donderdag 23 september 2010


There had to come a time where I'd discover the fun and collectabillity of bobbleheads. It's no use to elaborate about these happy nodders because there is a guy who can do that way better than I. He actually is the same guy who got me blogging (yes, Dodger Bobble, it's you!). So I won't go into detail! But I'd like to talk a bit about the few I've got and why they're fun.
Although we Dutch people have a heart for sports (mostly soccer) there haven't been any bobbleheads in my country that I know of. Sure we had 'poppetjes' that where given out by a supermarket during the World or European Championships, I'm not sure which one. They are smaller than bobbleheads and they have no moving parts and they almost never look like the player they're portraying. This doen't mean there are no bobbleheads of Dutch soccer players. Ruud van Nistelrooy has one but that's because Manchester United had them made (and that's England, not the Netherlands). The only nodders we've got are the lame dogs and yes, people still put them in their cars over here.
Anyway, I got my first nodder in 2007 at a Cubs game (yes against the Dodgers and yes at the same game I got to meet The Bulldog). It was Derrek Lee. I was peasantly surprised by the detail for a free givaway.
A few years later I (actually, this year) I was looking for a way to brighten up my workspace. Dodger Bobble blogged about his collection and got me thinking. I would love some of our boy in blue happily nodding away while I worked. So I bought me some of the guys through Ebay and yes, it's a happy place over here at work.

Van Blogger-foto's

The only thing that annoys the hell outta me is the way Torre looks at me and I swear, he sometimes shakes his head instead of nodding, like he's disapproving and is about to trade me or kick me back to the minors.
Funny how the chinese sculptors got the 'B' on Casey Blake's bobblehead inverted. But most of the nodders look like the real life player. Weird to have Broxton and Kemp here while they're not really that great anymore (understatement intended!). But they remind me of the good times and hopefully will shorten the deep winter of offseason.
Although Kemp didn't have a great season and probably will be gone in 2011 I think it's the best sculpted one. It's very original in pose. All these guys have facial hair of some kind, except the coaches and Saito... weird!
Once you have a buch of these happy guys you go and search for more and to my surprise you can get a bobblehead of yourself made. I dont't think it's my spitting image, but he makes me laugh anyway (although he's not as funny as the real me) :)

Van Blogger-foto's

zondag 19 september 2010

Dutch Baseball Competition

Last saturday Neptunus won the Holland Series to become Dutch champions. A nice occasion to tell something about the Dutch Baseball competition. Yeah, we've got one!


The driving force in the early days of Dutch baseball was J.C.G. Grasé of Amsterdam. After discovering baseball while on vacation in the United States, he introduced the game in the Netherlands in 1911. An English teacher by profession, Grasé was able to translate the rules of the game into the Dutch Language. The first official games were played in 1911 and on 12 March 1912, Grasé founded the Dutch Baseball Union. Grasé was also the founder of the oldest baseball club in Europe, Quick Amsterdam (founded 1 March 1913). The first official competition was played in 1922. Quick Amsterdam became the first Dutch champion. During the early years, baseball was only played in Amsterdam, and quickly spread to Haarlem as well. After WWII, the Americans helped Europe rebuild with the Marshall Plan. They also sent baseball materials to the Netherlands including uniforms, bats, balls, etc. The post-war help of the Americans helped the Dutch earn their first European title in 1956 in Rome, Italy. Amsterdam and Haarlem dominated Dutch baseball until 1963. But in 1963, Sparta from Rotterdam became Dutch champion. From 1963 to 1974, Sparta clinched nine national titles, a record not exceeded until 1985 by the Haarlem Nicols. In 1981, Neptunus Rotterdam won the pennant for the first time since the baseball team's foundation in 1942. Neptunus began to dominate the championship during the 1990s and 2000s, winning eleven pennants in total including seven consecutively between 1999 and 2005.

Dutch 'Major League'

Baseball in The Netherlands is strictly an amateur sport. The Dutch 'Major League' has only eight teams. The regular season is 42 games long and begins in April and ends in October. Most games are played on saturdays and sundays and some on thursday evenings. The best four qualify for the play offs (best of 5). The winners go to the Holland Series (best of 5). Since 2005 there's also a promotion/degradation series to give teams from the 'Minor League' a chance in The Show. This season, 2010, the Major League consists of:

ADO, Den Haag
Almere Magpies, Almere
Amsterdam Pirates, Amsterdam
Corendon Kinheim, Haarlem
DOOR Neptunus, Rotterdam
Konica Minolta Pioniers, Hoofddorp
Mr. Cocker HCAW, Bussum
Sparta/Feyenoord, Rotterdam

Van Blogger-foto's

All Star Game

July 4th 2010 was the date of the first Dutch All Star Game. Took us some years to get it organised (77 years after the US played the first All Star Game). The four Southern teams (Neptunus, Sparta/Feyenoord, ADO, Pioniers) played the four Northern teams (Magpies, Pirates, Kinheim, HCAW). The Southern team was coached by the coach of a Northern team and, you guessed it, the Northern team was coached by a 'Southern' coach. South won 7-4. This result does not determine home field advantage for the Holland Series.

