Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Netherlands -- take two
After their victory over the Dominicans, I caught Dutch baseball fever. Quickly, here is a bit more on Netherlands baseball. MLB.com had this pretty good story today. From what I can tell, baseball started in the Netherlands around 1911, brought to the country by a teacher (yes!) of English. The professional league, Hoofdklasse, dates its beginning at 1922. How ethnocentric are we that as avid baseball fans we did not know Netherlanders have been playing the game professionally since the 1920s?
What colossal arrogance to call our final series a WORLD Series!
The current Dutch team includes players from Aruba -- Simon and Ponson are two -- and players from Curacao. But, Dutch kids play the game, too. I read a story about a father who named his two boys -- Darryl and Dwight -- after famous Yankee players. Their mother said they had no option ("...with THEIR father..") but to choose baseball.
Soccer, of course, is still the game of choice in Holland. Most of the early professional baseball teams were formed as adjuncts to established soccer teams. As one coach put it, if you give a kid in Holland a softball, he'll drop it on the ground and try to kick it.
Look for Kenley Jansen in the major leagues someday. If he can't out-hit Buck, I'd be surprised. We KNOW he can out-throw him.
Photo: Courtesy NY Times