Baseball has become a truly international sport over the years, even if many in the United States may not be very aware of the increasing popularity of their favorite pastime. When Cuba won last year's World Cup over second place-winner the Netherlands, there were many American baseball fans who opened their paper to the sports page the next day, and then exclaimed to themeselves, "the Netherlands?"
[The International Baseball Federation, IBAF, notes on their website that the Netherlands has had a professional baseball league since 1922]
Alas, it is the fortunate truth: today baseball has a presence in countries all over the globe. This year's Baseball World Cup, which opened today after a day of rain delays on Taiwan, includes as diverse a set as you'll find anywhere. More diverse, in fact, than in the UN, as Taiwan's own national team is competing in the event, albeit under the name "Chinese Taipei." Just to give you an idea, todays matches were (winner w/ asterisk): Spain v. Panama*, South Africa v. Japan*, Mexico v. United States*, Cuba* v. Australia, Netherlands* v. Thailand, Korea v. Canada*, and Germany v. Venezuela*, with Taiwan v. Italy postponed due to rain.
In our opinion, anything international hosted in Taiwan, especially a sport as fun and accessible as baseball, is a win for the good guys when it comes to furthering Taiwan's status in the international community. We wish Taiwan's baseball team much luck and hope they progress far into the tournament. As for the Netherlands, we here at R.O.C. the Boat have a new-found respect for the Dutch when it comes to all things stickball.
Oh, and by the way: