Saturday’s amazing upset by the Netherlands over the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic showed the world European baseball is not to be laughed at.
Even though they won by the narrowest of margins, 3-2, beating one of the very best nations in baseball was a remarkable achievement, especially considering that except for veteran pitcher Sidney Ponson, the Dutch team consisted of players from the American minor leagues (mostly A level) and the Dutch league. The team they defeated had major league players, some All-Stars and MVPs, at every position.
The Dutch may have scored all their runs in the first inning through a series of flukes and bloopers, but they held on to beat the mighty Dominicans. It was certainly no disgrace to be shut-out for three innings by Pedro Martinez.
Three years ago the Dutch upset Panama in the first World Baseball Classic. That was a surprise, but Panama is no where near the powerhouse that is the Dominican Republic. No matter what the Netherlands does in its game against Puerto Rico, its national team has established the quality of European baseball.