by Pim van Nes
Dutch federation KNBSB in a press conference in Rotterdam this afternoon announced Rotterdam, Haarlem and Utrecht as hosting cities for next year’s edition of European Championship for national baseball teams. The three playgrounds will be Familie Stadium in Rotterdam, Pim Mulier Stadium in Haarlem and Paperclip Stadium in Utrecht. The ten-day tournament will take off with three simultaneous games in all three cities on Friday 7 September and closed with the grand finale in Rotterdam on Sunday 16 September.
KNBSB board member in charge with baseball, Frits Mulder, presided the press conference on board of former Holland America Line flagship ss Rotterdam, berthed downtown the main port of Europe, Rotterdam. This city will host the greater part of the tournament games, including all games of the Netherlands from day 1 through day 10. Italy in the other group will play all games in Haarlem, till the Azzurri will meet the Netherlands in the second round, if applicable for either team.
The Netherlands will compete with Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Germany and Great Britain in one group, whilst Italy will face Croatia, Sweden, Spain, Greece and Russia in the other. First three teams of both groups will advance to the second round after teams 4, 5 and 6 will have played classification games on Wednesday 12 September. Rotterdam and Haarlem will host all games as from 13 September.
The three cities are at 50 km distance from each other. Two international airports within this triangle: Amsterdam and Rotterdam. International high speed trains from Germany via Utrecht and from France via Rotterdam, all with final destination in Amsterdam. Connecting trains to Pim Mulier stadium every half an hour, exit Bloemendaal. Earliest play ball is at 13.00 hours, the last at 19.30 hours.
Questions from the press in conference to-day were taken by Frits Mulder, over-all tournament director and by Robert Eenhoorn, technical director baseball of KNBSB. VIP guest of KNBSB was Rotterdam elderman for sports and culture, Mrs Antoinette Laan. She mentioned in her speech that she once saw Major League Baseball games in the States and that she is happy to help KNBSB in next year’s centennial celebrations and to get World Baseball Classic and Baseball World Cup 2015 or 2017 designated to the Netherlands.
After the press conference, Mrs Laan explained to Mister Baseball: “It must be back in 1998 that with an American friend I attended my first top baseball game in Chicago. Which club? My friend was a White Sox fan, but a few years ago I also saw home games by Detroit Tigers and also New York Yankees in the Bronx. My finest baseball minute, however, was a few months ago when I was invited by World Port Tournament in Rotterdam for the ceremonial first pitch of Netherlands – Cuba. I already look forward to next top baseball event in our city!”