So it has been a little while since I last posted a blog post, the reason for that was a combination of school, not much to post about and a lack of motivation. In this post I’ll just go over a few things that you all should know.
Recently I contacted this bat company from Finland called Mela Birch Bats and they were interested in expanding their business to more European countries. I got the bat and the next week I went to the StrikeZone batting cages. The StrikeZone is a new indoor batting cage facility in Leinden, near Amsterdam. There are 3 cages with nice pitching machines. There can also be placed pitching mounds and the pitching machines can be removed. There is also one cage that has the HitTrax system which shows you where the hit balls would go in all MLB stadiums. The Mela Birch Bat felt really nice and the balls literally flew of the bat when solid contact was made! So far I’m really impressed by the quality of this bat!
Next season I’ll be playing for the 17U team of Baseball Academy Kennemerland Rabbits. Our gym workouts have started two weeks ago and in January we’ll go indoors for the actual baseball practices. To get more inside looks on that, follow @rabbits_baseball_academy on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/rabbits_baseball_academy/)
I’ve also been helping out at the National Baseball And Softball clinic and at the Rabbits winterschool as an instructor. It’s a lot of fun to help the younger kids with their mechanics and what not!
Today, at 9:30 the warming up started in Amsterdam. We played on the field of L&D Amsterdam Pirates, my favorite team in the Dutch MLB. So that was pretty cool! We had all new teams compared to the last two editions. Our team included three Rabbits players, two Scimitars players, two Unicorns players, two Tsunami players, 0 Bixie players and 3 Diamonds players. Our coaches were former Dutch MLB player Marvin Bleij (Unicorns) and Brian Finnegan (Diamonds).
I was the starting pitcher the first game and I threw 2 innings. I didn’t pitch extremely good as I missed the strikezone a bit too often. What was exciting though is that I picked off a runner at second. First time I succesfully picked off someone this year! I also hit this game but in my only at bat I flied out to right field.
Between the two games we had a presentation about the mental expect of the game. It included setting goals and only caring about stuff that you can manage.
This game I started at first base. I didn’t feel like this was my best game defensively but at the plate I did pretty good.In my first plate appearence I drew a walk and eventually I scored a run. In my next AB I hit a triple into right field (first one of the year) and I scored once again. And in my final AB I drove in a run with a groundout to the shortstop. This was a very close and exciting game as it included an over-the-fence homerun by one of the Rabbits players on the other team!
So that concludes the 2016 season guys, it’s been a great year and I’ve had lots of fun! Can’t wait for 2017!
Today would be the last regular game weekend of the 2016 season. If we wanted to end in first place we would have to win both games and it would be nice if Scimitars who were playing versus Diamonds would either lose or tie in one game.
After my good pitcher performance last week I got the start in this game as well. Usually we have a DH but our coach decided to put me in the hitting lineup too. In my first AB I hit an infield hit, in the following AB I struck out swinging. The opponents pitcher had a great slider, which I think is one of the toughest pitches to hit. And in my final AB I once again hit an infield single with an RBI as well.
Pitching wise I had a pretty good game again, I didn’t feel as dominant as I did last week but I kept the Unicorns from scoring any runs. I did allow 4 hits and 1 walk though. I also struck out 3 in 3 1/3 innings. I left the mound with a 6-0 lead, eventually we won this game with a score of 6-3.
In this game I started at first base. In both games our defence was looking very solid, we made just 2 errors in both games combined. We’ve had days that it was 3 or maybe 4 times more than that. I caught one fly ball in foul ground, that was the only ball hit in my direction. At the plate I grounded out to second base in my first at bat. I did what I had to do though as I advanced the runner from second to third by going oppo. In the following plate appearance I drew a walk and in my last AB I finally got my first solid hit as I singled into center field.
We won this game 6-2 which means we’re now in first place. Scimitars tied one game versus Diamonds which means that they are 1 point behind us. Unicorns is two points behind us but they do have one more game left in which they could get those two points. It’s not sure yet what the Dutch Baseball Federation will do if we end up in a tie. If you look at the results of the games between us and Unicorns we have won three, tied two and Unicorns has won one. If that’s what they’ll look at we’re the champions probably. Or maybe it will just be a tied championship…
On Monday my arm felt good again and fortunately it stayed like that for the entire week, so today I was ready to pitch again.
I started this game at first base. I didn’t get any balls hit to me and also didn’t make any errors. Offensively I didn’t play really well again… In my first AB I grounded out with two runners in scoring position. In the following AB I struck out swinging on a nasty curveball after fighting off some pitches. I did get a hit in my third AB but it was a blooper into right field. I ended up scoring after a double and a single later in the inning. Definitely not a great outing offensively. We made too many errors which resulted in a 11-6 loss..
