|Dutch Baseball Team Celebrating World Cup|
leading teams such as defending World Cup champion the U.S., World Cup record holder Cuba with 25 titles, Olympic champion South Korea, Japan, Australia, Taiwan and others.
In this field of champions, the Dutch managed a historical achievement by being the first European team not only to reach the final since 1938 but also to become world champion. This achievement is both surprising and understandable. It’s understandable because the Dutch have consistently played baseball on a high level. The Dutch have won 20 European championship titles over the last decades, they just missed winning the bronze medal in the 2005 and 2007 Baseball World Cups, and their teams include many players from the Dutch Caribbean islands, generally known as a region for talented players as the MLB can attest to.
On the other hand, this achievement is truly surprising within the context of the competition: in the U.S., Cuba, South Korea, Japan and other countries, baseball is a leading national sport. In Holland, more known for its soccer, skating and cycling, baseball is a small not to say impoverished sport. Its baseball federation has a mere 30,000 members (vs. over one million members for the soccer federation) and the Dutch major league has only eight teams playing against each other.