KNBSB is putting competition above health

Yesterday, the Dutch government announced several new corona rules. One of them was the rule that no spectators may attend ANY sports game. So also Dutch hoofdklasse games have to be played without fans in the stands.

As a result, the KNBSB posted the new corona rules on its website today. It means games can be played. But then again, the government also said to limit travel as much as possible; only when it is REALLY necessary.

And guess what? Tonight a make up game between Hoofddorp Pioniers and L&D Amsterdam Pirates would be played. But since the field of Pioniers was not fit to be played on, the KNBSB asked the club if they wanted to play in one of the aforementioned cities. The players of Pioniers opted not to play tonight and play on a later date as they rather did not want to risk their health. As a result, the KNBSB threatened to withdraw the team from the competition, demote it to the derde klasse (a fifth-tier league) and to fine them. During a normal season, threats like this would be justified if a team would refuse to play. But 2020 isn’t a normal season. That may be clear by now.

By making this threat to Pioniers, the KNBSB is giving a clear signal: “We think the competition is more important than the health of players.” They are putting the health of players at risk, especially when you force them to play in a city that is a red zone right now. What if there would be a player on the Pioniers squad with a weakened immune system? The KNBSB would put his life at risk thanks to this decision.

Slowly you can wonder if the continuation of the competition is justified. What is at stake? Curaçao Neptunus and L&D Amsterdam Pirates will represent the Netherlands in next year’s European Champions Cup, even if DSS/Kinheim and Quick Amersfoort would have played the Holland Series. Is it really only for the title “champion?” Champion of a season that hardly can be called a season? True, it was good to be out again to watch some baseball games but what is a season of only 21 regular season games worth? For the sake of the health of the players, just quit the season without a champion. IF there really needs to be a champion, appoint Neptunus. Based on the standings of the regular season, that club deserves it. It was the best by far.

Coming Saturday, there is still a game scheduled in the bottom four competition. A make up game between Silicon Storks and Oosterhout Twins. If Twins will win this one, they will end with the same number of wins as Quick Amersfoort and DSS/Kinheim. What is at stake in this group? The fact a team can say, we finished in fifth place? Let’s get real here. The KNBSB is also putting the health of players at risk in this group. Just let it be. Who cares who finishes in fifth place. Do you really think the players are waiting to play a game that is about nothing?

Perhaps the people within the board of the KNBSB should scratch their heads and start to think. Start to think about the fact if the continuation of the 2020 season is justified. No sensible person will agree with them to put the 2020 season above the health of people.

Let’s be clear: Baseball is a game. It is not a matter of life and death. But by continuing the season while the coronavirus is flaring up, it may become a matter of life and death. And that is not worth the risk.

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