take me out to the honkbalveld (your guide to dutch baseball terms)

If you’re watching the World Baseball Classic you are aware that the plucky Netherlands has pulled off the upset of the year by knocking off the Dominican Republic not once but twice to eliminate the perennial powerhouse, if I may use the term perennial for the second ever WBC.

I wondered what the Dutch papers thought about this, so I surfed over to De Telegraaf, an Amsterdam newspaper. I have long sympathized with Dutch sports ever since they fielded a World Cup soccer team full of names like Wim Jonk and Jaap Stam in the 90s, which names were even more fun to hear pronounced by the Spanish-language commentators because in those days not all games were available in English.


So I had to scroll way the hell down the page to find any mention of the story but I am eternally grateful that I did. This was the headline.


You have got to be fucking kidding me. This is too good to be true. The Dutch word for baseball is HONKBALL? HONKBALL? Techinally turns out it is honkbal, one L, but nuts to that.

I wanted to confirm that this wasn’t just some sort of folksy nickname for the Dutch team so I checked out Wikipedia in Dutch (de vrije encyclopedie) and sure enough, honkball. The article was surprisingly easy to semi-translate based on context clues and pretending that it was written by this guy:


My first discovery after HONKBALL was the Dutch word for HITTER, which is SLAGMAN. This is particularly great if you are familiar with the British sense of “slag.” The slagman uses his mighty KNUPPEL. Did you know that in Holland, honkballknuppels zijn van hout of een harde soort lichtmetaal, aluminum? Now you do.

I learned about various locations in the ballpark, like third base which is DERDE HONK, as in I would like to get to derde honk with Rebecca Romijn.

Pitchers are WERPERS. They are always trying to hit the SLAGZONE which as you know is directly over THUISPLAAT between KNIE- and ELLEBOOGHOOGTE.

I am pretty sure my favorite word is one I got from the original article about the game. That word is TWEEHONKSLAG which I am fairly positive means double.

While I’m in a honkball mood, here’s a video which I saw a while ago and then was removed but is now back. It’s about a famous derde honkman who kak in his broeken: George Brett would like to tell you about the time he shit himself.

As the year goes on, Cubs fans will want to keep an eye on the health of linksvelder Alfonso Soriano. Will Carlos Marmol keep werping well? Will Carlos Zambrano hit a grand slam, thus scoring all three honklopers? Only time will tell.

May de partij met de meeste punten wint. But then, they always do.


6 Responses to “take me out to the honkbalveld (your guide to dutch baseball terms)”

  1. Martin Says:

    Honkball = Honkbal
    Derte honk = Derde honk
    Derde honkmen = Derde honkman

    Get your facts right 🙂

  2. Pete Says:

    I have made a few of these changes. Honkball stays with 2 Ls for the reason stated.

  3. Martin Says:

    Check the smiley…remarks were not that serious ..

    Just glad that ‘our’ baseball is on the worlds map right now 🙂 and thank you for writing about it…

  4. d Says:

    this is too funny. especially SLAGMAN. i’m a slagman, actually.

  5. Rudy in Pennsylvania Says:

    Do they learn how to play Honkball in VAAKSCHOL (FUCK SCHOOL ha ha tradeschool) ?

  6. Rudy in Pennsylvania Says:

    Pete, what a great article. Me and my sister laughed ourselves to tears. Coming from a Dutch American family, I can just hear my mother telling me about baseball, talking the same way.

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