By Pim van Nes
Neptunus chairman Frans van Aalen has decided to step down as per next assembly of club members on October 29 in the Business Lounge of Familie Stadion, Rotterdam. Frans van Aalen has been involved with club management for Neptunus since more than 30 years. In 1981 the club clinched its first national baseball championship and debuted in a European Cup tournament, which was hosted by Parmalat Parma.
Thanks to Van Aalen’s management Neptunus managed to combine a long series of national and continental championships with a large stable of loyal business sponsors. The last few years however, Neptunus was defeated in the playoffs in the Netherlands and in preliminary rounds of European Cup competitions.
Especially 2012 was a big disappointment for Frans van Aalen, who admitted during the Haarlemse Honkbal Week in July referring to the European Cup tournament hosted by Neptunus in its Familie Stadion a few weeks before. Neptunus picked their sixth choice pitcher for a start in game one without having scouted the Rouen Huskies lineup, which much to their surprise brought an American pitcher. Rouen defeated Rotterdam in game one and Nettuno defeated Neptunus in game five. Also Nettuno had not been scouted by the Neptunus staff, who were unaware of the existence of Dominican pitcher Juan Figueroa until they were informed by a club outsider about the Nettuno star on the mound during the tournament.
In Hoofdklasse playoffs Neptunus had European Cup participation in 2013 granted, when the club had beaten the Amsterdam Pirates in game seven. Neptunus was sure of first place in the playoffs granting them entry to Holland Series. The possible opponent in Holland Series was L&D Amsterdam, winner of the regular season and thus qualified for the European Cup 2013. But eventually Corendon Kinheim passed the Pirates in the playoffs and joined Neptunus in the Holland Series.
Kinheim needed only four games for the national championship sweeping Neptunus, the club which wanted everything but ended up with nothing. The Pirates and Kinheim are going to Europe next year and Neptunus will stay behind. The club fired two coaches of their staff and now also Frans van Aalen himself retires from his very successful career at the board of his record holding club. Potential successor is Bart van Luijk, owner/director of DOOR Training and Coaching, long time sponsor of the club. Also stepping down and not re-electable is game secretary and scorekeeper Jan van der Sande.
Photo by Ron Wicklert, www.eott.nl