On the ol' gray matter

The last couple of days have rolled by, as slow as they possibly can. Just thinking about how we did this past weekend, what could have improved, what we did well... then realizing, there's no point in analizing anything other than my own perfomance. I can only control what I do on the field, and trust the rest of the team will do what they can.

Some negotiations with other teams in other leagues are starting to pop up here and there, and I'm finding myself in the middle of it. Which isn't so bad, but I'm finding out new information here and there about teams and people that I am glad to know, but realizing they may impede on the idea we were starting to derive for next season. I don't want to mention teams, names or euro amounts as I don't think that would be very professional of myself.

In the next few weeks before we take off, Shorty and I are going to be making some pretty big decisions, regarding next season for us, but we'll be starting by dealing with the next few months first.

Our plans are taking us back to Tulsa (not sure when yet, going to try and move our flight up a couple weeks from oct. 24), then we will post up there and get some stuff done for a couple weeks. After that the semi-x-country drive starts. We finally get to take Sunny (our 08' civic hybrid) for a road trip, and are heading to Vancouver for the winter. I'm looking forward to making in back to north america, and of course am looking forward to being with Jeana while she's with her family, but I can't wait to see my family and friends also.

We are heading to the gym shortly, and will do so practically every day until we go somewhere, or are heading home.
Sorry, no comedy in this post, just telling you what's on my mind...


updownupdownupdown.... down...

Today was a rollercoaster, but both games went sour for us this weekend, knocking us out of the playoffs. Yesterday's game was close for 4-5 innings, and then we gave them 11 runs, and only had 3 hits ourselves. Today we pitched well, hit... more, and played a hell of a game defensively, but still wound up on the short end of a 3-2 decision.

This marks an early end to our season, it has shocked me already a couple of times since the game finished... this baseball season is over. For the past 2 seasons I've been playing ball in international tournaments up until the end of november, but this season my arm can rest for 2 extra months (which it won't).

This season was a unique one for myself, even though I'd say this year wasn't as good as last one, I can still say I had a good year. There were definetely highs and lows this season, high's being the no-hitter vs. Amsterdam in June, the combined no-hitter in Korea, and obviously participating the in the Beijing Olympic games. Some lows would be our level of play at the olympics, some of my sub-par post olympic outings, and not winning the championship (even though it hasn't even happened yet).

Overall, a solid year with good numbers, an olympic win, a marriage to my best friend, living in europe for free with my wife, Olympics, and tons more... you just have to read back a few months and blogs if you want to get more of a painted picture of my season.


Feyenoord, true european voetbal (soccer)

Last night I had the opportunity to finally see my first european headclass soccer game. It was amazing. A lot less crowded than I had imagined it may be, but none the less it was quite an experience.

I would say there were about 15,000 people in a stadium that could easily house 2 times as many people. Meaning, it wasn't nearly as loud and shaky as some playoff game would have been. Either way Roo (check previous post) and I enjoyed it. It was supposed to be a dominating game for the home club Feyenoord over some smaller team called TOP Oss, it wasn't, they went into extra time 0-0. Then Feyenoord exploded for 3 goals in the next 30 mins to win 3-0, in overtime.

Not sure if many people know, but I have roots with the Feyenoord soccer club through my mother's background. An article featured me in a 2 page spread in the pitch (field) of Feyenoord. It was published in one of the main dutch newpapers last year because of my unique story playing for Netherlands, and having my grandfather and great-grandfather who they are in the Feyenoord family. Leen Vanzandvliet, my great grandfather, was the originator of the architechture of the Kuip (The Cup (stadium)), he took the idea for Yankee stadium and innovated it into a soccer stadium. Leo Vanzandvliet, my mother's father, was the president of the club for during 2 long terms, making all the big decisions, and finally retired around 1983. They both have statues in the stadium, and even the main road leading into the stadium is called Vanzandvliet straat (street) after my family.

There's your history lesson for the day. Now some pics...


Night out with a huge Aussie

2 sunday's ago (9 days) was the last game on our league schedule. We had the upstairs bar at the field opened up by the boss (the guy who ays the bills) and we allowed the whole team up there to drink for free for a couple hours. With a large bar, tons of beer, wisky and cola we were set for a little. Most of us stayed there for about an hour then headed out. Jeana and I had some dinner at the house, then made out way our to our watering hole, Breakaway Cafe. They offer a huge place, some food (burger's, Nacho's, cheese sticks (the basic healthy bar food)), 6 pool tables upstairs (that's what sells us every time) and a staff we have gotten to know quite well.

