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.
The Netherlands scored all its runs in the first inning off a balky Edinson Volquez (two of the three were unearned), while the Netherlands skated by behind a surprisingly efficient performance from Ponson. Then, when the Dominican Republic twice put the tying run on base in the eighth and ninth, Netherlands catcher Kenley Jansen (who has an absolute cannon) threw out attempted thieves both times, including an attempted steal of third by Wily Taveras in the ninth.
What does this mean for the Dominicans? If they’re going to do anything in this event, they have to beat both Puerto Rico and Panama. And Puerto Rico should have a pretty good shot at knocking them off. If Bernie Williams and Co. can come up big against the Dominicans, they could go a big way toward setting the stage for a deep run for themselves.
Are the Dutch going to make a run in this tournament? No way. In fact, it’d be stunning if they won another game. Still, beating the WBC favorite in the opening game of the Puerto Rico segment of the bracket is a pretty magical thing to hold on to, whether any more comes of it or not.