Olympic Baseball Rewind - 2000 Sydney: Watch Cuba and Netherlands battle

Olympic Baseball Rewind - 2000 Sydney: Watch Cuba and Netherlands battle
02/08/2020
Cuba was undefeated in 21 games played in three different editions of the Olympics. The Dutch had a 1-2 record when they took the field at the Sydney Baseball Stadium.

The Olympic Rewind Baseball series, presented in collaboration with the Olympic Channel, takes us to the Games of the XXVII Olympiad Sydney 2000. It was the first time that professional baseball players were eligible to participate in the Olympics.

Seven of the eight participants qualified through Regional tournaments. Cuba and the United States finished first and second in the Pan American Games 1999. Korea and Japan were the top two finishers of the Asian Baseball Championship the same year. The Netherlands and Italy finished first and second in the European Championship 1999. South Africa won a playoff series against Guam. Australia got an automatic entry as the host nation.

The fifth episode of the series features the game played on 20 September 2000 between the Netherlands and Cuba, in front of over 12,000 fans at the Sydney Baseball Stadium.

Cuba was undefeated in Olympic Baseball through the previous two editions and the first three days of group play (South Africa, Italy and Korea), racking up a 21 game-streak. The Netherlands entered the game against Cuba with a 1-2 record, having suffered losses against Japan and the US. Their lone win had come against Australia.

Dutch skipper Pat Murphy, at the time the Arizona State University manager, gave the ball to Ken Brauckmiller, a 34-year old veteran who had moved from the US Minor Leagues to the Netherlands to play and had eventually become a Dutch citizen. Home plate Anibal Rosario (Puerto Rico) called playball.

Cuba was managed by veteran skipper Servio Borges, who had been very successful from the late 1960s until 1990 and was back at the helm ten years later for the Olympics. He handed the ball to Norge Vera, a 17-game winner in Cuba's 1999-2000 Serie Nacional.

OLYMPIC Rewind-Baseball

The OLYMPIC Rewind-Softball series features past games from the 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 Games.