by Pim van Nes
No Netherlands national team in Haarlem during this European tournament, but still Haarlems Dagblad appeared to-day with an article about an emerging talent in his national team: 20 years young Nick Urbanus, originating from Amsterdam, baseball product of L&D Amsterdam Pirates, pro player for Texas Rangers on Single A level and during present tournament second base man in starting line-up of home team the Netherlands in Rotterdam.
“Every day I learn a little bit more about the game of baseball”.
Rotterdam – As youngest member of a famous baseball family, Nick Urbanus has to meet family standard requirements. His grandfather Han and his father Charles having been icoons in Netherlands baseball history, 20 years old Nick Urbanus is working his way up in professional baseball in the United States. In the promised land for every baseball player, Urbanus makes big steps forward in his development. ” Also in European and World Championship tournaments they play on high level, but in America baseball is very different from what I was used to” , Urbanus said on Neptunus field, homeground for Netherlands national team during European Championship tournament.
” The programs we have to operate in America are extremely heavy. Physically, I am getting stronger and that what I really need. Also I learn to understand our game day by day over there”. His father Charles recently stepped down from his manager’ s job with L&D Amsterdam Pirates (also to have more time available to spend with Nick in the States, PvN). Nick was scouted two years ago by Texas Rangers, a club from Major League Baseball. After he had completed his study at Johan Cruyff College, Nick left for the USA last year. ” I had to learn to live just by myself, without any relatives and friends around. Sometimes that was quite difficult, but I learnt from it. I became more independant and I do solve problems by myself now. That is how you grow up.”
Last year October, Urbanus was flying in an airplane from Arizona to Amsterdam, when the Netherlands clinched World Championship title in Panama. ” When I had arrived at the airport and was waiting for my luggage, I discovered my mother jumping up and down behind the windows. Then I understood that our national team had become world champion. I did not make part of the team, but it was a fantastic moment for me as a Dutch baseball player”.
Last Sunday the young international player turned out to be one of the few highlights in the Orange squad during the surprise defeat 2-3 versus Czech Republic. Thanks to some powerful hits he reached base several times. ” But just when we needed to go ahead, we stayed behind in the innings”, Urbanus regretted. ” I had the feeling that we wanted to show even more than we did in the first two games, but may be just because of that we failed” . The second base man batted in the tying run at two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, but in the extra inning the Czechs were the luckier team. ” That hurt quite much” , Urbanus said, ” but we will come back stronger!”
After present World Championship tournament, young Urbanus will go back to the States in order to proceed his baseball career. No stress over there because of his famous family name in Dutch baseball. ” No way, nobody there knows who I am!” And with a big smile: “ Urbanus, they rather find it a strange family name!”
Pim van Nes: Thanks to 5 hits in 7 at bats, including a double and a triple, Nick Urbanus is leading hitter in his national team with an average of .714.