by Pim van Nes
Today is Opening Day in Dutch Hoofdklasse season 2014 with first games in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Haarlem and Bussum. At 19.30 h L&D Pirates meet UVV Utrecht, DOOR Neptunus faces ADO Lakers, Corendon Kinheim welcomes Mampaey Hawks and Mr Cocker HCAW enters its Valley with Vaessen Pioniers. On Saturday afternoon same games and on Sunday afternoon first home games in Utrecht, The Hague, Dordrecht and in the brand new Park 21 stadium in Hoofddorp.
After the invitations by Hoofddorp Pioniers and their municipality to attend the grand opening of the newly built stadium, four days later Netherlands federation KNBSB hosted a press conference in the same new facility. Technical director Robert Eenhoorn and national baseball team manager Steve Janssen delivered information to baseball journalists. Media represented in Hoofddorp at noon on Monday were national broadcaster NOS (Radio and TV), international broadcaster Fox Sports, main newspapers De Telegraaf and Algemeen Dagblad, regional newspapers Het Parool and Haarlems Dagblad, youth magazines Seven Days and Kids Week, Caribean broadcaster Radio Pengue, Belgian press agency Belga, baseball specialized websites Honkbalsite and Grand Slam and foreign websites Mister-Baseball.com and Baseball.it.
Eenhoorn was in a very happy mood in his new working home, rented in the Hoofddorp facilities. He welcomed the 30 visitors in the press conference room after a light lunch for his guests from across the Netherlands. He presented his new commercial advisor Paddy Roomer from Rotterdam and expects to announce a new media partner for KNBSB soon. He is proud about his approximately 70 compatriots active in foreign professional leagues, the major part in USA. Eenhoorn wishes to promote the return to the Dutch league Hoofdklasse after their career abroad with a priority for lower ranking clubs having first choice. This will enable these clubs to offer more competition in their games versus the traditionally stronger clubs. In order to meet conditions for a more attractive Hoofdklasse, Eenhoorn wants an update of the present license system for clubs playing on Dutch top level. This system will be discussed with the clubs and implemented in 2015.
Also new in the Netherlands is the start of the seventh baseball academy, just opened and to be managed by Ben Thijssen on the Island of Curacao. Thijssen is one of the coaches for Netherlands national team manager Steve Janssen, who effective next Monday will hold two central practise sessions per week in the beautiful ball park of Hoofddorp. Instead of previously those in Rotterdam, Haarlem and Amsterdam, in future only Park 21 in Hoofddorp is to host Dutch best selection every Monday and Wednesday evening. With these players and the professionals from abroad, the Netherlands want to acquire a structural third spot in world ranking, according to Eenhoorn. He refered to their first prize in IBAF Baseball World Cup 2011 and their semi-final game versus later winner of World Baseball Classic 2013, Dominican Republic.
Photo by Rob Jelsma: Robert Eenhoorn in press conference accompanied by commercial advisor Paddy Roomer.