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Updated: December 2, 2018
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(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen)

Steve Janssen new Manager German National Baseball Team

FRANKFURT AM MAIN (Germany) - Belgian baseball-coach and former Netherlands Team-Manager Steve Janssen has been named the new Manager of the German National Baseball Team, as well as the German Under-23 Team effective January 1, 2019. The Deutscher Baseball und Softball Verband (DBV) made the announcement on Tuesday (November 27). Janssen succeeds Martin Helmig.

...Steve Janssen... Manager Germany...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
On January 28 of this year, Steve Janssen stepped down as Manager of the Netherlands Baseball Team effective immediately after he was appointed Minor League Pitching Coach in the Major League-organization of the Chicago Cubs. This Summer, Janssen worked with the young pitchers of the Arizona Cubs, the club's Rookie League-team in the (short season) Arizona League.

Dirk Fries, the Sports Director of the German Baseball and Softball Association, stated: ,,The sporting performances of all our national teams in the past twelve months have led us to a strategic change. We are of the opinion that we need to more closely integrate our National and Under-23 Teams We think that with Steve Janssen this is in good hands due to his enormous experience at the highest level. I am convinced that with him, we give a positive impulse for the Olympic qualification year 2019.''

Mirko Heid, President of the DBV added: ,,We are pleased, that with Steve Janssen, we were able to bring in an European successful manager. He knows the needs of the European top baseball, is experienced in building programs, knows what is needed on this level and with that, he can bring us forward.''

In the announcement, Steve Janssen said: ,,I look forward to the opportunity to further develop the German National and Under-23 Baseball Teams. It is an exciting task to improve the performance of both teams, as well as to work with a variety of young and talented players and to accompany future internationals in their development at the top. I thank the DBV for the trust placed in me to lead the German Team to a successful European Championship 2019 and to close the gap with the two top countries in European baseball.''

...Steve Janssen as Manager during the...
...2014 European Championship in...
...Brno (Czech Republic)...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
This means that Janssen will not return to the USA next year. With the Chicago Cubs, Janssen had signed an one-year contract to work with young and talented pitchers this season in the Arizona League, which is one of the Rookie Leagues. Janssen can look back to a successful season with AZL Cubs 1. In the regular season, the team finished with an 38-18 overall record, which was the best in the AZL. With that, the team not only qualified for the Play-Offs but got a bye for the First Round. In the best-of-one Second Round, the Cubs won 8-7 against AZL Rangers by scoring two runs in the tenth inning to advance to the Final. In the best-of-three Championship Series, the Cubs faced AZL Dodgers. In the opener, the Dodgers won 7-3, then the Cubs won the second game with a 2-0 shutout. On September 1, Game 3 was won by the Dodgers, 6-5. And with that, there was success for both the Dodgers and Curaçao-born outfielder Aldrich de Jongh, who celebrated his 20th birthday on that day. In his first professional season, De Jongh was the lead-off hitter for the Dodgers and went 2-for-5 in the decisive game.

The pitching-staff of the Cubs did very well. The Cubs led the Arizona League in victories (38), but also had the best ERA (3.06). The pitchers of the Cubs also gave up the third least basehits (403) and runs (238) and the second least earned runs (170).

Steve Janssen told Grand Slam * Stats & News that he got three offers after the season to continue coaching in the Minor League, but also from the German Federation. Janssen: ,,I was weighing my options, some plusses here, some plusses there, but in the end, I decided to go to Germany. I see this as a very sportive challenge, as Germany has some very talented, young players, who really can be successful in the near future. Germany is a sportive country, which wants to perform. Besides that, I now will be closer to home, which is also very important to me due to some family circumstances.''

Janssen succeeds Martin Helmig, who led the National Team since June 2016. In previous years, Helmig had been very successful as a club-coach. In 1999-2007, Helmig was the Head Coach of Paderborn Untouchables, at first as a player/coach. He led Paderborn to six German Championship-titles. In 2008-2014, Helmig was the Head Coach of Regensburg Legionäre with whom he won five German titles. Hereafter, Helmig was the Sports Director of Deggendorf Dragons. The 57-year old Helmig comes from a wellknown baseball-family. He is the son of German baseball-legend and pioneer Claus Helmig, who passed away in 2016 at age 80. Both Claus and his brother Jürgen Helmig played in the German National Team for many years.

...Martin Helmig as Manager of Germany...
...during this years Baseball Week Haarlem...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
This year, Helmig led the German National Team when it participated for the first time in the Baseball Week Haarlem in Haarlem (Netherlands). In September, he returned to the Netherlands when Germany participated in the first edition of the Super 6 Baseball Softball in Hoofddorp. There, Germany finished in fifth place. The Netherlands won the Super 6. During the European Championship of 2016, also in Hoofddorp, Germany finished in fourth place.

