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Updated: January 28, 2018
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(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen)

Netherlands Team Manager Steve Janssen leaves Orange squad to coach in Minor League

NIEUWEGEIN (Neth.) - Steve Janssen has left the Netherlands Baseball Team as its Manager, effective immediately, the Royal Netherlands Baseball and Softball Association (KNBSB) announced on Sunday (January 28). Janssen also confirmed his stepping down.

The reason for the 45-year old Janssen to leave the Orange squad is that he has been appointed Minor League Pitching Coach in the Major League-organization of the Chicago Cubs. Janssen was the Manager of the Netherlands 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.

...Steve Janssen is named Pitching Coach...
...of a Chicago Cubs Minor League-team...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
,,This is an unique opportunity you don't get every day. An opportunity I simply couldn't resist'', said Janssen, who officially handed in his resignation as Netherlands Team Manager on Saturday. ,,This also is a recognition for all those years what you have done as a coach. Like players, coaches also set goals for themselves. And yes, this of course is a great challenge. I'm very proud to have been offered this job. I will work in a great organization with a lot of talented players''.

In 2016, Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. In the last few years, the club is building for the future and also does a lot of work in developing its Minor League-players to prepare them for the Major League. Ten days ago, the Cubs announced its coaching staffs for the Minor League-teams. Janssen's name was not on that list yet. Janssen: ,,We finalized things over the past few days.''

Janssen will work with the young pitchers of the Arizona Cubs, the club's Rookie League-team in the (short season) Arizona League. In the upcoming days, more will become clearly, including when Janssen has to report for Spring Training. Major League Spring Training opens in a few weeks. Janssen probably will travel to Arizona somewhere next month to be in Minor League Spring Training. While the Short Season Rookie League will not start before June, Janssen will work with young payers in the weeks leading up to the new season.

Steve 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).

...Steve Janssen as Manager after winning the...
...2014 European Championship...
(© 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. 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. Recently, Meulens was named Bench Coach of the Giants. During these two Classics, former Major Leaguer Bert Blyleven was the Pitching Coach.

It is not known yet who will be Janssen's successor as Manager of the Netherlands Team. During the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam (Netherlands) last year, Sidney de Jong led the team, while Janssen served in an advisory role. De Jong is the Manager of the Nethelands Under-23 Team. He served as Manager during the WPT to give him some additional preparations in this role for the upcoming European Under-23 Championship, which eventually was won by the Netherlands.

On February 1, Tjerk Smeets becomes the new Technical Director for baseball and softball of the Netherlands Association, succeeding Gijs Selderijk. It is now up to Smeets to start the search for a new Manager.

(January 28)

...Steve Janssen as Bullpen Coach (left) and Manager (right) with Pitching Coach Bert Blyleven and...
...Bench Coach Andruw Jones during the World Baseball Classic 2013 and European Championship 2016...
(© Both Photos: Henk Seppen)

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