Final Score: Chinese Taipei 8, Netherlands 3
World Baseball Conflict of the Game: The Sino-Dutch War of 1661
Once upon a time, the Kingdom of the Netherlands was one of the most powerful nations in the world. Their small size belied their prodigious talents, and they were able to build an empire on the backs of many non-European peoples.
I am, of course, referring to the Dutch team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, when the men of Orange twice defeated the Dominican Republic in dramatic fashion to win their pool and advance to the round of eight. Oh, and also the golden age of Dutch naval and mercantile power in the 17th century.
But no empire can last forever. While neither the Netherlands’ 8-3 defeat at the hands of Chinese Taipei or the ousting of the Dutch from the island of Taiwan in 1661 immediately caused the collapse of Netherlander power, both signalled a waning in Dutch glory.
Did Tom Stuifbergen, the Dutch starting pitcher, compare his embarrassing performance after the game to that of the Dutch general Thomas Pedel, whose hubris caused him to believe that his small force of better-armed musketmen could withstand a Chinese army at Zeelandia Castle? No, but he obviously should have. As the saying goes, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
And Tom Stuifbergen is a doomed man.
The Dutch occupation of Taiwanese baseball is over before it even began. Clearly, the East India Company will need to find some more docile Asians to exploit.