by Pim van Nes
There was already a Cruyff court for soccer and a Krajicek court for tennis in the lower middle class district Crooswijk of Rotterdam. Street sport projects named after a Dutch top performer, who wants to inspire street children to inprove their life styles by activating a sport discipline close to their family homes. Since last Friday they can also learn and play the game of baseball on a street diamond installed on the playground complex of Schuttersveld. This “shooters field” at the left bank of the river Rotte was first used for exercition lessons for the military in the city and in the first half of the last century it became the first stadium of soccer club Feyenoord.
Last Friday the street diamond was officially opened by municipal authorities of Rotterdam and MLB representative in Europe Jason Holowaty. Dutch main newspaper De Telegraaf reported last Saturday – after a few pages about cycling race Tour de France, but before tennis from Wimbledon in England and horses event Grand Prix in Aachen, Germany – about the youth educational towards baseball in Rotterdam. The Telegraaf article explains the collaboration among Rotterdam United Baseball, Rotterdam Sport Support and the Netherlands Ministry of Justice and Security. The project is funded by MLB and MLB Players Association. After the ceremony, players of the Netherlands national team played a baseball game with street children on the new diamond, which was named after Robert Eenhoorn, the first Rotterdamer who made it to the Major Leagues in USA.
Three years ago, far from Rotterdam, your Mister-Baseball.com correspondent in the Netherlands happened to meet a couple from Rotterdam in an entirely different environment of life, but still the lady told that she, at the age of elementary school, sometimes played baseball with street boys and girls in their city district Ommoord. The children were often invited by a somewhat taller neighbour boy to play a simple version of baseball. When asked for the address where she lived thirty years ago, the lady mentioned the same street name as where Robert Eenhoorn lived with his parents at the time. At a later occasion, same correspondent verified this with Robert Eenhoorn (45) and he confirmed that he used to gather enough boys and girls of his age to play a kind of baseball game in the street where he lived as a young teener. A street diamond called Eenhoorn, already thirty years ago.