This game was my comeback on the mound! And it went great! I threw the entire game in which I allowed just two hits, no runs, no base on balls and I threw four strikeouts. The game ended in the fourth inning because we had a lead bigger than 10 runs. It felt great to be back on the hill and it went really well! Hopefully I will pitch just like this next week versus Unicorns in the last two games of the season.
Eventhough it had rained all night long, the field was in pretty good condition. Except for a rabbit hole in the pitcher’s mound, haha. We fixed that, did out warmups and got ready for the game versus Bixie Baseball.
I was not able to pitch yet because of my shoulder injury so I started at first base. I got one groundball hit to me on which I recorded the third out of the inning. Offensively I had a pretty decent game. In my first plate appearence I drew a walk with the bases loaded so a run scored. I eventually scored as well! In my next at bat I hit a single into left field, with this single I drove in another run. My last AB wasn’t special as I grounded out to the third baseman. We won this game 4-7!
Once again I started at first base! This game wasn’t really good for me personally, but we, as a team did manage to collect 13 hits and 17(!!!) runs. In my first AB I reached on an error, I did bring in a run though. I also scored later that inning. In my next plate appearences I got on base twice due to a fielder’s choice. I scored one more run this inning. So yeah, this game was not much fun anymore whenever we got that 10 run lead early in the game. So we won 1-17…
Because Unicorns (leader of our league) lost one game today we are now tied with them in first place. Next week we take on the Amsterdam Diamonds and the week after that we will go to Cappele aan den IJssel for the final two games versus Unicorns. In that weekend one of us (Rabbits or Unicorns) will most likely celebrate the championships, so stay tuned for the upcoming very exciting games!!!!
Some of you might remember that last time we played versus Scimitars we played on a nice turf field! Well, because of a Hoofdklasse game later that day we had to play on the second field. The grass was so long, like a baseball hardly rolled and you had trouble seeing it…
I played the entire game at first base, I didn’t get any balls hit to me though. Our pitching was really good this game, the umpire wasn’t, just like last time… Offensively I had probably my best game all season long. In my first time up I hit a sac fly to bring in the first run of the game. In my following two at bats I hit two singles (one into right field and an infield hit). Those singles combined for 3 RBI’s. That made a total of four RBI’s in that game! I also managed to score once out of the two times I got on base. We won this game 7-2!
Because of my shoulder injury (which is getting better everyday) I couldn’t pitch, that was the reason I started this game on the bench. Later in the game I went to first base again. Once again no balls hit to me… This game was very exciting! First scimitars had the lead, than we came back, we got the lead, they came back. You get the point. In my only plate appearence this game I drew a walk… I would have rather hit to drive in the go-ahead run but the opposing pitcher was just not throwing a lot of strikes… I made my way all the way around the bases after a two singles by my teammates! So going in the bottom of the last inning we had a 9-5 lead. But than we got multiple extra basehits, some errors and with two out and the bases loaded and a 9-8 score my coach asked if I could try to pitch for the final out of the game. With all the adrenaline I didn’t even feel my shoulder pain anymore. Unfortunately the second pitch I threw was a wild one as it got away from our catcher after a weird hop on which the tying run scored. Fortunately I did manage to keep it tied but I was as angry as it gets that we didn’t win…
Well it’s all in the game and now we need to go win both games next weekend versus Bixie Baseball at home.
The summer break is over and after one week of practice we had to take on Tsunami Baseball at home.
I was the starting first baseman and hit third. In my first at bat I struck out swinging, hmm… let’s blame that on the break haha. In my next AB I got the slash sign but unfortunately it didn’t work out as I flied out to left field. But fortunately in my third and final at bat I hit a RBI double to right-centerfield. Defensively I played a solid game in which I fielded some grounders hit to me and I caught a popup in the infield. This all resulted in a nice 0-5 victory!
In this game I started on the mound, I threw 2 1/3 innings in which I gave up one hit, 2 runs (both unearned), 0 BB and I threw one strikeout. I left the game a little sooner than usually because my right shoulder didn’t feel really well. I hope this little injury won’t last long… So I left the game with a 1-4 lead, but yeah… Tsunami took a lead and made it 7-4. In the bottom of the fourth inning we came back to 7-7 and with two out and the bases loaded we gambled, tried to steal home and got caught stealing…. Tsunami almost left the field as they seamed to be happy with a tie, but we wanted to win and played along because due to the short rain delay there was some time left. This didn’t turn out well as our pitching fell apart and we lost this game 13-7… It’s all in the game…
Next week we’re going to Bussum to play versus Scimitars!
