Week 2. Ok, here we go.
Well, first off I have to give a HUGE thank you to Vince Rooi. Rooi is the third basemen on the Netherlands team. I have been emailing him, and he looked at the blog. Vince also gave me some help for stuff this week. And who knows, you might even get to see an interview.
Also, my all-time favorite player on any team is Sidney de Jong. I have a lot of "favorites" but my absolute favorite is Sidney de Jong. (At least prior to this. I don't want to have any bias). Why is he my favorite? Well, I remember sitting in my basement, watching MLB Network, watching what turned out to be my favorite game ever. By the conclusion of the end of Round 1, the Netherlands were my favorite team. And in the 11th inning, the Dominicans got a run, breaking the 0-0 tie. It looked like the game was over. MLB closer Carlos Marmol was on the mound, and the Netherlands bats had been relatively quiet the whole game. But in stepped the Dutch secret weapon. Sidney de Jong. He led off with a double to right-center, he eventually scored and the Dutch won in the most dramatic international baseball game ever. Ever since, he's been my favorite. Of course, the fact that in almost every tournament later he'd bat third or fourth and be the producer for the Dutch. And I've been talking to him as well. This is a thrill for me, these are my absolute favorite players.
Now, if you notice, the best teams in international baseball aren't neccassarily the most "stacked." The team's that do the best are the teams who feel comfortable playing with one another, who have experience playing with each other. Think Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and most of all, Cuba. And the guys who you'd expect not to do well together usually don't. Jose Reyes and Hanley Raimrez on the same team? Well, who could forget there historic collapse in 2009, to (of course) The Netherlands. A Double play combo of Derek Jeter and Dustin Pedroia? And the US was a huge dissapointment. Well, there is somewhere I'm going with this. It isn't at all an "official" tournament, but four international teams have met in St.Petersburgh, Florida, for what Vince Rooi described as for "exhibition games and a lot of practice." The four teams are Netherlands, the Canada Junior Team (21 and Under), The Nexon Heroes of the Korea Baseball League (KBO), and the team from the St. Petersburgh University. They will also play against the Tamba Bay Rays and then travel to Clearwater to play (my) Phillies. I don't know to many scores yet, but I know that Netherlands lost their first game to the Nexon Heroes.
Now for some news I have to mention or I wouldn't be doing my job as an international baseball blogger:
This is a very Dutch entry. The 2011 World Port Tournament (the self-proclaimed "biggest baseball celebration in the Netherlands") has announced the teams and schedule. And, luckily, we will not have a repeat of the incredibly boring 2010 Haarlem Baseball Week (also in the Netherlands). The teams are:
The Netherlands (Host)
Chinese Taipei (9th Appearance)
Cuba (6th Appearance)
Curacao (3rd Appearence)
Germany (1st Appearance)
I am so glad they added some diversity among the teams. I personally love Germany, they are probably my second favorite team. (Don't quote me on that, if say Greece get's good, they can take the spot. But Netherlands has always, and forever will be first.) But I am a huge fan of Luwig Glaser (former Angel's prospect), and Dominik Wolf. Cuba will probably win, but never, EVER count the Dutch out.
That's about it. There is no huge Spring Training News, unfortunately.
***SPECIAL THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO I'VE TALKED TO ABOUT THIS, ESPECIALLY THE DUTCH PLAYERS***
See you next week, tell all your friends, special thanks to the IBAF. Next wee kI'm hoping to have an interview...