by Pim van Nes
It was November 11, two months exactly after the decisive play-off game in Hoofdklasse, but Haarlem became the Dutch city of baseball again. Because one month ago Honkbal became Baseball World Champion and put the baseball world upside down. “Revolution” according to Stefano Arcobelli, since decades baseball expert for Italian pink daily Gazzetta dello Sport. Dutch federation KNBSB decided quickly that “Panama” deserved a parade for the surprise champions and picked 11/11/11 in Haarlem for this baseball champion’s parade. Minor League players were flown into Schiphol international airport in order to join their National Team mates from Hoofdklasse.
Yesterday the first twenty-four players were hosted by the city of Haarlem, during the century of KNBSB (founded in 1912) pioneering and progressing in national baseball and reputed in global amateur baseball world for 50 years Honkbal Week tournaments and Pim Mulier stadium. Champions parade day in Haarlem started with a lunch in tournaments hotel Van der Valk and a visit to Pim Mulier stadium, where baseball kids were learning first abilities indoor. Honkbal Week logistics partner Jan de Wit drove the national team in a white touring car to Spaarne riverside, where players and coaches embarked for a voyage on a tourism boat through the crowded city center.
By five o’clock p.m. the champions were received in down town Teyler’s Museum, where national Sports Minister Edith Schippers told that H.M. Queen Beatrix was pleased to have royal decorations presented to team captain Sidney de Jong, team manager Brian Farley and technical director Robert Eenhoorn at this occasion. All other players and coaches will receive their royal decorations in their home towns. Question remaining refers to Belgian pitchers coach Steve Janssen, who lives abroad in Antwerp. He told Mister-Baseball.com, that he was happy that his IBAF Baseball World Cup medal had attracted attention even from Belgian media, usually not too eager for baseball news.
Haarlem Mayor Berndt Schneider hosted a small reception for the Dutch national team in his almost 400 years old town hall at the city’s main square Grote Markt. A small reception because town hall was occupied all day by too many wedding ceremonies for couples in love with this triple eleven date. In front of Haarlem town hall, thousands of baseball fans from city and country were waiting desperately to see their baseball heroes, who appeared at seven o’clock in the beams from a central podium on main square. Announced by Andy Houtkamp (son of softball coach Nol Houtkamp) each player and coach walked over a red carpet to the central champagne shower.
Concert hall Philharmonie was the honoring day final destination for a dinner party, for Hoofdklasse Star Awards Gala and an intimate after party for players, coaches and their invitees. Mister-Baseball.com dined at one table with knighted coach Brian Farley, his wife Gonny Farley from Haarlem and his father Barney Farley from Boston. The 80 years young grand-father had just arrived from USA for a week visit to his son and grandson in the Netherlands and wondered: “How can I explain to my people in the States that my son went to Europe to play baseball and then to coach baseball and then to become world champion in baseball and now to be knighted for baseball?”