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Updated: September 10, 2013
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Sidney de Jong leaves Amsterdam for National Team

...Sidney de Jong coaching for Amsterdam...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
AMSTERDAM (Neth.) - Head Coach Sidney de Jong is leaving L&D Amsterdam Pirates, as he was added to the coaching-staff of the Dutch National Baseball Team. On Sunday, Amsterdam was eliminated for the Holland Series after losing 2-1 at Vaessen Pioniers, which therefore qualified for the best-of-seven season's final. John Witte, sponsor and former chairman of Amsterdam Pirates, announced and confirmed the departure of De Jong tonight (Tuesday, September 10). A successor has not yet been named, but the announcement is expected later this week. The Dutch Federation (KNBSB) also announced the naming through a press release on Tuesday.

Sidney de Jong concluded his playing career after the 2012 season and was named Head Coach, replacing Charles Urbanus, who had resigned. In the 2013 season, he made his debut as coach and was assisted by Roeland Henrique (1B coach), Ronald Jaarsma (3B coach) and active players Percy Isenia (hitting coach) and Rob Cordemans (pitching coach).

In the coaching-staff of the Dutch National Baseball Team, Sidney de Jong succeeds Tjerk Smeets as Hitting Coach. Smeets left the national team after completion of the World Port Tournament, which was held in July in Rotterdam (Netherlands). On July 3, Smeets was named the new Team Manager of the professional soccer team Ajax from Amsterdam, succeeding David Endt. Smeets started his new job on July 10. With the Dutch Team, Smeets combined coaching with the position of Team Manager until last year. The last years, Smeets also worked at the head office of the Dutch Federation (KNBSB) as Marketing Manager.

This Summer, there have been talks between Amsterdam Pirates and Robert Eenhoorn, technical director of the KNBSB, as well as with Sidney de Jong and John Witte, who in July stepped down as Chairman of the club. ,,When you get an opportunity like this, I can understand the decision'', Witte stated. In a release, Witte added: ,,Sidney has proven qualities and has meant a lot for Dutch baseball, he belongs on this level. For us, of course this is unfortunate, but Amsterdam Pirates wishes him a lot of success.''

From the beginning of the season, Amsterdam Pirates was one of the favorites to reach the Holland Series. The team battled with DOOR Neptunus for first place in the regular season. As expected, the team qualified for the Play-Offs, but in the final weeks of the season, the squad struggled somewhat and tumbled to fourth place. Amsterdam finished the season with a 28-13 record and one tie to finish 11 points (5 1/2 games) behind league-leader Neptunus. Corendon Kinheim took second place and was followed by Pioniers. The point-difference between Kinheim and Amsterdam was only three points (1 1/2 game).

...A concentrated Sidney de Jong...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In the 9-game Play-Offs, Amsterdam won one of its three games of the opening series against Neptunus, then won two of the next three games against Kinheim. Next, it opened its final series against Pioniers with an 11-0 shutout-win to close in qualifying for the Holland Series. Amsterdam needed one win in the final two games, but was shutout 2-0 on Saturday to set up an all-deciding final game on Sunday. At Hoofddorp, Pirates and Pioniers played an exciting game, which was won 2-1 by Pioniers on a walk-off double in the ninth inning.

Sidney de Jong: ,,It's unfortunate to say goodbye to L&D Amsterdam, a team and club for which I played with a lot of fun, but now have to stop as Head Coach. The opportunity to coach with the Dutch Team is another step ahead. After some good talks with both John witte and Robert Eenhoorn, I decided to go ahead with this new challenge. Due to lack of time, a combination of coaching a clubteam and the National Team is not possible. I'm very thankful to have been given the opportunity to gain experience as coach at L&D Amsterdam. I've learned a lot this year. It has been a fine year and I want to thank the board, the players and the supporters of L&D Amsterdam for all their support''.

Robert Eenhoorn adds: ,,Sidney de Jong has been an important pillar for the Dutch Team for years. He not only experienced most successes of the Dutch Team, but he also played an important part in it. As a player, Sidney had everything for which we stand as Dutch Team: professionaal, disciplined and a winner.'' This month, De Jong completes the so-called TC-4 coach course. Eenhoorn: ,,In the past years, he focused more on coaching and developed well. Besides that, Sidney knows, as a professional hitter, what it needs to be successful.''

Sidney de Jong was named Head Coach of Amsterdam after completion of last season and it was officially confirmed during the All Star Game on September 2. Shortly before, De Jong had concluded his active playing career, after he already had retired from the National Team in January of last year. De Jong, who was a catcher and sometimes 1st baseman/DH, made his big league-debut in 1998 playing for Amsterdam Pirates. De Jong left Amsterdam after the 2000 season to play for Kinheim, where he played for two seasons. He then played for Mr. Cocker HCAW in 2003-2006, before returning to Amsterdam, where he played since 2007. In his career, De Jong was his team's best hitter seven times. In eight of his last nine seasons, De Jong collected 40 or more basehits. He batted .300 or higher in 14 of his big league-seasons, highlighted by a .450 average in his rookie season in 1998.

De Jong made his debut as player in the Dutch National Team in 1998. A few years later, he became a core member of the squad and later was the team's captain. In his international career, De Jong played in more than 30 big events, including the Olympic Games in 2004 (Athens, Greece) and 2008 (Beijing, China), two World Baseball Classics (2006, 2009), five World Championships (2003, Cuba; 2005, Netherlands; 2007, Taiwan; 2009, Europe; 2011, Panama), five European Championships (2001, Germany; 2003, Netherlands; 2005, Czech Republic; 2007, Spain; 2010, Germany), three Intercontinental Cups (2002, Cuba; 2006, Taiwan; 2010, Taiwan), five Haarlem Baseball Weeks (2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010), four World Port Tournaments (2003, 2007, 2009, 2011), two European Baseball Series (2006, 2009), two Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (2003, 2007) and one Pre-Olympic Tournament (2004, Italy). In 2011, he captured the world title with the Dutch Team during the World Championship in Panama. After conclusion of the event, De Jong received a Royal Knighthood.

(September 10)

...Sidney de Jong with fellow-coaches Percy Isenia (left)...
...and Rob Cordemans (right)...

...Something in the making?...
...National Team Manager Steve Janssen meets Sidney de Jong...
...on July 21 in Dordrecht when Amsterdam plays at The Hawks...
(© Photos: Henk Seppen)

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