Remember that players from the islands have been considered Dutch in the Eredivisie since the 1950s and 1960s. Granted, the relationship between the Motherland and the Six Faraway Islands has changed and adapted, but names like Hamilton Richardson, Hudson John and Simon Arendl are part of Dutch baseball’s heritage.
They have played and lived in Holland year-round and so did dozens (maybe hundreds) of boys from the Caribbean who came to Holland to practice their “national sport” in competition here.
A man like Richardson became a well-known athlete in this country and later became the Head of Sports for Sint Maarten and is now the Johan Cruyff Foundation’s ambassador to the islands. During the 1995 and 1999 hurricanes, Richardson was active as a central figure in rescue operations on his island.
Back to the players today. Jansen is a pitcher, Bogaert plays the sweetheart in Shortstop and Albues is the second baseman; All difficult positions, and all were very well filled. Without any sort of chauvinism, the three are arguably among the best in Major League Baseball.
Jansen, 34, lives semi-permanently in Los Angeles with his wife and four children and returns in moderation to his island where he owns… a baseball club.
Albis lives in Atlanta and can be seen more on his island; He’s the youngest (24) of the three and Bogarts (29) was born in the picturesque Aruba village of Sint Nicholas and feels like a real Aruba, even though he also lived in Bonaire.
He lives near Boston and is a very likeable character, especially because of his remarkably quiet lifestyle and the way he expresses himself. He was raised in a very religious way and he admits it. He once said to me, “The life of faith and the great sports go well together, he who doubts it should come and talk to me.”
No consistency in tracking
The latter is just a point of interest: we, sports followers in the Netherlands, see these guys very rarely. The Dutch sports press follows them from a great distance and they only live for a moment if… well, when the World Championships are approaching, and 162 games previously played have gone unnoticed.
Fortunately, in the years since, NOS has spent the space and money to go after America’s best players, if possible, but I have some consistency with the print press in the actions of these Americans (and their predecessors) rarely discovered. .
Yes, they were there and they played far from us, but they were guys from the Caribbean, they were guys who played that game of baseball that’s hard to understand and also…it was so far away and most importantly it wasn’t football.
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