By Peter Laanen from San Francisco
Such a shame (yeah, I know it’s a song) that our national pride will not compete against the USA coming Monday. When I tuned in it was already Four Zip Puerto Rico. Situational hitting didn’t work in the 8th inning when the US Squad, with the bases loaded and one out, only managed to score one run.
Ultimately a loss (4-3) that brought Puerto Rico to the semifinals. Since Saturday we know that we’re playing the Dominican Republic. We’re stoked. Too bad the local press had more coverage on the injury of back up Giants catcher Hector Sanchez than America’s loss. MLB; there is work to do PR-wise! Friday night Consul General Bart van Bolhuis and I were honored to welcome our players, coaches, staff and family at San Francisco International. Because of a delay of over an hour (yawn), we could hand out the USA/NL pins to disappointed Americans as consolation prizes!
We would have loved to hand out the pins out under different circumstances. It was a chilly night at SFO but to our utmost joy, the plane landed 2.31 AM; that’s late folks, or early if you are optimists, like Bart and yours truly. When the door opened the first ones to leave the plane were the Mulders!
Frits and I go way back, and I know him as national and international Softball Umpire, Chairman of the famous Haarlem Baseball Week, and now representing the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Federation, being responsible for all baseball affairs. Another highlight, of course, was when manager Hensley Meulens introduced players and officials to us, not forgetting family members. What a gentleman! And I guess, everybody was still pretty “up” after beating Major League’s Seattle Mariners with a score of 8 – 1. Another moment of pride was when I could give a big hug to Technical Director Robert Eenhoorn, this tournament also functioning as bench coach, knowing him since he joined the national ranks at age 19 in 1987, when we qualified for the Olympics in Seoul, Korea. What a great picture those three big guys made!
Bart van Bolhuis shares some latest technical tricks with Hensley (“really?”) while Robert looks straight at me; “hurry up, I am sleepy”. We are looking so much forwarding playing the Dominican Republic (we beat them previously) that we hardly can sleep. But, first the reception this afternoon with the team, officials and family at the Residence. For us this is a never ending party till Wednesday!
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