It started with a VIP Celebrity dinner on Friday-night where well-known Dutch artists like Laura Fygi, Raymond van Elburg and Ali B. performed for free. Jeremy Guthrie (pitcher of the Baltimore Orioles) liked Ali B. so much that he decided to join him on stage. An auction was organized between the four courses of the dinner and about 7500 Euros were raised for the Kika-foundation. Kika (Dutch) stands for children without cancer. Alex Nelissen was Master of Ceremony.
The following morning Rick took Guthrie, Brady Anderson (retired after 15 big league seasons), Mike Baker (catcher Florida Marlins), Dutch rising star Gregory Halman (Seattle Mariners), Adam Jones (centerfielder Baltimore Orioles) and Kyle Barbour (strength and conditioning specialist) to his hometown Eindhoven for the first clinic.
All children participate for free, which is very uncommon, as Rick wanted to do something for the children; an opportunity he never had. Children from all over the Netherlands came to Eindhoven, as in Haarlem there were so many applications that two clinics had to be scheduled and both of the were completely full. Many active players of Dutch national Baseball Team, as well as retired players help Rick during the clinics.
There were special Q&A-sessions where Rick and Gregory Halman tell what they experienced during their years in professional baseball. The Americans were working in pitching,hitting and fielding clinics.
During the press conference the question arose whether this will become a recurring event and Rick answered that it would be decided after the end of the last clinic. However, he indicated on Sunday, before the second clinic in Haarlem, that EBLT probably would be back in 2011.
The players' main reason to decide to join in with Rick is that the Dutch National Team impressed the whole world of baseball when beating the super-starred team of the Dominican Republic twice in 2009.
Although Rick van den Hurk organizes the event, father Wim van den Hurk has to be mentioned separately. Wim and his staff in Holland have done the preparatory work behind the screens.
Report by Ton Hofstede