With the current rules set by the Dutch government, the Dutch baseball season will not start before September 1st due to the coronavirus. But the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Federation (KNBSB) is lobbying to move the starting date forward.
Through the Dutch Olympic Committee/Dutch Sporting Federation, the KNBSB is trying to convince the Dutch government to allow baseball to start earlier. So far the government has looked to soccer, which will start after September 1st, and has equalized all summer sports like baseball and cricket with it. Of course this is strange as soccer is played throughout winter until Spring. Baseball is played from Spring until the start of Fall, so a totally different timespan.
The KNBSB has presented two separate schedules for the upcoming season. One that takes starting date September 1st into account and one that takes August as a starting date into account. In both cases the intention is to play as many games as possible until October 26.
Despite the lobbying, the schedule of September 1st is most likely. In this schedule, two groups will be created based on the final standings of the 2019 season. The teams of each group will play three series of three games against the teams of the same group. The winner and runner up of each group will advance to a kind of playoffs in which these teams will play a three-game series. Even though the local newspaper that had the scoop, Haarlems Dagblad, does not mention the format, it is likely that the winner of each group will face the runner up of the other group. The winner of those two three-game series will face each other in the Holland Series for the Dutch championship. But unlike previous years, the Holland Series will be played in a best-of-three format.
A new item this season will be a cup tournament. The teams that are ranked three to eight in the standings of the Dutch hoofdklasse and the top two teams of the overgangsklasse (second-tier league) will play seven games. The winner of this cup tournament will face the runner up of the Holland Series in 2021. This so-called semi-final takes only one game. The winner of this game will face the winner of the Holland Series in a matchup for the Eenhoorn Bowl, named after Dutch shortstop Robert Eenhoorn.
Salient detail: clubs can experiment in the cup tournament with the use of youth players and players of other hoofdklasse teams (!). One can really wonder how clubs will allow their players to play for another team…
One thing is sure: There will be no promotion or relegation in any league this year which makes it possible for teams to spend the money they would have used for foreign players for other things.
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