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Flying the Dutch flag

by Matt Smith

There’s a great article on MLB.com today all about Rick Vanden Hurk, the Dutch starting pitcher who made his Major League debut for the Marlins earlier this season. It charts his course to the Big Leagues, from his formative years watching the World Series at two in the morning (something we’re all familiar with), to the way he has fought through injuries to make his dreams come true. Most importantly, it is fantastic to read the impact his progress is having in Holland:

“In Holland, a night on TV doesn’t go by without a report. The newspapers follow him.”

There are lots of issues at the moment surrounding the European union, but we can cast all that political rubbish to one side in this case. Vanden Hurk is flying the flag for both his country and his continent and I’m sure most Brits will be supporting him all the way. Budding baseball players in Europe should take encouragement from Vanden Hurk’s achievement. Yes, it is very difficult to reach the Major Leagues, but it is not impossible.

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