Myworld heads back to the States tomorrow. Some notes on my impression of Haarlem, Netherlands and Pim Mulier Stadium. It is a little bit different than about writing about minor league cities and the parks I went to last month.
***Haarlem is a cool place. It gives off a beach vibe with the canals and the sea gulls floating in the air. Every now and then they give out a cry and you feel you are at the beach. Supposedly they have a beach, but that was not my purpose for coming to Haarlem. It was to watch baseball. I never got out to what they call their beach. Coming from San Diego beaches are usually disappointing.
***The city has curvy, winding brick layered streets with a huge town square where it feels pretty nice to find a table at a local eatery, order a beer and just watch the people pedal their bikes past you while you are savoring your beer without a care in the world. Sometimes it makes you wonder where these people are pedaling their bikes.
***Haarlem is noted for being the center of the tulip bulb growing business. When I see tulips sprouting in my front yard each spring I’ll think of Haarlem.
***The New York city Harlem was named by the Dutch settlers after this city. The newer Harlem has gotten better, but when I think of ghettos I think of Harlem, New York. We certainly did a number on that city after the Dutch settlers left.
***There is lots of beer brewing in Haarlem, dating all the way back to the 15th century. They used to make the beer from the water in the canals but that got too polluted so they had to improvise. It makes sense when sitting in the town square to relax and drink a beer brewed in Haarlem. They have a lot of choices for you to make.
***When walking around the brick structured dwellings and businesses that surround the city take a closer look at each of the buildings. Some of the brick or walls date all the way back to the 12th or 15th century. You can still see some of the old writings carved in the leftover stone that is still used to support the newer office building.
***The Honkball tournament is every other July so if you want to watch some baseball and relax in a cool city, visit Haarlem in 2018. If you want to visit in September of this year they will be having the European championships at Pim Mulier stadium. You will see a few more errors than you see in major league baseball, but the atmosphere is good. They have some traditions that are unique to their culture, such as doing deep knee bends whenever a pitcher is changed in the middle innings. They also carry some of the American traditions, such as singing “Take Me out to the Ballgame” during the bottom of the seventh.
***The stadium is Pim Mulier Stadium. It is not a large facility, holding about 3,000, more if you include the tented suites that sit in back of the stands. There are no arm rests to the seats or cupholders, but it is better than bleacher seating. The stadium sits in the middle of a large sports complex that houses other baseball fields, soccer fields and outdoor tennis courts. There was no reserved seating at the tournament, so it is first come first to pick your seat. That becomes critical when you consider the only shade in the stadium is directly behind home plate, covering about 40 seats. For 7 PM starts the sun is still shining in July at 9 PM. Many of the fans bring their umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. They also bring their coolers filled with food and drinks.
***They have a small museum inside the stadium along the third base side. The museum takes you through the history of Dutch baseball. If you can’t speak Dutch you will have to be satisfied with looking at the pictures. The 2011 World Cup champions have a corner there, an event myworld witnessed as the Netherlands upset Cuba for the Gold Medal. The United States team sent a group of minor league players including Travis d”Arnaud. The Netherlands had Didi Gregorius at short, Jonathan Schoop at third base, Xander Boegarts, who played right field but was mainly a bench warmer and others I’m probably forgetting.
***The concessions include a donut stand, lots of ice cream facilities, a kibbling (fish and chips)stand, a candy stand, a place for hamburgers and a bar where you can get beer from the tap. The choices are a little different from what you would see at an American park.
***As far as the stadium itself, there is a scoreboard that records the pitchers velocity and the name of the batter and his batting average. They have a video board in right center field, but that is a little too small to see unless you carry binoculars. The park itself with its chain link fences would be no different than a local college field, though nowadays some of the college baseball fields are ramping up their stadiums to give themselves a minor league look about them. The fences all carry sponsor advertising.
***That’s about it.