WBSC announces Team Europe coaching staff 2024
09/12/2023 3 Minute Read

WBSC announces Team Europe coaching staff 2024

Global Baseball Games: WBSC announces Marco Mazzieri's Team Europe coaching staff. The seven-coach staff will feature Steve Janssen who managed Team Europe in 2015.

Team Europe will be playing at the Global Baseball Games against Samurai Japan. The event is scheduled for March 6 and 7 2024 at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan.

"This staff brings a lot of baseball knowledge to the team," commented Mazzieri. "I think the players will receive adequate support to perform at their best."

The bench coach is Olympian and former baseball world champion Sydney De Jong. Born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1979, De Jong has starred as the Dutch National Team slugging catcher, leading them to a Baseball World Cup win in 2011, two Intercontinental Cup silver medals (2006 and 2010) and four European titles. He is currently the Dutch U-23 National Team manager.

Former Italian National Team ace pitcher Alessandro Maestri will be the pitching coach. Born in Cesena, Italy, in 1985, Maestri debuted in the Italian Baseball League as a 20-year-old. In 2006, he signed for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball (MLB) and competed at various minor league levels. He played for the Oryx Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) from 2012 to 2015. He also played in the Australian Baseball League (ABL) and the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). He helped Mazzieri's Italy win a bronze medal in the Intercontinental Cup in 2010 and played for Team Europe in 2015. He is a pitching coach in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Dutch Olympian Evert Jan T’Hoen will be the infield coach. Born in 1975 in Alphen aan den Rijn, he helped the Netherlands win four European Titles in two decades. He represented his country at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics. He played in affiliated baseball in the United States from 2006 to 2011, appearing in 485 minor league games, including 66 at Triple-A. He mainly played shortstop. He has managed the Dutch National Team since 2018 after winning four Dutch titles with Neptunus Rotterdam.

Steve Janssen, who managed Team Europe in 2015, will coach at third base. Born in Wilrijk, near Antwerp, Belgium, in 1972, he was a catcher in the Belgian league. He represented his country at the 1993 and 1995 European Championships. He won the Belgian league as the Brasschaat Braves in 1999. He coached Neptunus Rotterdam, leading them to a pennant in 2009 and 2010, and Sparta Feyenoord in the Netherlands. He also served as the Belgian Federation technical director in 2007. Janssen was the Dutch National Team pitching coach from 2003 to 2005 and the manager from 2010 to 2018. After a two-year experience in the Chicago Cubs organization (2018, 2019), he became the German National Team manager through 2022. He founded Baseball Action ID, a start-up specialising in motor preferences.

Czech National Team manager Pavel Chadim will coach at first base. Born in Brno, Czechia, in 1971, he was a star outfielder in the Czech ExtraLiga. He started at Technica Brno, then was part of eight pennant-winning Draci Brno teams. After managing the U-21 National Team in 2012, he earned the job of National Team manager in 2021. In 2023, he became the first skipper to lead Czechia in the World Baseball Classic.

Aritz Garcia will work as the bullpen coach. Born in Pamplona, Spain, in 1989, Garcia helped his country win the 2008 U-21 European title. He developed further as a player in the US collegiate baseball. He competed for the Colby Community College and the University of San Francisco. He played professionally in the independent Frontier League and Pacific Association, mostly at shortstop. While pursuing a master's degree in sports management, he served as a coach at the University of San Francisco. He served under manager Nelson Prada on the 2023 European Champion Spanish National Team.

Last but not least, Luis Camargo completes the coaching staff. He will also contribute as a batting practice pitcher and bullpen catcher. Born in Tatui, Brazi, in 1976, he played in the Japanese Industrial Leagues for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries from 1998 to 2002. He represented Brazil internationally and worked as an instructor at the Yakult Ibiuna Academy in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Being a dual citizen, he played in the Italian Baseball League and represented Italy internationally, playing also for Mazzieri. He later moved to Austria and coached the Schwaz Tigers. He managed the Wiener Neustadt Diving Ducks to the 2023 Austrian Bundesliga pennant.

Gianni Natale will be the strength and conditioning coach, and Massimo Baldi will be the Team Europe trainer. They worked on Mazzieri's Italian National Team staff from 2007 to 2017.

Mazzieri, 61, is the WBSC Coach Commission Chairman. After leading Italy to back-to-back European titles (2010, 2012), an Intercontinental Cup bronze medal (2010) and the World Baseball Classic top eight (2013), he dedicated himself to grassroots baseball and player development.

"I'm beyond grateful for the opportunity," he added. "Representing Europe in the Global Baseball Games is a huge honour."

Mazzieri is working on a pre-selection of 53 players.

"I'm not going to name the players we are considering. Most compete in the European leagues, but we also consider players under contract with MLB organizations and other professional leagues."

He said on a final note: "The final 28-man roster will include 14 pitchers."