Talking baseball in any language
By Craig Muder
After 14 years of waiting for his call to Cooperstown, Bert Blyleven learned how to relax at election time.
So during his first full day as a Hall of Famer on Thursday, the Dutchman reveled — and poked a little fun — at his moment in the sun.
“I guess they figured it was (the year) twenty-eleven, so it was Bly-leven time,” said the 287-game winner who was born in Zeist, Holland. “I’m just glad they finally got it right.”
Blyleven’s Class of 2011 teammate at the Hall of Fame, Roberto Alomar, was clearly humbled by his election. After falling just eight votes short in 2010, Alomar charged passed the hallowed 90-percent mark in this election.
“The last year was difficult,” Alomar said. “But it was all worth it.”
The media turnout for Thursday’s press conference in New York City was robust — especially among Spanish-language outlets. Alomar enthusiastically provided responses in his native language and acknowledged the influence his home country, Puerto Rico, on his career.
Blyleven, however, was unable to provide answers in Dutch — drawing a hearty laugh from the writers when the suggestion was made..
“Hey let me answer that,” Blyleven said when a reporter queried Alomar in Spanish.
No, the Dutchman doesn’t speak Spanish. But he and Alomar let everyone know what a thrill it was for them to join baseball’s best in Cooperstown.
In any language, Cooperstown translates into immortality.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.