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Meulens makes most of opportunity as skipper

Meulens makes most of opportunity as skipper play video for Meulens makes most of opportunity as skipper

SAN FRANCISCO -- If Hensley Meulens' phone rings, he's going to answer it. And if a Major League Baseball club says it is looking for a manager, Meulens is going to listen.

"If in the future, somebody wants to give me a chance, I'll definitely give it a shot," Meulens said Monday, near the end of a memorable experience in the World Baseball Classic.

Throughout the tournament, the San Francisco Giants hitting coach bolstered his already impressive resume with his work managing the Kingdom of the Netherlands to its first semifinal appearance.

And he gained more than a few references along the way.

"We go up there, we play hard and we give them everything we have because [Meulens] deserves it, the way he treats us," said right fielder Wladimir Balentien.

The Dutch arrived in San Francisco appearing loose and carefree, taking after their manager who goes by the moniker "Bam Bam."

"A team takes on the manager's personality," said relief pitcher Leon Boyd. "That is basically what we did. It was relaxed, everybody did their work, and we knew what we needed to do to get ready for games."

The end of his team's most successful trip through the Classic became personal and emotional. "I had my mom on the field today," Meulens said after the 4-1 defeat that sent the Dominican Republic to the championship game against Puerto Rico.

"She's full Dominican. She's the reason why I'm here. My dad was on the field, too. He's full Dutch. So I was in between there. Half of my family is still living in the Dominican Republic. They were pulling for both of us, actually for the Dominican Republic team and for me as Dutch.

"So I have a lot of respect for the Dominican Republic team, the way they played," Meulens went on. "They kind of took it for granted in 2009, but they came to play this year, and that's why they're undefeated and that's why they're going to the finals tomorrow."

When Meulens broke into the big leagues with the Yankees in 1989, he became the first player from the island of Curacao to do so. Players like Andruw Jones took notice.

Earlier this week, multiple Netherlands players talked about idolizing Jones. But before that, a young Jones idolized Meulens.

"Everything starts with Hensley Meulens and getting a chance to open the door for a lot of opportunities for guys from Curacao," Jones said. "So after that, a lot of chances started opening."

Now the Netherlands appears to have earned an international reputation, beating Korea in the opening round of the Classic and also collecting two wins against Cuba along the way.

It's progress for baseball in a place where soccer is king.

"For the first time, I think the biggest TV stations have come out to cover us in the middle of soccer season in the Netherlands," Meulens said. "But we're turning heads. They can't believe that we're getting this far, but that's fine. They're getting used to us getting better."

Meulens already had a positive reputation after helping the Giants win World Series titles in two of the past three seasons.

"As of right now, I'm still the hitting coach for the Giants," Meulens said. "That's what I know how to do best. But in the future, I'll take calls if they want to say 'Hey, this guy can manage.'"

Sam King is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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