Throw the word "Holland" and "baseball" at me and my only thought for decades was "Bert Blyleven."
Blyleven's place of birth was one those early trivia nuggets that I used to throw out to impress the girls, long before ESPN's Berman started labeling him with his supremely unfunny nicknames. As a youngster, I used to enjoy pronouncing Blyleven's Holland hometown, "Zeist," relentlessly. "Zeeeest! Zeeeeeeeeeeest!!!" I didn't care that I wasn't pronouncing it correctly (it's pronounced "Zest," like the soap brand).
But fortunately, thanks to card blogs, I have another answer for when people come up to me on the street and yell, "Quick, what's the first thing that comes to your mind when I say, 'baseball' and 'Holland'?"
I will yell in response: "The Dutch Card Guy!!!!!"
And we'll all have a good laugh.
I completed my first transaction of any kind with The Netherlands recently by receiving some cards from The Dutch Card Guy. He didn't send me any cards of Blyleven, but he did send some random pitchers that weren't part of the deal.
The precursor, or I should say "post-cursor," to Roberto Hernandez.
And my very first Yu Darvish card.
But the point of this trade, of course, was set-related and Dodger-related.
Thanks to TDCG, I am just nine cards away from finishing off this year's Allen & Ginter set. He sent me seven cards I needed.
Sorry, Juan Pierre, you don't get a picture.
The rest of the cards were assorted Dodger goodies.
The first cards from 2004 Playoff Prestige that I've ever seen.
A popular Brad Penny signing for blurry youngsters.
Possibly the worst-scanned image to ever appear on this blog (that's Bill Madlock, by the way).
I take it back. At least Sportflics has an excuse. This is just a foilboard parallel of a Paul LoDuca Best of Fan Club card. It looks only slightly better in person.
Now that is much better.
Much, much better.
I even received a minor league card, that made it all the way to Holland (P.S.: A "G" and an "F" doesn't look good interlocked).
Even Dodger Police cards!!!
But this is the item that began the trans-Atlantic transaction. A very spiffy blue-bordered parallel Sandy Koufax from Gypsy Queen. All numbered and sparkly in the light.
This card will now be the first thing I think of when I hear "baseball!" and "Holland!" together.
Sorry, Bert, you've been downgraded.
But at least you still have people yelling "Be Home By 'Leven" at you 24 times a day, right?