In a news letter, the KBBSF (Royal Belgian Baseball and Softball Federation) has announced that the highest Belgian League will be completely different for the 2021 season. After the league was shrunk from eight teams to six in 2017, it will be expanded on a much larger scale.
The news letter started with the statement that those teams that won the championships of each of their leagues and those that finished last will not be promoted or demoted.
Based on the outcome of the 2019 season, the major change in Belgian baseball in four years has been announced. The Belgian Baseball Gold league (the highest league in the country) will be merged with the “Eerste Klasse” and will be named “Top League.”
This top league will contain two groups of six teams. So all teams that played in the Eerste Klasse last year, will be in the highest league, except for the Beveren Lions, that will be replaced by the Brussels Kangaroos.
With this change, there will be a lot of common names back in the highest Belgian League as the following teams have played on the highest level before: Antwerp Eagles, Gent Knights, Mont-Saint Guibert Phoenix, Mortsel Stars, and the Namur Angels. Only the Brussels Kangaroos are a new name in the highest Belgian ranks. Of course the following Baseball Gold League teams will remain at the highest level: Borgerhout Squirrels, Brasschaat Braves, Deurne Spartans, Hoboken Pioneers, Merchtem Cats, and Royal Greys.
According to the news letter, the arrangement of the two divisions will be based on the results of the 2019 season, with the exception of the Brussels Kangaroos as they played in the “Tweede Klasse” in that year but earned a promotion to the Eerste Klasse.
Two round robins will be played. The first one will be played on Saturdays with doubleheaders of two games of seven innings. Also the second round robin will be played on Saturdays with doubleheaders. But one game will take nine innings, one game seven.
At the end of both round robins, the top three teams of each division will take on each other in the Gold League. The bottom three of each division will face each other in the Silver League. In the Gold League, each team will play two nine-inning games in each round. Home teams have the right to say how they will play: A doubleheader on Saturday or the games split on Saturday and Sunday.
In the Silver League, per round two doubleheaders of seven inning-games will be played on Saturday.
The top two teams of the Gold League will advance to the championship series, The Belgian Series. The team that finishes last in the Silver League, will be demoted to the Tweede Klasse. The two teams that reach the Belgian Series earn the right to play in European tournaments. The champion will participate in the highest possible European Tournament.
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2 Replies to “Big changes in Belgium’s Top Baseball League for 2021”
Exactly my thoughts. With six teams that are more or less equal they can keep the level up. Now the level will deteriorate IMHO.
I do not know anything about Belgian baseball at all, but from a neutral point of view I wonder if the new organization of this league will affect quality. Will this lead to less encounters between the top teams (because they are separated in different divisions and will play more divisional games) or is it just more of a “visual” separation where teams are separated in divisions but all teams face one and other the equal amount of times?
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