Pitching is the name of the game

Another blog, another story about another cap of mine… This is about my EPA-cap.

Every once in a while you have people entering your life, that you cannot get rid off…
Eric de Vries is one of those people.

Pioniers-Ned-kampioen-hoofdklasse-1997The first time I met Eric, sometime in 1997, he was coaching the pitchers  for Hoofddorp Pioniers. We just moved to Hoofddorp, when I went to the ballpark to watch a game. We had a talk after the game, but I cannot begin to remember what it was about…

In the next couple of years baseball was plan B, until my sons became old enough to pick a sport; we had to figure out what they would like.
Luckily for them I do not play soccer (never have) nor am I a big fan of a soccer-team, I just support AJAX Amsterdam as I am born and raised in Amsterdam and to piss off others… You will never find me or them on a soccer-field in rain or shine.

While we were searching for a club, one friend of ours’ son just started playing peanut-ball at Badhoevedorp; a small town close-by. We went over there to watch a game and I guess that is when we all fell (back) in love with game. Just watching these munchkins in their uniforms and big bats & helmets… Another friend of mine’s daughter started playing peanut-ball in Hoofddorp, which was even closer, so we went over there to watch and ended up with 1 kid becoming a member, 1 kid whining to please-please-please also wanted to join (but was underage) and 1 dad becoming trainer/coach for the team my kid was going to play in. Eventually the youngest also joined!

Baseball-against-cancerMy kids were both really loving the game and especially the clinics that were giving by the big boys from the Hoofdklasse / Dutch National Team and even the Big Leaguers Rick van der Hurk brought to the Netherlands. During these Wintertrainings or clinics I was more than once asked to lend a hand, and I generally ended up helping Eric de Vries (with Swen Huijer) with the pitchers. You see: we live in a small world!
EPA logoDuring the last 10 years Eric and me bumped into each other every once in awhile, but always with big smiling faces, hugs all over the place & loads to talk about. We go about things in a very similar manner: not just in a baseball way but also in general life. On one of the KNBSB catchers training during winter, Eric brought me a cap of EPA: ERIC’S PITCHING ACADEMY… Eric started his academy in 2008 as he was already training so many kids, he was gonna make a living out of it! And boy, he did!!!

LadybucsEric and me even got to play on the same team once, during the KIKA Marathon against Cancer that was organized by the LADYBUCS of Amsterdam – the only All-women team in seniors competition. Every team wanting to play against the ladies, had to pay! Every player on the “All-star team” had to pay as well and that was the team we played in together with a great number of players of the Hoofdklasse!

Last season my eldest son no longer wanted to be a catcher and choose to play outfield for the major part of the competition; needless to say that I (still trainer/coach – just different club) occasionally needed him behind the plate, which he did without complaining. During the last part of the competition we had 3 others on the team that would rotate catching, so he could play just outfield. BUT, during the last games of the season I ended up with just 1 pitcher, so I asked of him to pitch a few innings.

E&E1Since Eric is on the staff of RCH-Pinguins 1 as pitcher coach, he offered to help the youth out as well with his guidance. My son was in the bullpen several times under Eric’s wings: he had the speed, but lacked the skills. He loved Eric’s lessons so much, he asked if he could go train with Eric during off-season.

This season I am no longer a trainer or coach to the team my son plays in, but I still go to all his games, and then some… My son is now the regular starter for his team, I guess Eric taught him enough to get out there. To makes things even sweeter: How about making your debut in the Overgangsklasse and pitch your first strikeout while the Freezer is watching???

Even though the season is not over yet, he already asked to enter into Eric’s winterschool again.

Weekend away? Weekend off!

Every once in a while, my wife gets to go off on a weekend to hang with her friends or to attend a meeting of Young Living, somewhere in Europe. This time she was initially invited to join my mother-in-law, who won a trip to Vienna (Austria), but ended up getting invited by Young Living as a speaker about Toxic-free/Chemical-free living.

We started clean living years ago, by paying attention to what we eat; reading the labels to find out what kind of mess is used to flavor or color your food! So we decided to stop using packets or sachets, started with fresh veggies and flavoring our food with natural herbs. After that we replaced the drinks for the kids with natural sweetened drinks and so on.

