by Pim van Nes
European Cup champion 2008 Corendon Kinheim from the Netherlands will not participate in the Final Four tournament, which was intended to be a new postseason meeting in Europe for the four finalists of the traditional European Cup tournaments in Grosseto and Regensburg last month.
The new tournament under CEB responsibility was to be hosted by the city of Barcelona (Spain), but Kinheim secretary-general Frits Mulder confirmed to Mister-Baseball.com this morning that his club gives priority to regular Hoofdklasse games versus Sparta/Feyenoord on September 13 and 14. The playoffs in the Netherlands will start on September 18 and will last until latest October 12. Corendon Kinheim will defend their national 2007 title and is the present leader in the 2008 standings.
Frits Mulder regrets his club’s absence in the tournament, especially after the exciting European Cup final versus Grosseto in June. If the Final Four tournament would have been fixed as a real post season’s event, CEB could have relied on the participation of the 2007 and 2008 champion club. Although the national championship schedules in Europe were known long before, the Confederation of European Baseball (CEB) decided to fix the timing of the new event one month before the end of the Netherlands season.
In the other countries Spain (FC Barcelona) and Italy (Montepaschi Grosseto, Danesi Nettuno), which also have teams at the Final Four, the season is going to be finished before the start of the tournament. In Italy for example, the regular season will hold its final weekend within a few days from now. The Italian playoffs will take another few weeks, but by the end of August the Serie A1 season is finished for all its eight clubs. Italy’s losing 2008 Cup finalists Grosseto and Nettuno can then start their preparations for the games with CEB Cup winner Barcelona and without Champions Cup winner Kinheim. CEB vice-president Gerard Vaandrager from the Netherlands wonders if the new event will take place at all under the new circumstances.
Ruud van Zetten, president of Netherlands federation KNBSB, feels sorry for the local organization in Barcelona which is the right venue with the right setup for the Final Four. But, according to Van Zetten when asked by Mister-Baseball.com this morning, it is also the right decision by Kinheim to refuse participation, as the planning by the CEB is completely wrong. He is glad to hear that Kinheim gives priority to Hoofdklasse games and plans to attend the two Kinheim games versus Sparta/Feyenoord with clashes between reputed pitchers Beljaards and Cordemans and between teenager talents on the mound Van Eis and Roodenburg.
Pim van Nes
Baseball writer for