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Mar '11 22

MLB: “Netherlands in Pole Position for first Major League game in Europe”



by Pim van Nes

In a press conference hosted by the municipalities of Amsterdam and Hoofddorp on Monday afternoon, it was announced that the newly to be built stadium for the Vaessen Pioniers in Hoofddorp will be ready in 2014 for three official Major League Baseball games. To this purpose the stadium’s capacity will be extended temporarily to 30,000. The games will be broadcasted to 200 countries and 17 languages.

The local organization is planning to present the bid book to MLB on July 12th, when in Phoenix, Arizona the annual All Star Game is played. MLB had already approached Dutch baseball about possibilities to bring ML games to the Netherlands in 2012, but the construction of the new stadium could not be scheduled earlier. The baseball stadium will be the first part of an urbanization project between Hoofddorp and Nieuw-Vennep

The press conference in Hoofddorp’s town hall was opened by the two sport authorities of Amsterdam and Hoofddorp: Eric van der Burg and Michel Bezuijen. The Dutch baseball federation was represented by technical director Robert Eenhoorn and Major League Baseball by Clive Russell, director for Europe, Middle East and Africa. They speeched and took questions from twenty Dutch journalists and after the conference they were available for interviews for TV, radio, newspapers and websites.

The candidacy of the Pioniers stadium for three Major League games, preferably in July 2014, is backed by the municipalities of Amsterdam and Hoofddorp, the Royal Netherlands Baseball and Softball Federation KNBSB, the Netherlands Olympic Committee and the Minister of Sports. Within two months from now ground preparations will start on present agricultural soil. MLB director Clive Russell was very happy with progress made in Hoofddorp: “MLB wants to play in Europe and the Netherlands have conquered pole position, as far as we are concerned”.

After the press conference Mister Baseball made acquaintance with Clive Russell: “Yes, I know your website and I read it frequently, especially when I am in London, UK, where I live and work for MLB. Prior to Europe, MLB clubs played official games outside USA in Japan and Puerto Rico. Believe me, players and directors loved it and so they will, if in the Netherlands 2014. Your country [Netherlands] is in pole position now, but also other countries are in the race. For instance Italy has proposed Rome and Germany refers to Regensburg as host for first MLB games in Europe. If such an achievement will be the summit of my job in Europe? No, as this would mean we will go downhill after those games, but you can call it my next plateau!”

by Pim van Nes
Baseball writer for
www.honkbalsite.com
www.sporttribune.nl
www.baseball.it

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