On August 10 we drove from Bloomington to O’Hare International Airport with a stop at a Route 66 Museum. This kinda dissapointed us but the wall paintings around the museum were somewhat nice. after we were done here we drove to O’Hare where we checked in our baggage and went to the gate. our flight from Chicago to Dublin with Aer Lingues left perfectly on time and arrived right on schedule. Everything was looking great and we had more than enough time for our transfer to Amsterdam. It was actually August 11 local time now so we had breakfast before we went on our airplane. When we were all set and pretty much ready to leave the gate our pilot announced there was a little problem with the baggage area that would be looked at and solved. This could take about one hour. All the passengers, including me went like: Are you kidding me?? Really…. Pfff. Well we sat there for I think about 30 minutes when we heard that it would take too long o solve the problem so we all had to leave the airplane, move two gates and wai for a new plane. Luckily this came in a little over 30 minutes and we could finally take off. A little more than an hour after that we landed on Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
Well that concluded our trip to the US for the 2016 summer, thank you all for reading my daily blogs and stay tuned for the weekly game recaps as soon as my season continues!
Today was our last complete day in the USA for 2016. We drove from our hotel in St. Louis to the next and final hotel in Bloomington, IL. We did not just drive on the highway but we partially drove the Historic Old Route 66!
We made multiple stops at oldschool gasstations, diners and we had lunch at an old restaurant that, back in the day, bought the first ever soda machine for over 3000 dollar. Back then you could buy a house with that kinda money but they chose to buy a soda machine.
Once we arrived in our hotel we swam in the swimming pool and started packing our bags. Luckily everything fitted and we didn’t need to buy a new bag or something haha. For dinner we went to Applebee’s, but before we went there I bought two offcial MLB baseballs that I plan to get signed (one by Andruw Jones in September when he will be in the Netherlands as a Bench Coach on the European Championships). Applebee’s was good as usual and we went home to do the finishing touches for tomorrow…
We started the day off 650 feet up in the air as we went up in the Gateway Arch. On your way up you sit in a tiny cabin that has 5 seats but there only fit 3, maybe 4 average sized people in the cabin. There are 8 of these cabins that go up at the same time. Once we arrived at the top we had a nice view at the city and Busch Stadium as well! I think that during a baseball game the Arch would be a great place to watch the game, if that’s possible.
Once we got back down again we took the metro to the Delmar Loop where we had lunch in a local restaurant. It was heating up outside and we didn’t feel like walking around there for much longer we got back in the metro and went to Forest Park. There was a museum here as well and we saw an exhibition about Route 66.
After we had relaxed for a little bit in our hotel room we walked to Busch Stadium for the Reds – Cardinals game!
Story: “Back in 2012 I went to the Baseballweek Haarlem (a tournament for countries that’s held every other year). Team USA participated with their Collegiate baseball team and on this team were players like Kris Bryant , Michael Conforto and Michael Lorenzen. Lorenzen is a reliever for the Cincinnati Reds. Back in 2012 he was an outfielder and pitcher and he signed one of my baseball cards and I got a pair of batting gloves!”
A few days ago I DM’ed Lorenzen with a photo of us back in ’12 and told him I would be in St. Louis today. I didn’t expect a reply but a few hours later he messaged me that he remember me and that he would be on the lookout for me in my bright orange shirt before the game.
When he walked out of the clubhouse, in to the dugout he immediately noticed me and walked in my direction. He signed my baseball card and we talked for a little bit. I think it was great he came over! I also got Brandon Finnegan, 3rd baseman Suarez and Brandon Phillips to sign my baseball cards!
The Reds took an early lead as they led the Cardinals by 4 runs after only three innings. After the fifth inning I went to the concourse behind home plate. I had met up with Devin Colley a.k.a @dcgloves in Instagram. Devin lives near St. Louis and also attended to the game. We talked about gloves, college baseball and what not.
The 4-0 score remained the same till the bottom of the ninth inning. The Cardinals got some hits, some walks and within a few minutes they brought back the score to 4-3. A bases loaded walk tied up the game and the crowd went crazy! Next up was Yadier Molina, everybody was chanting Yadi! Yadi! Yadi! Yadi! The next thing that happened was a hit by pitch, and the baseball were still loaded so the winning run scored! The Cardinals walked it off! (4-5 win) A bunch a people left early because the Cardinals were just not looking good offensively so yeah… I was hoping Joey Votto would toss his batting gloves and wristband on the dugout again, but I guess he just does it after a series is over. I did get a ball tossed up from Michael Lorenzen though and he said goodbye!