Recently, the Royal Belgian Baseball and Softball Federation (KBBSF) proposed a new rule regarding the use of foreigners in the highest Belgian Baseball League, the BBG (Baseball Gold). Now all of a sudden a hefty discussion is going on on a Belgian baseball page on Facebook. But this discussion is, in fact, a storm in a teacup.
The discussion of Facebook is whether foreign players may be used or not and if there will be a limit on foreign players during the weekend. According to some, foreign players may be only used during one game of a series played at the weekend.
But this is not the case at all. It all starts with the trained/non-trained rule. A player is trained if he has played in Belgium for at least four years. This rule applies to Belgian-born players, players born in the European Union and players born outside the European Union. A small change in this rule is that it is about U-23 players. So, in fact, it is easier for younger players to get the trained status.
Then we go to the new rule that was presented in early October 2019. In the new rule, it was proposed that non-trained pitchers and catchers may only be used in one game of a doubleheader, so two games played on one day. It means that if a pitcher/catcher is playing in Belgium for less than five years, he is allowed to play only one game of a doubleheader. This new rule applies to any non-trained pitcher or catcher, so Belgians, players from EU countries and players from countries outside the EU. It has nothing to do with the fact that players from the Dominican Republic, for example, are allowed to play only one game in the weekend instead of both the home and the road game. This was actually never the case. In fact the rule for the use of using non-EU players hasn’t changed. Per game, only three non-EU players can be in the lineup. In the past exceptions were made but now a line is drawn. No exceptions are accepted. Only three non-EU players in the lineup per game, that’s it.
So the whole discussion on the Belgian Baseball Facebook page is pretty much based on a big misunderstanding.