Red Tulips

Lush Tulips of the Netherlands

The Pirates, like much of MLB today, played an exhibition game against one of the World Baseball Classic teams, in this case Team Netherlands.  The story lines behind this game are as numerous as they are hilarious.  The Pitching coach for the Netherlands is Bert Blyleven, who pitched for the Pirates in the late 70’s, but perhaps has made his biggest impression by cursing like a Russain sailor on live TV.  Somehow, he still broadcasts for the Twins.  Spend a few minutes looking at some Blyleven clips, you won’t be disappointed.

Other familiar faces include Randall Simon, who had a stint as the Pirates’ lazy-first-baseman-du-jour for parts of the 2003 and 2004 (other entries include Daryle Ward and Ty Wigginton) and made international acclaim not through his mediocre play, but through what has become known as the “Randall Simon Sausage Incident”.  The Milwaukee Brewers hold a Sausage Race, featuring an interracial group of hot dogs (honestly, take a minute to check out their names on the Wikipedia page) loping around the diamond during the seventh inning stretch.  In July of 2003, Randall Simon nailed “Guido” (how the Brewers get away with that I don’t know), the Italian sausage, with a baseball bat, who fell and tripped the hot dog as well.  The Polish sausage helped Guido get up again while the Bratwurst craftily raced on for first place.  Simon was later arrested, paid a fine for disorderly conduct, served a suspension, apologized, and above all else was asked to sign the bat he used and give it to the victim.  Truly, I wish I could make this stuff up; I’d be rich.

Finally, let us not forget Yurendell de Caster, a former Pirates farmhand, who started at third for the Netherlands.  Actually that’s it, I just wanted to make a quick mention even though he doesn’t have a controversial history.  De Caster does have a minor league deal with the Tiger’s now,

Even though the Pirates paraded out a pretty sorry lineup of minor leaguers, some of which I haven’t even heard of before, they still managed to edge out the Netherlands 5-4, taking starter Sydney Ponson for four of their runs in his three innings of work, and then holding on to the lead with a nice showing by the Pirates bullpen, including Matt Capps with 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K and Rule 5 pickup Donald Veal throwing a three strikeout sixth inning.  First round draft pick Pedro Alvarez went 0-4 with 2 Ks.

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