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Vanden Hurk revisited

Vanden Hurk is making a name for himself, worldwide.

Rookie right-hander Rick Vanden Hurk had fans following his major league debut Tuesday night against Milwaukee from overseas.

FSN received more than 80 e-mails from his native Netherlands and across Europe during its broadcast in support of Vanden Hurk.

"A lot of the baseball people in my country stayed up and watched the game at 2 a.m.," Vanden Hurk said. "I had a bunch of e-mails when I finally checked [Wednesday]."

If you had the chance to watch the game you know this is true, since Rich and Tommy read many of the emails on the air.  But the phenomenon was only limited to the broadcast media.

FishStripes got many hits from all over Europe on the day he pitched, it was a big day traffic-wise.  Which led to the unmistakable, and may I add completely unselfish conclusion, the Marlins need more European starters.

But it wasn't just the good people living in Europe who took notice of the game.

When Rick Vanden Hurk became the second native of the Netherlands to start a major-league game, the man who was first kept close tabs on the proceedings.

''I think it's just great,'' said Bert Blyleven, a 287-game winner who put Holland on the baseball map in this country.

``I'm very happy for him.''

Blyleven, a TV broadcaster for the Minnesota Twins, said he kept his eye on the Marlins-Brewers game Tuesday because of Vanden Hurk's debut.

Blyleven was 2 years old when his family moved to the United States, which is where he learned to play the sport. But Vanden Hurk, 21, learned in his home country, in the shadow of windmills.

''He's like an icon there,'' Vanden Hurk said of Blyleven.

Now if Rick can just have the same type of pitching career that Blyleven did, he's set.  I promise the Marlins will score more runs for you than the Twins and Rangers did for your countryman.