WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC: SECOND ROUND, POOL 2
Q. How is your success being received back in Italy and what kind of feedback have you guys been getting?
MARCO MAZZIERI: Well, I’ve been away for so long that I honestly don’t know what’s been the media coverage actually. But from what I’m hearing, from what I’ve heard, the last few days are really getting a little bigger as far as covering this event. It didn’t start off that way, kind of‑‑ we’re not only the underdogs here, but we were also the underdogs in Italy. So we got pretty much the same treatment. Hopefully, again‑‑ somebody is telling me the last few days there’s been more.
Q. How about playing this team, DR, is that what you think, and for your players, as well?
MARCO MAZZIERI: Well, let’s say that 50 percent of this team, it’s the same group of guys that we had last September in the European Championship. And in the last few years we’ve been winning a lot, we’ve been traveling a lot around the world. We won a bronze medal in Chinese Taipei in 2010. We beat Korea, Japan, and Chinese Taipei in a row during that tournament. This is a team that now plays not scared. We just respect everybody, but we know what we can do and we’re focused on that.
Q. Talk about what people don’t know and Italy and baseball and what’s going on in the country. What would you tell the world about what’s going on in Italy and baseball?
MARCO MAZZIERI: Well, it’s kind of strange to explain, but in 2007‑‑ I want to go back to 2007, which is the first year that my staff and I took over as a staff for this national team. Nobody knows it, but we beat USA during that championship. That was their only loss in the tournament, and they had quite a team. They had Evan Longoria, Cole Erasmus, Bixler, Justin Ruggiano and LaRoche. They had many guys, and they ended up winning that world Championship in Chinese Taipei beating Cuba and Chapman in the final, but nobody knows about that. And nobody knows about the fact that we beat the Dutch team twice back to back in 2010 and ’12, even though they were the world champions beating Cuba in November ’11. So it’s strange because this team has been winning a lot lately, but people don’t know for some reason. I don’t know what to really answer because what we can do is try to play good baseball and go out there and win games, which has been happening, but still, we don’t get recognition for that. We don’t mind. We can’t really control that, so we just go out, play hard, and these guys are really something else.
Q. Are you prepared for the game tomorrow, even if you don’t know who the team is going to be?
ALESSANDRO MAESTRI: I’ll be practicing. I’m ready. It doesn’t really matter who the team is going to be. It’s up to me, I’ve just got to do my job tomorrow. I’m going to go out there and just try to keep the game as close as I can for the team to‑‑ for the lineup to then score and win the game.
Q. Are you going to address the team and have them motivated today?
MARCO MAZZIERI: The motivation today is the guys are focused, they’re having fun, and that’s been taking us here, the fact that we’re playing as a team, that we’re playing together, no matter who’s playing, how they’re playing, we just play as a team and have fun playing as a team.
Q. The lineups are going to be stronger and stronger as the tournament goes on.
ALESSANDRO MAESTRI: Of course. It’s going to be harder and harder to pitch against these guys, but we’ve seen already in a match where wins go to the next round, anything can happen. You’ve just got to be‑‑ you’ve just got to execute and be as close to perfection as you can be. It’s just going to be up to that tomorrow and today.
Q. Talk about the impact of the Major Leaguers on your squad, what that means to the guys and the growth of the sport.
MARCO MAZZIERI: Well, I think they are Major League players, but the first thing for me is they’re Major League people because they are great guys and they really mesh well with our group of guys. We wanted those guys to be here with us because they were here four years ago, Team Italy in the Classic in Toronto, and we know what kind of people we were getting. So I really made sure that they were coming back because the experience they bring and the atmosphere that they bring in the clubhouse, it’s something that is good for our young guys to look at as an example, and that’s what they’ve been so far and what they were four years ago. They’re an example, but they don’t really kind of act like Major Leaguers, but they’re just another guy in the clubhouse. That’s what this whole team has been, and we like it so much.