The same goes for the way we got introduced to Young Living: we were in a place in our live where stress (and all that goes with it) made up a large part of it. I was unemployed for a long time due to reorganization , while Danielle was working in a very stressful job, with the possibility to get unemployed as well… A friend of ours advised to buy a starter-kit from Young Living with a lot of oils to relief several situations. Danielle got through the stressful days, we both got to sleep good again and the way we smell nice… Oh boy! Then there was no stopping; we also have supplements now, energy drinks, toothpaste and household products. I probably forgot a few, sorry…

But when she is away, I get to take care of our household… Or: my version of it! The boys always want to eat different stuff than usually, so we get to eat French Fries, Kebab, Chinese and such.

And since I cancelled my appointment for today ánd it turned out that none of the guys had any obligations to sports this entire weekend, I had a massive amount of (free) time to spend my way.

KaysI have been planning to visit a secondhand record store for a long time, but other commitments always got in the way… I visited them today! Kay’s Odyssey in Wagenberg (near Breda) is a very nice shop, nice people, good vibe, loaded with vinyl! I bought some great records and was talking to one of the owners and he directed me to the newest wing to the store where he had even more records… So I dug crates for another hour, enjoyed a good cup of coffee and of course more additions to my collection.

I came home with the following vinyl: Trouble Funk – Still Smokin’ (original DC Go-Go), Tony Terry – She’s Fly, B&Q Band – Main Attraction (Ben Liebrand remix), Ben Liebrand – Styles (The Album), PITA – Break Beats (just breaks & beats & samples), Chandra Simmons – Never Gonna’ Let You Go (Mantronik Remix), The Time – Jerk Out (Prince… of course!), Janet Jackson – Escapade (One of her best singles), Roxanne – The Real Roxanne (UTFO/Full Force), Prince – 1999 (What can I say?), Warren G – I Shot The Sheriff (Promo with remixes), Stetsasonic – Sally (One of the best live-bands in Hip hop I’ve ever seen!!!), Jill Jones – G-Spot (Probably the best song Prince gave her), 3rd Base – Pop Goes The Weasel (Children’s song rap-style), Derek B – Bad Young Brother (English Rap – US style), Derek B – We’ve Got The Juice (Old-school), Jesse Johnson – She I Can’t Resist (Former guitar player of The Time/Prince), Mantronix – Ladies (Oh Yeah!!!) & Atlantic Ocean – Waterfall (Peter Parker’s Remixes White Label)…

On the way out I found out that a couple of guys I know (Formerly Known as DSS Rookies) were playing ball against the local team in Oosterhout (Twins), which happens to be like 10 minutes away… So I dropped by to see them and cheer them on. Good weather, great company, Successful Day!!!

All I got to do now, is figuring out what to have for dinner… GUYS!

Prince & Wrecka Stow

wrecka stowWOW! Can you believe it’s been a year already since his untimely departure… 1 year without his musical ingenuity, 1 year where there has been so much hassle about the legacy without a will, or maybe there is a will, without heir, or maybe there is a heir, the taxes that needs to be paid before any clarity on what will happen to all he left behind.

I am a HUGE prince-fan (have over 200 media – 12″, LP, CD) ever since late 1981, when he came up with “Controversy” and a couple of months later he dropped “1999”… Back then I was in my Heavy Metal period, long hair-leather jacket-denim, patches & studs, when this strange dude came out with his mix of Rock, Pop, Funk and the awesome way he played his guitar!!! One of my classmates was like: “you stepping away from the metal to listen to this guy strutting on stage in thong and stockings???”. I told him that this guy was gonna give us what Jimi Hendrix did in the 70’s: INNOVATION IN MUSIC! And boy did he do that! He is the main reason -I strongly believe- I started listening to many different types of music, to find such beauty in so many of the songs, I would not have otherwise listen to.

Every new single, album, side-project, protégé he came up with, had something new to it. The people he was surrounding himself with made him out to be the “PRINCE” of everything, not the Godfather of Soul, not the King of Pop, but the Prince of Music! I every once in a while still buy something I never saw or heared before (Yep, it can happen). For example, last Xmas I bought the last 2 albums (HitNRun Phase 1 and 2) on vinyl – even though they are never release officially. A few months ago I found a promo with Rihanna on one side and Prince’s “The Greatest Romance Ever Sold” on the other side. So I still dig crates and keep an eye out for gems that I need to have. Hahaha vinyl-Hoarder…

RSD2017Which brings me to Record Store Day 2017! Several RE-releases of Prince singles, which I still own from way back, so I will not buy them. But my local Record Store, Northend Records in Haarlem, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a small party and some special release. So in a couple of minutes I will be dragging my wife and 1 of my kids along, on our way to buy something in the Baseball store, to pick up my RDS2017-stuff!

Have a great weekend!