We met up with Roo (Dushan Ruzic) our 6'8", 270 pound Australian closer to play some pool and just chill some. He's a good guy, bit of eccentric personality but overall a good guy. Good enough that I am taking this guy to a Dutch headclass voetbal match tonight (soccer game). I received 2 tickets to a Feyenoord soccer game for tonight from my catcher and former Olympic roommate Tiny (go back to august posts to learn more about this fella). For his birthday gift I had Jeana bring 12 cans of dip (chew tobacco) from the states. So he deccided to get back to me for my birthday with 2 tickets to a Feyenoord game since I told him about how I hadn't seen one yet, despite all my family history with this team and this stadium. Since Jeana is not a huge fan of soccer or being in that environment for a prolonged time I'm going to have a guys night. Going to drink a couple beers, and heckle some soccer players tonight.

Here's some pics from that sunday night a couple weeks back...

Jeana and Me in the upstairs bar at the field. Apparently I have British teeth since I'm living in europe...

Jeana some of my coaches wives enjoying themselves, probably talking about Jeana's hair. This was the first time in a couple month's (since she got a haircut) that Jeana straightened her hair, so almost everyone asked her about it it she got it cut, it was funny

Few of the guys. L -> R Andy Leer (outfield), Roo (squatting pitcher), Adonis Kemp (first base/ourfield coach), Fox (3rd basecoach/ BP machine), yours truly

Jeana and I outside about to catch a bus or something that same night

At Breakaway, this is Tyrone, a real nice barkeep that always gives us free stuff, and is cool as sh*t to chat with. Did I mention this guy KNOWS how to make a Jaggerbomb.

Roo Jeana and Roo's upsidedown pay check for the month I guess..

This was outside a place called Coconuts, a hip hop/ R&B club, we never went in but enjoyed the place from the ouside, including Jeana getting artsy with the camera and us being jack-asses and posing like this

Me and my beautiful wife


Finally Bday pictures...

I know I know... I know, I know, I know...... I know.

It's almost been a month since we took pics on my saturday night birthday out, and I'm finally posting a couple, deal with it, I'm a semi-busy guy.

My cousins Jessica and Daniel hanging out with us on my bithday. They live about 20 minutes away, and have become somewhat of baseball fans in the past couple seasons.

Kevin and Deborah (one of Neptunus' starting pitchers). Along for a couple drinks and a good time.

Jeana and me trying to dance some, but failing since we didn't know the songs... dutch.

Okay so stop #3 on our night took us here, an Irish pub... we walk in, it's packed, get some drinks and head to the live music. They start of with some classic covers, at an Irish pub you'll expect this and we were liking it, but I wasn't expecting to hear all the Dutch music they started playing after. It caught me off guard, and there's no way I'm going to dance to music I don't understand, and has crappy melodies...Normally Irish pub = English tunes! right??

Cousin's again, enjoying the evening, haven't seen them since, must not have had a good time that night ;-) Just kidding guys

My wife sipping in a margarita, one of her favorites for sure

Jurrjen Van Zijl (another Neptunus pitcher) and his date for the night. It's okay though, he's not far off having another girlfriend, he just needs to show off his dance moves more to girls and they'll melt


Big weekends

Just had a big one, and coming up to another.

Up 2-1 in a best of 5 starting this weekend, and we have a big weekend coming up to move to the finals potentially.

More soon...


Playoff game 1 pics

These are pictures taken by a local professional photographer who comes to a lot of our games, he does some amazing work. This is a link to his website, where you can only view and/or purchase pictures. You can click on 1 and go through the slideshow. There's about 35 pics...

Check it out at:


Playoff game 1

We won. We hit the shit out of the ball, and ended up winning in 7 innings by the merci rule over the Amsterdam Pirates 11-1.

I pitched today, it was my time, I went all 7 innings 102 pitches, and did well enough to keep them to 1 run in the game. 4 k's, 5 hits, 3 hbp, and 2 walks...

Arm felt good, threw fairly well, a lot of balls in the middle of the plate, but my defence picked me up all day, with 0 errors... lots of ground balls, and that seemed to work out for me quite well.

If we win saturday and sunday we will be heading to the finals which is sweet... but means we will probably have a weekend off before the finals. If we lose either game this weekend, I will be going most likely next saturday at their place in a must win game. I am looking forward to that, but hopefully it won't get to that.

Offence picked it up today, and hit the shit out of the ball for me today, which was clutch. Even though I didn't have great stuff, we still did well enough to take this game.

Those guys were all about heckling today, which I don't mind, since I am a big fan of getting into you're opponents head. It didn't work for them... specially a couple of their guys who I know the best!! Love it.

Anyways, tomorrow looks like a gym visit, a delicious dinner then a game of squash with some teammates.


My greatest catch ever

Last night it happened. After about 2000 practices and over 1200 lifetime game it finally happened.

