Last month, when the CEB announced that the European Champions Cup was canceled due to the coronavirus, the KNBSB (Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Federation) made clear that both Dutch champion L&D Amsterdam Pirates and runner up Curaçao Neptunus would be guaranteed a spot in the 2021 ECC. This can be read on the website of Curaçao Neptunus.
Back then it was not clear if baseball would be played this year in the Netherlands so, with that background, the decision to guarantee an ECC spot to Neptunus and Pirates may be justified. But now baseball can be played after September 1st, the decision does not make sense all of a sudden.
Recently you could read about a(n almost mutilated) season. Two groups of four teams will play three three-game series. The winners of each group will take on the runner up of the other group in a best-of-three playoff/semi-final. The winners of these series will advance to a best-of-three Holland Series. Due to the lack of time, the proposed schedule is the best we can get. But let’s assume that two other teams than the usual ones (Pirates and Neptunus) will advance to the Holland Series, it will mean that both teams will remain empty-handed when it comes to European baseball.
For what I have heard, the decision to favor Pirates and Neptunus over other clubs is that both clubs already had paid money to the CEB to register for the European Champions Cup and so far the CEB did not return the money (in the mean time the CEB has returned the money). But then again, the Italian clubs that registered (Fortitudo Bologna and Nettuno Baseball City) are likely facing the same problem but a decision about who will represent Italy in next year’s ECC still needs to be made.
Again, based on the knowledge that we had in April, the decision made by the KNBSB can be justified but now a season will be played, even though you can hardly call it a season, the winners should represent the Netherlands in the ECC. And very likely those two clubs will be Neptunus and Pirates but with a short season like this, everything is possible. But then again, likely L&D Amsterdam Pirates and Curaçao Neptunus are the only clubs right now with the financial resources to go to the ECC and create a competitive team for that tournament.
Nevertheless, the KNBSB has confirmed to the Dutch Baseball Hangout, that no matter the outcome of the upcoming season, L&D Amsterdam Pirates and Curaçao Neptunus will play in the 2021 ECC. Also because the upcoming season is a weird and short season. As a result, hoofdklasse clubs will only play for the Dutch championship. For the same reason, there will be no promotion to and relegation from the hoofdklasse.
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