In soccer, the Dutch are famous for having re-invented the game in the early 1970s by means of what has become known as “Total Football” — a strategy devised by Ajax and Dutch national-team coach Rinus Michels, which demanded technical ability from every position and emphasized a fluidity of play.
As the graphic here suggests, there’s reason to believe that Hensley Meulens, manager of the Netherlands’ entry in the forthcoming WBC tournament, is about to do for baseball what Michels did for world football 40 years ago. Faced with a roster featuring four young and talented shortstops — Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox), Jurickson Profar (Rangers), Jonathan Schoop (Orioles), and Andrelton Simmons (Braves) — Muelens has turned lemons into delicious and Zeitgeist-defining lemonade, choosing to deploy all four of the aforementioned players at shortstop at the same time.
“How fine is the line between genius and madness?” Muelens appears to be asking. Except in Dutch, probably. Or in Papiamentu, maybe, too — i.e. the other official language of Muelens’ native Curaçao.