I made the best catch of my life.

I knew it was coming, I've had a couple pretty good ones in my life, but last night topped them all.

When I say catch, that means any kind of reception of a ball, be it in the oufield robbing a homerun, making a daving play in while playing catch at practice, some kind of way of catching it extraordinarily.

How it happened:
I had just finished up my running for the practice, and most pitchers do their running and head in, but we can also help with shagging (catching the balls and throwing them in for batting practice). I usually do the latter, I don't mind helping out the hitters and catching some.
I went ahead and starting shagging in left field, and lined up next to Mike Bazuin (rookie 3rd baseman) and I just was joking around with him about robbing a homerun, but knowing almost that this would certainly never happen.
Derrick Francisca (outfield) was hitting and took 2 big hacks lining balls into the gap, then he hit one deep to left where we were and Mike caught it on the warning track. I told him the next is going out. It was, then I caught it... I couldn't believe my coordination and jumping ability right then. I've seen it done in highlight reels my whole life, the guy jumping halfway over a fence to rob a homerun. It's not easy though... the timing, the fence height, the trajectory of the ball (starting to sound like my dad).
Anyways, I got up and aver the 9 foot fence (2 1/2 meters for the Dutchies or Belgies reading this) and brought a homerun back.

That was last nights practice. Did I mention the team was looking good, and that's good to see with the playoffs starting on thursday at home we are looking strong, and everyone it looking forward to playing.


Adventures of a hell-of-a-sister...

This is my Sister. I recently recieved this and just felt it was a blogworthy picture showcasing my beautiful sister in a part of the beautiful Canadian Rocky mountains a couple of weeks ago. She is on her 2and a half week adventure in Croatia. Her + turquois water + amazing sights + nice weather = 2 and a half crazy, picture taking, enjoying wine on a terrace at 1 pm weeks... Love you Nadine, hope you're enjoying it.

Stumping Sparta

I finally got them.

It took 3 tries, but I got'em. This was my 3rd start of the season at Sparta, the previous 2 turned into a no decision for me which we lost, and the other we were shutout 2-0.

Thursday was a very nice day, since looking at the forcast this morning it definetely looks like the last day of the year we get temps in the upper 20's, maybe even 20's altogether. It was so nice and humid that a massive line of thunderstorms had evolved in Begium somewhere, and was due to take us out around 7:30 pm. We saw it coming, the sky got black, fast, and then windy and then lightening strikes all over in the distance. But, it never hit us, it stayed off giving us a shot at a nice warm thursday evening ballgame.

We won, 8-1, offence came through big again today. They have been on fire since our last loss, scoring 61 runs in our past 6 games. My arm felt good and I went out and just went after their guys. Here's the line on me last night=
I ended up with 99 pitches in 7 innings, 8 K's, 0 BB, 0 HBP (first time I haven't hit or walked anyone in a game in quite some time) 1 ER, 5 hits (4 bleeding singles might I add), and I'm sure Jeana wants me to inform you I had 2 errors, yes I did. First one was a messed up pickoff, I threw it by Jeffrey the 1st baseman, but the guys didn't score so it was ok. The other was a broken bat jamshot and the ball came to me like a little bunt, I picked it up, lineup my body and threw... about 15 feet wide, the f-ing ball was soaked from the grass, and I threw him a 2 base error. Only my 3rd and 4th error in 26 games here, so I guess I was bound to mess up at some point. I sort of made up for it with a pickoff in the 4th.

Roo (aussie closer) cleaned up the last 2 innings.

We have clinched 2nd spot in the playoffs out of 4 teams, with a very outside chance of first (if the top team falls twice in 2 games this weekend), not going to happen though.

I should be getting game 1 of the playoffs, that start this thursday for round 1. Looking forward to it... I'll keep you updated.

Correction= I did hit a guy in the game, but it didn't count at a HBP because on the way up and in fastball, he swung all the way around and it hit him right in the middle of the chest. Umpires got together and got the rule right that we was out for singing and missing a 3rd strike. It was funny as anything to see, I've never had that happen to me before.


A couple beatings, A flood out, A sister in eastern Europe, and A big day

Today's game has been cancelled, for the 6th time. 6. Seriously, this same game has been moved to it's 7th start time. Serious. Tomorrow night, see if it'll happen.

The weekend was successful and engouraging. We won 8-0, and 12-0 over HCAW, one of the lower seeded teams in league play right now, but still, we are looking stronger and stronger getting close to the playoffs. Coming into our last week we sit in 2nd, and will likely end there unless somehow the top team faulters horribly for their standards.

I am slated to pitch thursday, which I can now write since everyone around here knows I am the thursday guy for Neptunus. Also, it was a no-no to write that during the Olympics since the starters were not being confirmed until 1 hour prior to gametimes.

