A few days before the start of the 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup, Brian Farley, head coach of the Dutch National Team did an interview, talking about the tournament.
How did your Team qualify for the 2011 Baseball World Cup?
Brian Farley: Qualification was achieved during the 2010 European Championships in Germany.
What selection process did you went through to complete the roster for the BWC? Any problems recruiting professional players?
Brian Farley: The selection process is very detailed and requires a number of steps. All teams must submit a provisional roster to MLB which indicates which players you wish to approach. MLB then contacts the organizations to get their permission to approach these players. Once that is in place, we are allowed to contact the players. No current major league player or any player on the 40 man roster is eligible for the BWC.
What are your expectations for the BWC? Which teams are favored in your group and to win it all?
Brian Farley: My expectations are high as I feel we have a very talented team. A place in the quarter finals should be the absolute minimum goal. We have the ability to beat any team that we play however we need to be at our very best to do it. I think that you have to look again at the US and Cuba as the outright favorites to play in the finals. The Canadian team roster is also impressive. A number of teams have yet to submit their rosters so it’s difficult to say how talented they will be.
How important is the BWC in your country?
Brian Farley: Very important in terms of having an international tournament where we can benchmark ourselves against the rest of the world. Now that the Olympics are, for the near future, no longer on the agenda, the World Cup becomes even more vital for us as one of the few remaining worldwide tournaments. Of course the World Baseball Classic remains the granddaddy of all baseball tournaments, however I feel that we need to have a worldwide event at least every two years and the BWC fills that role nicely.
Will you hold a training camp in preparation of the BWC? Will you play exhibition games and if yes, against which teams?
Brian Farley: We currently have three exhibition games scheduled and we are looking at this moment for a fourth. We will play them in Panama and they will be against Panama, Chinese Taipai and Australia.
Competition in the Netherlands ended several weeks before the Baseball World Cup. Except for the players of L&D Amsterdam, how will you try to make up for the lack of playing time?
Brian Farley: This is a challenge as you can imagine. We want to keep our hitters and pitchers sharp during this non competitive period. We do this by running simulated games with our pitchers going live versus our hitters. It’s not ideal but it’s as close as we can get until we play our exhibitions.
Any players missing due to injury or other obligations?
Brian Farley: We miss a number of players who are either in the Major Leagues or who are on 40 man rosters. As well as a couple of players with late season injuries.
Can you introduce to us your coaching staff?
Brian Farley: Steve Jansen is our pitching coach, he is very well respected in his area and has done a great deal to invest in his own development. He was the Head Coach of Neptunus in 2010 and they broke all records in going on to become national champions.
Tjerk Smeets is in his second year as coach. Tjerk is very bright and hard working which is a very desired combination for a head coach. He has taken over the job of hitting coach and done a great job for us thus far.
Wim Martinus has been with the staff for a number of years and is our trusted 3B coach and throws the best BP on the continent.
Last but by no means least is Ben Thijssen who is based in Curacao and is our main contact on the island. He has been with the National Team for many years and served extremely well.