The Netherlands have defended their European baseball championship, beating Italy 15-0 in the final in Prague. The Dutch are the dominant in Europe, having now won won 19 of the 29 championships since 1954. Italy is Europe’s second power, having won eight.
Spain and Germany finished third and fourth, and have therefore qualified for the 2007 World Cup.
Great Britain finished seventh. The team must be on a bit of a downer since their hopes host nation qualification for the 2012 Olympics were scuppered by the IOC chosing not to include baseball in the programme for the London games.
Another interesting outcome was the ninth-place finish of Greece. It was their first major tournament since the country cobbled together its Olympic baseball teams from north Americans hastily given Greek passports. In the 2003 European Championships, Greece was represented for the first time ever, and the team of professional ringers went all the way to the final before being stopped by — who else — the Dutch.
This concludes my periodic unhealthy obsession with a European minority sport — at least until the 2005 World Cup begins in Amsterdam in September.