March 19: Dominican Republic's Tony Pena, Fernando Rodney, Jose Reyes and Robinson Cano postgame interview
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the Dominican Republic team.
Q. For Jose and also it Tony can chime in. Jose, what did you tell the president of the Dominican Republic? Is that who you were just talking to?
JOSE REYES: Yeah, he just wanted to say congratulations for the hell of a job that we did, and we appreciate that from the president. This win is all about the Dominican Republic. They were hungry waiting for this moment and we did it. We gave everything that we have and we left it all on the field.
Q. What does it mean to do this for your country? And also when I saw you get into second and third base on a double and triple, you did those fist pumps. Explain that and explain what it means to do in your heart for your country.
JOSE REYES: When I did that, the first thing that come through my mind when I hit that double is that was going to pull not just my team, but the whole Dominican Republic in front of me because we have very good opportunity there to score a run, and we did it. We scored two runs right then in the first inning. That was huge.
I can't describe this feeling right now because like I said before, right now in the Dominican Republic, they were waiting for this moment so bad and we did it for the whole Dominican Republic.
Q. If you could talk about Jose's excitement and what he's done for his country.
TONY PENA: Well, as I keep saying, I'm not getting tired to say it, this ballclub is about emotion. We showed emotion every single time. And when Jose got to second base the first time, he reached over and put the fists up way high. That was telling the other guys, Let's go. Get me home.
And that's what it's all about in baseball. And like I said, it is a unique group. And we keep saying, we are enjoying and we're going to enjoy every single moment, because we don't know if this group will be together again. I doubt it. I doubt it.
But in the meantime, we enjoy ourselves, God, the Lord, he was the strength, he was the power. And with the faith that we have, we did it.
Q. (Not in English.) First, Mr. Pena, and then everyone else, how do you feel having accomplished your mission, which you said from day one that this was your goal? And you had so many problems trying to pick your team and stock that team, now you've been able to accomplish this, what does this mean for you, and also this call from the president?
TONY PENA: I didn't do anything. The only thing I did was to give them direction, give my guys direction. And they were the ones able to execute those instructions. This is like a police officer who is directing the traffic. They're the ones who went out and played with their hearts and they showed the whole world that they could do it. The DR, as a country, should feel really proud.
Now, as for the president, the emblem of the president when he was in the campaign was to do what has never been done before, and to leave what's already good. And that's what I told the president, we have done what we have never done before, we're undefeated and we won.
JOSE REYES: There's never any doubt, we always had confidence in this group. There was never any doubt. We always had confidence and had trust and confidence in this group.
Q. You guys have just won this very emotional championship. You just got a phone call from the president. What is it like now to have to go back to Spring Training?
ROBINSON CANO: I'll tell you one thing. Tonight we we're going to celebrate. Tomorrow we're going to celebrate. And Thursday, we will go back to Spring Training.
JOSE REYES: Yeah, yeah.
Q. (Not in English.) The DR is the country on this earth which produces the greatest number of ball players per capita, and yet we didn't have a trophy that could prove that. Now, from the left to right, tell me, how does it feel to have proven what everyone knew that we were the best, but we didn't have the trophy to show it?
FERNANDO RODNEY: That's part of the whole plantain thing.
It goes back to the plantain. That's how we developed. With the plantain. You know what? It's where we eat the most plantains and we produce the greatest number of ball players. That's how I see it. And this is the greatest gift we could give to our country, this trophy. If in four years God gives us the chance, we'll do it again.
TONY PENA: (Not in English.) There was a press conference in the DR, I said that was enough. In the DR, we are one of the countries which produces the greatest number of baseball players. It was just enough. I had had enough of that shame of not having a trophy like this. And thank God this group of men was able to accomplish what we wanted, which is to put our country at the top in terms of baseball. And I think this trophy, this trophy says it all for the DR.
JOSE REYES: We also have to understand, this is the third Classic, thank God we're finally able to accomplish what everyone wanted and expected of the DR, which was a trophy as champions. We did it all together. Do you understand? We did this all together.
Thanks to the support of our fan base in the DR, who gave us a hundred percent support, they have always been out there supporting us. We hadn't won before, but we're focused on this World Classic. And thank God we were able to win it.
ROBINSON CANO: There's no perfect life. You understand? Most players, we have superstars, but God knows when things happen. We have always given our best. And you know what, we're on God's time. This is a great feeling. Tony did a great job. We're always so happy. We have had this great energy, and we have always been praying, we have always asked for this from God.
People say we're the best, that's a lie, actually. We always listen to Christian music and God put us here. It's such a pride to be with this group. We're so happy.
