I saw Technical Director Eenhoorn and Manager Hensley Meulens side by side assessing the Netherlands versus Cuba game, it was something like a dream came true!
And yes, it is good to hear the commentators on the radio saying: “The Netherland no more Cinderella story, they are for real”. “The magic of the Dutch continues”. The ultimate: “If the Dutch squad wins one more game, they will fly to San Francisco wearing orange and black; the S.F. Giants colors!” Well, eh, to be honest, we feel like those colors were ours already when we named New York, before the English changed it as such, New Amsterdam. Talking about circles….aren’t the Giants originally from New York, named New York Giants?! I rest my case.