,,We thank Martin Helmig for his work'', Mirko Heid said. ,,Martin is and will remain one of our main signboards. We are hopeful that he will remain closely connected with the DBV.''

Next year, Germany hosts the 35th edition of the European Baseball Championship from September 6-15. The games will be played in Bonn and Solingen. The five best teams of the Championship qualify for the European African Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which will immediately follow the European Championship. The winner of that event qualifies for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo (Japan).

The 46-year old Steve Janssen was the Manager of the Netherlands National Team since April 2013 when he succeeded Brian Farley. Before that, Janssen already served two periods as Pitching Coach of the Netherlands Team. He was a member of the coaching-staff in 2002-2005, then returned in 2010.

Janssen has been active in Dutch baseball for 18 years, both as a club-coach and a National Team-coach. The former catcher made his debut in the highest Belgian Baseball League at age 15 in 1987, playing for Brasschaat Braves. With this team, he participated in European Cup-tournaments and won the Belgian champion-title seven times. As a player of the Belgian National Team, Janssen participated in the European Championship in 1995. After he retired as player in 1997, Janssen was the Head Coach of Brasschaat in 1998 and 1999 and guided he team to the Belgian title in 1999.

Steve Janssen then made his coaching-debut in the Dutch competition in 2000 when he was the Head Coach of DOOR Tridents, the second team of Neptunus. He led Tridents in 2000-2003 in the First Division, but in August 2002, he also was added as Pitching Coach to the coaching staff of the Netherlands Baseball Team, which was then led by Robert Eenhoorn. As Pitching Coach, Janssen succeeded Brian Farley, whom he later also succeeded as Manager. With the Orange squad, he celebrated the European title in 2003 and 2005 and also participated in the Olympic Games of 2004 in Athens (Greece).

...As Orange Manger, Steve Janssen celebrates the title at the...
...2016 European Championship in Hoofddorp (Netherlands)...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
The Dutch Team and Janssen separated after the 2005 Championship. Farley returned as Pitching Coach and Janssen became the 3B Coach for DOOR Neptunus in the Dutch big league for the 2006 season. In 2007, Janssen left coaching and became the Technical Director of the Belgian Baseball Federation. But in 2008, he returned to coaching and was the Head Coach of Sparta-Feyenoord in the Dutch big league. In 2009 and 2010, Janssen was the Head Coach of DOOR Neptunus and led the Rotterdam-team to the Dutch championship in both years. He was named Coach of the Year in 2009.

In 2010, Steve Janssen returned as Pitching Coach to the coaching staff of the Dutch National Team, which was then led by American Jim Stoeckel. In 2011, Brian Farley succeeded Stoeckel and led the Orange squad to the title at the World Championship in Panama. Farley also led the Netherlands in 2012, but stepped down shortly before the World Baseball Classic 2013. After the Classic, Janssen was named new Manager in April 2013. With the Netherlands, the Belgian coach captured the titles at the European Championship in 2014 and 2016. In 2014, Janssen won the Coach of the Year Award for the second time in his Dutch career. In both 2009 and 2014, Janssen also was named Coach of the Year twice by the European Baseball Coaches Association during its annual convention.

As Bullpen Coach, Janssen was a member of the coaching-staff when the Netherlands reached the Semi-Final of the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2017. Both times, the team was led by Hensley Meulens, who then was the Hitting Coach of Major League-club San Francisco Giants. After the 2017 season, Meulens was named Bench Coach of the Giants. During these two Classics, former Major Leaguer Bert Blyleven was the Pitching Coach. In 2015, Janssen was the Bench Coach of Meulens during the first edition of the Premier12. Earlier in 2015, Janssen was the Manager of the European All Star Team against Samurai Japan during the Global Baseball Match in Tokyo (Japan).

During the 2017 World Port Tournament in Rotterdam (Netherlands), Janssen served in an advisory rol when Sidney de Jong led the Netherlands Team as its Manager. De Jong served as Manager to give him some additional preparations in this role as Manager of the Netherlands Under-23 Team for the European Under-23 Championship, which followed the World Port Tournament a month later. The Championship was won by the Netherlands. In November-December 2017, Janssen was the Manager of the WBSC European/USA All-Star Team in the fifth edition of the Asia Winter Baseball League.

Evert-Jan 't Hoen succeeded Janssen as Manager of the Netherlands Team in April.

(December 2)

Related Articles:
Orange MGR Janssen leaves; Becomes Minor League Coach. (January 28)
Evert-Jan 't Hoen new MGR Netherlands Team; Robin van Doornspeek PC. (April 30)

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