Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Venezuela managers discuss final Olympic baseball qualifier

Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Venezuela managers discuss final Olympic baseball qualifier
Jose Alguacil (VEN), Hensley Meulens (NED) and Hector Borg (DOM) spoke with media members during a virtual press conference on Monday.

The managers of worlds No. 8 Venezuela, No. 9 Netherlands and No. 10 Dominican Republic participated in the WBSC Baseball Final Qualifier pre-event press conference, held virtually from Puebla, Mexico, ahead of tomorrow's opening.

Both Dominican Republic and Venezuela played in the Americas Qualifier two weeks ago, but have had to make some changes in the roster for the tournament in Puebla.

“After [the Americas qualifier in] Florida, we had to make some replacements, but we’re happy with them. We’re ready to go and focused on making it to Tokyo,” said Dominican Republic National Team Hector Borg.

Venezuela National Team manager Jose Alguacil said: “We had to make some changes...we were able to get some players from the Mexican league, guys that have more experience than the players we had in Florida. We start with Dominican Republic, a team that put a good show in Florida, but now we’re ready to make the extra step and go to Tokyo.”

Netherland National Team manager Hensley Meulens said: “Our team is always confident...we don’t have a lot of professional guys, we have a lot of amateur players from the Dutch Hoofdklasse...But we’re confident that these guys can come to a short tournament, like we have done in the past, and show passion for the game and respect for our opponents to try to come on top.”

Meulens added: “It’s an honour to represent my motherland. I’ve been twice in the Olympics with the Netherlands, as a player in Sydney 2000 and as a coach in Athens 2004. As I told my players yesterday, it’s the highest honour to represent your country and play in the Olympics.”

The three managers know each other very well. Alguacil, Borg and Meulens shared working time as players and coaches in MLB’s San Francisco Giants organisation.

“I’m very happy to share this tournament with Alguacil, who is like a baseball big brother for me and ‘Bam Bam’ Meulens, who is like our godfather,” said Borg. “I’m excited to be here and we’re ready to put a big show and enjoy it.”

First game of the final Olympic baseball qualifier is scheduled for tomorrow, 22 June, at 5 p.m., when Venezuela takes on Dominican Republic at the Hermanos Serdán stadium.