by Pim van Nes
Under almost Cuban weather conditions Haarlem Honkbal Week president Frits Mulder hosted a press conference in local Van der Valk hotel yesterday at 17.00h. Many present and former journalists attended the reunion and met present and former tournament staff members enjoying cool drinks and spicy snacks. Press representatives listened to speeches by Frits Mulder and Dutch national team manager Jim Stoeckel. The foreign teams will arrive next week for the tournament games planned for July 9 thru 18.
Frits Mulder explained that economic crises caused the organization some more problems attracting new sponsors for those who decided to withdraw from usual support of his traditional tournament. So far 26 sponsor boxes have been sold to companies, which prefer baseball as entertainment for their public relations during 10 days in the famous Pim Mulier Stadion. The stadium has been restructured and is ready to receive 4500 fans per game, which means an increase of 400 seats. The tournament is budgeted for approximately 700.000 euro only, thanks to collaboration by 140 volunteers.
Mulder is a 62 years old bailiff in early retirement. When young he played basketball, but he was dragged into hits and runs by an attractive blond girl-friend named Ineke van der Veldt, who was a softball pitcher for DSS in Haarlem. Frits became a softball fan and she became Mrs. Ineke Mulder. Frits started a career within softball as an umpire and later became board member of the national umpire association and of local club Kinheim. Since 1992 he has been involved with Haarlem Honkbal Week, in 1998 as acting president and since 2004 as president elected. He is also one of his 140 volunteer’s family.
Jim Stoeckel has known baseball in the Netherlands since 1981, when he came from USA to help the national team to regain the European Championship, which had been in Italian hands since 3 editions. One of his children was born in the Netherlands, he told us yesterday, and Haarlem became a good memory for him since the European victory in 1981 and the Haarlem Honkbal Week in 1982. In 2010 Jim Stoeckel is back in the Netherlands for another Honkbal Week and to extend the Dutch winning streak in European Championships since 1999. He is fond of telling his baseball friends in the States about the incredible atmosphere in every Haarlem Honkbal Week, irrespective shine or rain.
Pim van Nes
Baseball writer for