By now you’ve probably noticed that the Netherlands upset the Dominican Republic in baseball. In fact, as Tuffy mentioned in the Speed Read directly below this post, they did it a second time with even more gumption and dramatics then they had in beating the D.R.’s All-Stars the first time around. This time, a 20-year-old minor league prospect from the Twins system named Tom Stuifbergen matched Ubaldo Jimenez and Pedro Martinez out for out. After finally giving up a run in extra innings — hard to fault them for allowing Jose Reyes to score from second on a clear base hit into the outfield — they responded with two. That, friends, is clutch.
(Tennessee, the Netherlands … maybe he just needs to keep wearing orange?)
So who, pray tell, is the man behind these wins? Well, his name is Rod Delmonico, and you’ve almost certainly never heard of him unless you’re really, really into college baseball. After a career that started in 1981, Delmonico was an assistant and head coach at Clemson, Florida State and Tennessee. But then, after a long collegiate career, Delmonico left the Volunteers in 2007 for an amorphous position with MLB that may have made him the perfect manager for the Netherlands, and just the type of man who could help a team put on a magical run in the World Baseball Classic.
Yup, it just happened. Baseball finally has its single game of incredible significance. In a stunning upset — and yes, we realize the World Baseball Classic has no ramifications whatsoever – the Netherlands beat the high-powered Dominican Republic, 3-2, on Saturday in Puerto Rico. Yes, the Dutch beat the Dominicans. In baseball. We’re not making this up. Make no mistake, this isn’t Giants beating Patriots, this is Appalachian State knocking off Michigan.
(They’re going for the gooooold.)
Wondering which high powered names are on that Netherlands roster? Sidney Ponson, Randall Simon and … well, that’s about it. Really. It should be noted that neither of those guys has a current team, either. Need a bigger indication of just how slanted the talent was between these two teams? In the eighth inning, the Domincan Republic pinch ran with Jose Reyes, a perennial All-Star shortstop. In the ninth, the Netherlands brought up its clean-up hitter … who spent 2008 in A and AA.