by European Baseball Coaches Association
After the first round that saw a pretty heavy participation of baseball fans around Europe, 5 coaches have made it to the final round of the EBCA Coach of the Year election process.
It’s now time for the EBCA members to elect the coach who will succeed Brian Farley on the prestigious list.
The 5 finalists are coming from very different backgrounds and experienced success in very different ways in 2012.
Let’s take a look at our finaliists, in alphabetical order.
John Baum – Bern Cardinals
Baum played college baseball at Dayton JC (Ohio), before moving to Indiana Tech, getting 2 All American selections there.
In 2003, he came over to Europe leading the Dornbirn Indians to a championship.
In Bern since 2005, he won 5 titles as a player-coach with the Cardinals along with 3 Euro Cup Qualifiers.
This year though, Baum took his team in a place where no Swiss team had ever been. They won the qualifier in bulgaria then prevailed against Montpellier in the next round to punch a ticket, the first ever for Swiss baseball, to the Euro Cup A-Pool.
Bern is in the race for a 6th chamionship during his tenure as they will start the Swiss Series this week-end, looking to cap a 23-5 with another achievement.
Marco Mazzieri – Italian National Team
Mazzieri, who spoke for the EBCA in Prague last year, played as an outfielder for Grosseto from 1982 to 2000. He also played 87 games for the Italian National team.
He then coached gropsseto to a semi-final in 2002 and the Italian junior national team to a European title in 2005.
In 2007 he took over as the manager of the Squdra Azzura, leading Italy to a title in 2010.
This year, team Italy, took the European Championship for the second straight time, beating the World champion Netherlands and finishing undefeated in the tournament.
Mauro Mazzotti – Spain National Team
In his playing days, Mazzotti had a stint in the Italian top League.
But he really made a name for himself in the administrative roles, becoming the first coach to win Italian championships with 3 different teams.
He scouted for the Seattle mariners from 1994 to 2006 before becoming the European scouting coordinator for the Houston Astros
He became the manager of Spain national team in 2009, starting with a dismal 9th place that year.
Mazzotti won the CEB Coach of the Year Award in 2010.
In 2012, Spain had a really strong Euro Championship good for a bronze medal. A couple weeks later, Spain defeated Israel, France and South Africa to clinch a spot on the World’s biggest stage, the WBC.
In addition to that, Mazzotti, General manager for San Marino since 2011, won the Italian Championship, making of 2012 a year to remember.
Jorge Miqueleiz – CB Barcelona
Miqueleiz played in Spain’s Division de Honor from 1994 to 2010. He took part to many European championships and won a few national titles.
As a coach, he managed FC Barcelona’s U18 program for 2 years, and was on the staffs of the U18 and U21 Catalonian team as well as the U18 national team.
He is also the Development manager for Barcelona for 3 years.
He took over as the head coach from Barcelona this year, and took a team that was, on paper at least, weaker than the previous year to a Spanish Championship as a rookie Division de honor manager.
Miqueleiz was also selected by EBCA for the Exchange Coach Program and attended Instructional League with the Brewers, making it back to Europe a few days ago.
Justin Prinstein – Hungary national Team
Prinstein played college baseball at NCAA D1 George Washngton University before coming over to Europe to play in Belgium, Netherlands, Israel, Germany and Hungary.
In 2011 he became pitching coach for the Hungary before taking over as the head coach in 2012.
Before coming over to Budapest, he worked camps for underpriviledged inner-city kids aged 6 to 10 in Detroit.
The achievement of Prinstein are not measured in wins and losses but more on little victories that can be achieved in a country withut a strong baseball tradition.
As the head Coach of Hungary’s National Program, Prinstein has worked on changing mentalities, recruiting kids in schools, trying to bring a new Hungary brand of baseball in the clubs, rasing funds for his team to go play abroad despite late minute withdrwal from government funding,…
Prinstein has been praised by his interaction with kids during the little league qualifier U16. EBCA received messages of praise on how he handled himself and how he continued to teach the game the right way all alog the tournament.
Printein’s Hungary hasn’t won any major tournament, even if it showed improvement, but he turn the words “It’s impossible in Hungary” into, “let’s do it”, like when he expanded the National team roster to 40 to be able to play intrasquad games regularly in order to have his players to gain game experience, defeating tradition and distance.
Who will be the 2012 EBCA Coach of the Year? It’s up to you, our members to decide…
The EBCA Coach of the Year 2012 will be announced in Mulhouse during the 9th EBCA Convention, November 9 to 11.