Help me out if you can!! thanks!
L->R Pim (background), Me (beautiful double chin camera angle), Vince Rooi and Berry Van Driel taking in the ball game
This is Pedro Alvarez. I pitches against him 2 summers ago when he was playing for the USA national collegiate team. I threw 6 scoreless innings in my start giving up 2 hits... both to this guy. He was the 2nd pick overall in last years draft, and should make it to the big leagues this season, or next at the latest 2010, watch out for this guy
Here's a couple shots of tonights' pregame...
Bert Blyleven and me. Bert should be in the hall of fame (we actually talked about it to extent today) but hasn't been voted in yet. He's a great pitching coach and had taught me quite a bit in the week we've been here. He's 5th on the all time MLB strikeout list, has 60 career shutouts and is now the Minnesota Twins Colour commentator
Batting practice, heavy air last night = just a couple dingers compared to a lot of dingers
All the 16 countries participating in the World Baseball Classic had to input their rosters yesterday, and they were released to the public today here on MLB.com. Our roster is solid. We have 13 pitchers, 2 catchers (Sharlon Schoop is a short stop), 8 infielders, and 5 outfielders.
Our starting lineup should be strong enough to knock in a few runs a game, so I believe if our pitching staff can hold the ridiculously hard hitting teams we're playing to around 2-4 runs, we have a chance, yes a chance to upset and move on in this tourney... Oh, that would be Amazing!! Cheer your arses off, and keep your fingers crossed we play some awesome baseball (honkbal for all your dutchies)!
Here's a link to the dutch baseball federations' website, if you can read dutch (or you can easily copy and paste at google translate here) check it out. Our press officer Loet is the writer of these updates, and if you can read dutch or fell like spending a solid 10 minutes copy and pasting definitely hit up this site to follow our trip from another persons eyes.
Here's Sydney making his first start down here and us facing USF...
Dirk Van't klooster, hit a single in this at bat I believe. A wiley 32 year old dutch team veteran who can still play with the best of them
Michiel Van Kampen, our closer.
Tom Stuifbergen, a up and coming Minnesota Twins prospect. Threw 2 scoreless innings in this one
We had our final roster made yesterday, our coaches had some very tough decisions to make... 6 of one - half a dozen of another - kind of decisions. They ended up trimming the team to 28, making 7 cuts yesterday, so our roster is now set and we are here in Pirate city practicing with 25 now, waiting for 3 40-man roster players to join us on march 1st. Those being RHP Rick VandenHurk (Marlins), SS Hainley Statia (Angels), OF Greg Halman (Mariners). In fairness to our staff and those who were cut I won't publish who was cut, and what the roster is looking like now until it's been officially published on the 24th or 25th. I may not post it on here either, but I will give a link whenever it is released to the press.
We now have to go to work. Today is another beautiful day here in Bradenton, and it's time to get ready for the Dominicans. Pitchers practice around 1, position players right afterwards. We are playing the University of South Florida tomorrow evening and Manatee CC the next night.
Hopefully the lousy, good for nothing connection figures itself out here in the next little bit so I can start sharing some pics with you soon. I'm popping more and more, and will try and get them on here asap.
Time to get out there, enjoy the sun and play some baseball...
Okay, enough celebrations, time to get ready to play some ball. But before that we do that I just want to share with you the new gear we are about to wear in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. First off, our hats have the same logo, but are a sweet version of the all black ones we currently have. I've heard our away Jersey's will be in all black, and I have a pic of our home jersey's on here. I've also added a couple T-shirts that we may get, but MLB.com is selling, and I thought looked pretty sweet so I threw'em up here
Check it out...
Some of the guys getting ready for 10 am training...
A couple national team veteran's, Percy Isenia and Dave Draijer, getting their gear together before practice in Manatee, Florida
Dirk Van't Klooster taking in some ping pong... He's played the most games in Netherlands national team history, over 200. And doesn't normally looks like this, strange pose by the veteran...
I saw them playing catch yesterday for the first time, and they are not bad actually. Their mechanics are a bit raw, and the taller, younger lefty throws harder, but they are both work in the making.
It's a good thing I didn't take any pictures today. I guess I can't complain since it's free, but our connection is absolutely the slowest thing ever! To download and then upload pictures onto the blog took a very very very very very long time yesterday, resulting in no captions for the photo's (most don't need captions luckily).
Today, my blog hits have begun to climax, nearly as they did during the Olympics, I'm guessing that's due to our team nearing the World Baseball Classic, and my hopeful participation in that tournament (yes, I am superstitious, and don't like to jinx things). Just to let you know, I will do my best to keep it updated, and give you some kind of upadate daily, an pictures as much and as many as possible.
Today, we woke up to the expectation of rain during the day at some point. The coaches found out it was supposed to hit around 2:30 pm. So instead of having the pitchers throw in the afternoon workouts to live batters, they moved that up into our morning practice. 7 of the 14 pitchers that are currently practicing with us threw about 30 pitches to our own batters today. It went well, despite us having to let the hitters know what exact pitches we were throwing, many of our guys were right around the plate. We went out for our afternoon workout, and exactly as predicted, it pored rain. So most of our afternoon batting practice and pitcher fielding practice was rained out.
The guys are enjoying their time here thus far, despite and uneasy feeling for many guys as they have to make final cuts on Sunday and send 7-9 guys home. I outlined how our roster should look (via players per position) a few posts back, and everyone is anxiously awaiting the Sunday cuts. While we are enjoying our time here, there are 2 pool tables, and a ping pong table that I haven't seen open since I've been here. By the way, we have a some amazing ping pong slayers on our team, I didn't even know, some of the guys are almost this good; The guy in blue is the best in the world.
That's about it for today, time to hit the hay, and do it all again tomorrow. Baseball is life, the rest (except family) is just details, right dad?
A couple of the rubber floor tiles have this printed on them.