New in The Dutch hoofdklasse: A Player’s Council

According to the local newspaper Haarlems Dagblad, players of the Dutch hoofdklasse will get a serious voice in the talks about next season’s schedule. According to the newspaper, a player’s council has been erected.

The Dutch Baseball and Softball Federation, KNBSB, has decided to erect a players council.
Likely this is an attempt to keep hoofdklasse players playing. In the past decade, a lot of hoofdklasse players decided to play at a lower level or to hang up their spikes because the number of games (three per week) is interfering with their private life/ professional career too much. And this while baseball is still an amateur sport.

Every hoofdklasse club will have one representative. The Haarlems Dagblad only named the representatives of the clubs located in the Haarlem area: Jochem Koedijk for DSS/Kinheim and Mark Smit for Hoofddorp Pioniers. The chairman of the player’s council will be Berend Ruben of HCAW from Bussum, which is not located near Haarlem btw. Yours truly asked the KNBSB for the other names: Dwayne Kemp (Curaçao Neptunus), Gilmer Lampe (L&D Amsterdam Pirates), Twan Naessens (Silicon Storks), Bryan Engelhardt (Quick Amersfoort), and Raf Cocu (Oosterhout Twins).

According to Jochem Koedijk, the games on Thursday night are getting less popular among the players. It is hard to get on time and most of the players need to be at work or school/college the next day. Koedijk stated that they are thinking about playing games on Friday night and on Saturday or Sunday afternoon. In this way, the players will also have some time to spend with their families and friends.

The structure of this year’s competition schedule didn’t leave a lot of room for vacation. Partially, COVID-19 can be blamed for that, but still, the sport is amateur and many players would like to spend some time on a vacation as well.

Another point in the schedule are the games on holidays, like Easter. The players wonder if this is can be changed. According to Koedijk, the long preparation time before a game should be shortened smartly.

Gijs Seldenrijk, the account manager top competitions of the KNBSB, is positive about the initiative. “In the past, we only talked about the competition with the boards of the hoofdklasse clubs. Now we will talk with the coaches and the players. By doing so, we are executing an old plan to listen to the opinions of the players.”

The player’s council has forwarded a questionnaire to all hoofdklasse players. The answers of the questionnaire will be processed into a piece of advice that we will send to the KNBSB as their contribution.

Especially the number of games has been an issue in the past few years. It is known that the top two teams will likely oppose the downsizing of the number of games. Especially manager Ronald Jaarsma of Curaçao Neptunus is opposed to playing fewer games. But if this will keep hoofdklasse players from playing at a lower level or even calling it quits, perhaps it is worth considering. As Jochem Koedijk stated: “Fewer games also means that you don’t need three starting pitchers.” This could also mean that clubs need fewer position players. As a result, those players that are not signed to a new contract can move to other hoofdklasse clubs, so the number of players can be divided more evenly.

The main reason for playing three games per week is that the quality level of Dutch baseball will be maintained. If that is really the case, you may wonder why Parmaclima from Italy has won the European Champions Cup, as this year the Italian Serie A has downsized to two games per week…

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