On a random note, I would like to send some love out to my sister who has just started a 2 week quest for amazingness in beautiful Croatia. She's travelling solo, and is loving it I'm sure. Just want to wish her good luck on all her excursions, and enticing experiences to come in the next couple of weeks.

Time to go get some sushi in downtown Rotterdam to Celebrate Jeana and my 6 month anneversary. Our first semi-big milestone, only 100 more of these and we'll be golden :)



Look 2 blogs back and yeah... it was rained out tonight again... let's try monday.

Something doesn't want us to play these guys, we'll see how it is tomorrow.

Back on track

I pitched last night and we won by mercy rule 11-1 over the last place team ADO. It went a whole lot better than it did in last thursday's game. I threw a complete game (7 innings) and needed 79 pitches, 5 k's, no walks and a hit by pitch. Overall it was a solid outing, we had great defence, tons of offence and help from the other teams defenders didn't hurt.

This was he first game in a string of 4 games in 4 days (unheard of in the Dutch pro league), and we play the 3rd to last place team HCAW, so we should take 3 from them, but you still have to play the game. In baseball I've learned anything can happen on any given day. One of my coaches right now never hesitates to remind me of a baseball quote 'the ball is round' - Foxy.

Some shots of me in action from last nights road game...


The peskiest game ever

The game that was just rained out for tonight is just an annoying game. It's one we should win, playing the 3rd to last place team, but tonight marks the 4th time this game has been rained out.

It was originally scheduled for the 17 of july, that fell through due to rain, then, it was moved to that next tuesday before the departure of the Olympic team.
I started that one (which was delayed an hour, then we played 1 inning before being delayed another 1:30), and it was called after being at the field a rediculous amount of time for 1 inning.

So they moved it to last night, again... rain. Tonight, we were more fortunate than last, it rained hard this afternoon drowning the field and calling the game off before anyone even left their houses (well most people, sorry Bengi, Tiny, and Barry).

It's now on for friday, I don't know the forcast, but I'm going to go ahead and expect rain.


The last few days

After Thursdays’ events we (Jeana and I) went into Friday with a new outlook.

Friday night we attended the Rotterdam Topsports’ gala. It was a bit of a celebration for the Olympic athletes that reside in Rotterdam. There were only 16 present, but more live in the area. It was well run, and we even received a free night at a fancy Rotterdam hotel with a dinner included. At the end of the night, we exited to a bunch of orange flowers, and q large frame with a photo of me pitching in the Olympics. It was a nice night, and took some fond memories home of it.

Saturday we had our 2nd game since we've retuned. We had to travel to Haarlem to play the league leading Haarlem team, and lost 2-0. Diego Markwell pitched for us; he's a former double A Blue Jays pitcher. Anyways, we we're dead on offence, but we made up more than enough for that the next day. Saturday was also my 25th birthday, and it was a good one (other than the loss) and we celebrated by having a nice dinner out with a few friends and cousins and moved onto a couple places for some more drinks and music. We had a great time, except for an Irish pub playing Dutch music... booo.

Sunday we had a home game against the same 1st place ballclub, and we destroyed them beat them by the mercy rules in 8 innings 14-4. Our offence woke up, and welcomed out new cleanup hitter Sharnol Adriana to the lineup who went 1/3 with a double a 2 hit by pitches. Sharnol (37) is the veteran 3-hole hitter on the national team, and plays most of the season in the Mexican professional league. He hits the crap out of the ball. It's good to have him on board moving into the last stretch of the season and into the playoffs. In the evening we had some pizza, and then we finally went to see Batman the dark knight. Jeana had already seen it, but since I was in China for a month, I haven't had a chance to check it out yet. It was pretty awesome. Jeana and Leon = 2 thumbs up.

Today we woke up around 11, and had a nice oatmeal breakfast with a home-blended fruit drink and are now sitting here next to each other, me blogging, and her reading her current book "Memnoch the Devil" the 5th book in The Vampire Chronicles, The series including "Interview with the Vampire".
Today also marks our return to the gym, and Hans the trainer, that'll be... painful, but necessary. He's going to kick my ass today, but the truth is, I'm looking forward to sweating ass right off. After we return from the gym in the late afternoon/early evening we'll shower and get freshened up in time to get some shopping done at the AH for dinner and the next couple of days. Tonight we are going to sit down, and get behind the TV and watch back-back-back... episode of one of our favorite shows, Heroes, season 2. We got into it last year, but just the first season. So we're going to be nerds and do that.

Tomorrow we play a makeup game vs. HCAW at home. A little gym action in the afternoon, and just enjoying life in Holland with Jeana...