Canadian Gold Show Game's Globalization
by John Manuel, Baseball America
The only way Tom Stuifbergen could relate the reception he and his teammates from the Netherlands received when they got home was to reference soccer.
"We just arrived in Holland," he emailed, a day after helping the Dutch national team win the 2011 World Cup, "and the airport was loaded with press and fans. It was crazy. We kind of felt like the Dutch soccer team who obviously gets the most attention in Holland. At first the media didn't really care about us beating (the) U.S.A. and Puerto Rico. But when we qualified for the Final apparently the whole country was going nuts. And that showed at the arrival in Holland, which was amazing! That was probably one of the coolest things that I've witnessed with the Dutch baseball team.
"I also hope because of this media attention that more kids are gonna play baseball in stead of soccer; that way we could become a bigger country in baseball overall."
The World Cup is not the biggest baseball stage in the world, and few fans in North America took note of the event that took place in the first two weeks of October in Panama. But thanks to Stuifbergen and other pitchers such as 36-year-old veteran Rob Cordemans, the Netherlands won its first major international tournament, beating Cuba 2-1 in the final and becoming the first European nation to win the World Cup.
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(From IBAF Website)