Van Blogger-foto's

Neptunus Rotterdam

Neptunus or 'Neptune' (hence the trident logo) is one of the teams in my hometown Rotterdam. The other, Sparta/Feyenoord, plays in 'Rotterdam South' below the river Maas. Neptunus is the better team. Best team in Rotterdam and arguably the best team of The Netherlands (won Holland Series in 1981, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009 & 2010) and even Europe (won EC for champions in 1994, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2004). When I go to baseball, I go to Neptunus. Their stadium is the biggest in the country and has... 2500 seats. ;)

donderdag 16 september 2010

Zach Lee: Rookie of the Year

I just got me a Zach Lee baseball Card. Just for the hell of it. How cool would it be if he'd become a rookie of the year? I love the buzz around the draft. And Zach's buzz was big! It was a brave gamble the Dodgers took with picking him. No one thought he would actually sign. But then... He did! And then I starter to think about the rookie of the year thing.
Van Blogger-foto's

The Dodgers organization has always had a nose for young talent. They delivered the first every rookie of the year in 1947, Jackie Robinson. Talk about your rookie of the century! And after that first one they did it another 15 times (!) a record! The Yankees only had 8 RoY's. On the other hand I think the Dodgers would happily trade some rookies for a few more world series titles.
Are RoY's and good in the long run? The title isn't a guarantee for a Hall of Famer. Some numbers:
Of the 16 Dodgers RoY's 8 of them have won a World Series (with the Dodgers or another team). Twelve of them have been part of an All Star selection, 6 of them four times or more (with an astonishing 12 times for Piazza).
Anyway, Colletti has plans to clean up the roster, I hope he means that in a good way. I think it's not bad if the organization takes a year or so to build on young guns, as long as we, the fans, see they're working on something. We don't NEED to win the World Series next year, but in the near future would be nice. And hopefully Lee can become that Rookie and notch a World Series MVP title to his career highlights. So, as always: Go Blue!

maandag 13 september 2010

Scout's honor!

When you travel to Curacao for a vacation you're bound to encounter baseball related stuff. As I wrote a few weeks back, a bunch of good players in the Show come from this small island with no more than 150.000 inhabitants. So I wasn't surprised to see a big banner in our hotel welcoming Sandy Alston to the island. Didn't know the guy, but it was clear he was someone of importance within the MLB. I checked him out and he turned out to be... He was on Curacao for a clinic.
Van Blogger-foto's

One of my days there, I decided I would wear my Dodgers cap to breakfast. When I entered the breakfast room five guys were around a table. Broad shouldered men and they wore... Baseball jerseys. One of them wore a Red Sox one, another a Rockies one. There was a Padres guy and two fellas wore Dodgers jerseys. one of them noticed my cap and smiled. We shook hands and exchanged knowing looks. 'There's always next year', I said. He smiled and nodded his head. 'Not gonna happen for you as well', I said to the Red Sox wearing guy. The Padres guy asked me who would win the NL West, Giants or Padres. I told him I didn't like either team, but I tought the Padres would win it. That satisfied him. I wished them well.
The next day the two Dodgers guys were sitting outside and one of them called me. He said he'd seen me at the stadium. Or that's what I think he meant. I had been so sure the day before they all spoke english. But these men didn't. Yeah, a few words, but mostly spanish. And my spanish is non existing. So we talked a bit. Hands and feet. They were from the Dominican Republic. One of them was an infield coach, the other a scout. The latter one told me he signed Troncoso, a few years back.
Van Blogger-foto's

So many questions popped up in my head. What did they think of the McCourts? Should Torre stay on? What about the lineup? Starting pitchers? But the language barrier was too big. We threw names at each other. I did my 'Dutch players in the MLB' bit and the scout tried to come up with a few as well. I told him I like Manny. He smiled, he should, Manny's from his home country.
After fifteen minutes we were empty. I'd have to follow a course in spanish before this conversation could continue. I said goodbye and told them to hunt down some prospects.
Half an hour before I had to take the shuttle to the airport for my flight back home, the scout came walking up to me. He said something which I understood as 'I was looking for you, take this'.
The Dodgers organization may be rotten, or maybe not. Could be it's just McCourt. Who can tell? This Dominican scout however, whom I'd never met and only partialy understood, gave me a present. I was stunned. I decided last week to get rid of my belly and get my muscles a bit more toned, so I joined a gym. I now can work out in my very own Dodgers shorts! To quote the scout when I thanked him for the gift: 'viva los Doyers!'