In a stomping Tuesday, Team Netherlands defeated Team Korea 5-0 in their first game of the WBC. Netherlands have positioned themselves as a threat in this World Baseball Classic. Representing the San Francisco Giants on the Netherlands team is none other than their longtime hitting coach, Bam Bam Meulens. Consequently Bam Bam will be the Netherlands coach for the duration of the tournament. Meulens been the Giants main hitting coach after Carney Lansford was fired in 2009. Meulens has been with the team in its successful years but who exactly is this enigmatic former Dutch major leaguer?
Major League Playing Career
Meulens debuted with the New York Yankees in 1989, with whom he’d play for a majority of his career. Signed out of Curacao, Meulens was the first MLB player to come from the small island nation. Now Meulens represents a slew of players from the country that now make up a good chunk of the Dutch WBC team.
He spent his MLB career mostly on bench rosters and never truly made a splash on any team. After his time with the Yankees, Meulens went on to play in Japan for a few years. Meulens again tried his hand at the MLB with the Montreal Expos and Arizona Diamondbacks, again with very little success.
Much of his playing success came with playing for the Netherlands team in the 2000 Olympic team. As a result of Meulens being on the team, he was a deciding factor in the defeat of the Cuban team, whom had previously won 21 games in the Olympics.
Meulens would go on to join the team as a coach in the 2004 Summer Olympics and 2009 WBC. In 2013, Meulens was selected to be the manager for team Netherlands. Now in 2016 the Netherlands has again selected Meulens to manage their national team in the WBC. In 2012 Meulens was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands for his service to the kingdom for both his playing and coaching career.
Coach Muelens has been with the Giants since the 2010 season and many can draw lines to the Giants success since then right back to Muelens. It has been reported that within the Giants organization that its not just Muelens on field expertise that matters, its his overall presence. He tends to try and understand each player on the team an what they need most. In 2014 Muelens was quoted saying “It’s different with every guy, and that’s the beauty of it,” he said. “Marco Scutaro is a guy who always knows what he’s doing, even does a little coaching himself. Micheal Morse just wants me to check on certain keys to his swing, be a set of eyes for him. Buster Posey is all about his mechanics right now, but he’s a natural – doesn’t take him long.”
With the success in recent years the Giants will likely have Bam Bam Meulens coaching for them in the foreseeable future.
Dutch Baseball Moving Forward
Meulens represents a bright future for baseball in the Kingdom of Netherlands. Staring as the first player from the island, now Curacao has seen growth on the Major League level with player like Kenley Jansen and and Jonathan Schoop hailing from there. Muelens himself sees more of a future on the island for baseball. Meuelens runs a baseball academy on Curacao to advance the sport in that region. Most of all Curacao represents a huge chunk of the Netherland team in the 2017 WBC.
Team Netherlands looks poised to make it far in the Tournament this year. The placed 7th overall in 2009 and 4th in 2013. With Meulens back as the teams manager, it be no surprise if they got further than they did in 2013. Look for Meuelens and Team Netherlands when they face off against Chinese Taipei this Wednesday March 8th.