For years baseball lovers in the Netherlands complain about the level of the Dutch hoofdklasse. According to them, the overall level is deteriorating. How to solve this?
The gap between the top two (L&D Amsterdam Pirates and Curaçao Neptunus) is wide. Then there is a gap between the two other teams that play for a spot in the playoffs and the remaining four.
The number of teams in the Dutch hoofdklasse is simply too big for the pool of talent. There are players in the hoofdklasse who will be fine players in the overgangsklasse but who just lack the quality to play in the highest Dutch league (with all due respect).
I would like to drop a theory of which I think it may improve the level of play in the Dutch hoofdklasse. Withdraw two teams and send them down to the overgangsklasse. In this way, several players who are hoofdklasse worthy will head to another club and the level of that club will go up. With six teams instead of eight, it will be easier to field a better team because with the same number of quality players it will be easier to build a quality team.
There may be some flaws in this theory. First, will the players of a team that is sent down to the overgangsklasse, really go to another hoofdklasse team? Second, will it be interesting to have a six-team competition? Third, will players not join the top two teams? Regarding the first question, no one knows for sure. In general, players want to play at the highest possible level. So there should not be a problem. On the other hand, what if a team is rather remote and it will be quite a hassle for players to get to another club? They may likely stay with their own club then.
Regarding the second question, it may not be as exciting to face the same opponent every five other weeks bu, the level of play will likely improve with only the best players left. Regarding the third question, it is known that the top two teams are attractive to play for. But both L&D Amsterdam Pirates and Curaçao Neptunus are already loaded with talent, so it won’t be fair if they embrace a player that wants to join them, knowing his chances of getting playing time will be close to none. It is up to those clubs to be honest and the player about his chances of getting playing time.
I realize many will disagree with the idea. Many will say this is a radical idea, but I think it is worth a thought. If the level at all clubs will improve, more clubs can compete for a spot in the playoffs and perhaps even more teams may even compete for a spot in the Holland Series. It would be interesting to see a competition in which teams are more evenly matched instead of the current situation in which two teams dominate and the remaining six teams are only figureheads.
Just my two cents.