Q. (Not in English.) As far as the most important parts of your life, how would you rank this?
TONY PENA: (Not in English.) In our careers, everyone has certain moments, happy moments in a baseball career. For example, in my career, since I hit my first ball, my first All‑Star Game, playoffs, World Series, everything. But each and everyone of those moments is different from what you feel.
This moment, today, this is always going to be with us. This is always going to be with us in our hearts because it's something totally different. When we talk about times in our careers as a professional baseball player in the U.S., in our game, this goes beyond all of that. When you go out and represent your country, this will always be with us.
ROBINSON CANO: I would say that every feeling is different. Everyone has certain moments, I think all of us. I was just looking back, as Tony said, you always remember the first time for everything: Your first hit, playoffs, everything. You always remember the first time for everything. This is always going to be in our hearts for the rest of our lives. Everyone of us whose played in this game will always remember the World Classic. This is such a thrill.
We were always optimistic. We knew we had a winning team, and honestly, we were able to prevail for the DR, for our country, for the whole world. This is huge for Spain, for the world. Yeah, we're just going to celebrate, honestly.
JOSE REYES: You know, the guys said everything. This is an unforgettable moment. Having taken the DR's name and shown the world what we're capable of. And having won and triumphed, as a player, I'll never forget this. This is one of the greatest moments of my career and my life. This is going to be one of the greatest moments, because I'm representing my country and the place where I'm from.
FERNANDO RODNEY: The whole world will remember this. I want to put our flag up in the air.
ROBINSON CANO: There was supposed to be an arrow, too. That didn't come.
Q. Robinson, for you, with all the talent on this team and the stars that are sitting here at the table, what is it like for you to win that MVP trophy?
ROBINSON CANO: Well, this is something that you never are going to get it done by yourself. So I want to thank the guys, my teammates, the manager, also the Dominican team for giving me that opportunity to be here with all these guys, all this great talent. And it's like I said, without my teammates, I would have never won an MVP. So I would say it's not only me, it's about the whole team.
Q. Tony, if you could just talk a little bit about your starting pitcher and just what it meant for his performance, not just tonight, through the tournament. And just one of the teammates could also address it, just what his performance meant to you.
TONY PENA: Samuel Deduno did a great job for us, not only tonight, through the WBC. He pitched three games for us and he pitched three successful games. I was ready to send him back today, and I just have no trouble throwing him the four innings and then I tell Castro, I said, Send Samuel out, I don't want to go no more with him. There was a little bit different, it was a little cold. He was fighting over it, because he's starting to feel like he couldn't get a grip on the ball well.
But the job that he had done, it has been unbelievable. I think he did a great job for us. And today he could have gone 95 pitches easy. But we were thinking about to win the ballgame, and we have the horses. Since I said earlier, when we started the WBC, our bullpen was the root. We only played for five innings with the starting pitcher, and after that, I would turn the game over to them. And that's exactly what we did.
But Samuel did a great job for us, a great job.
Q. Tony, and for the other guys, too, the worldwide draft looks like it's coming. And when Puerto Rico went into the draft, immediately the quality of the baseball went down. How does the Dominican Republic prevent that from happening and how does Venezuela, Cuba, Japan, everywhere else that's going to be put into the draft, prevent that from happening?
TONY PENA: Well, I hope never. I hope never the draft get into the Dominican Republic. You see what happened to Puerto Rico? Did you see how many players they signed a year out of Puerto Rico? I hope it never gets into the Dominican Republic.
Q. If it does though, because it's happening.
TONY PENA: That won't happen.
Q. (Not in English) mission accomplished, boys. Every record, every detail in this Classic will be unforgettable for you, for us, and for the world. For Robinson Cano, as most valuable player of the three rounds, what does that mean for you? And being champs the way you were able to do it.
ROBINSON CANO: (Not in English.) As I said before, it feels pretty good. You come into this wanting to win the big trophy and that's what happened. And without my teammates, this wouldn't have happened. Every time I went in there, there was music, we had our spirits high. You know what? We were blessed by God and this has been a privilege. It's a pride to be able to give this back to the DR and to my people.
Q. For the manager, we touched on the pitching already, but I wanted to ask you, in specific, in the fifth inning with Samuel Deduno, did the rain have anything to do with this? I mean just talk about how he persevered through the elements in the fifth inning with the rain. And then in the 7th with Strop, have you seen a more perfect inning than his performance in the 7th?
TONY PENA: There was a reason why I have Dotel throwing in the fifth, because the rain. When I walked over to the mound, I went over to take Samuel out of the game, and he said, Please, do not take me out of the game. I want this guy.
And I said, You want it? You got it.
That's one thing I'm never going to take nothing away from them, and he did his job.
Q . You changed your mind?
TONY PENA: Well, he made me. He made me change my mind. And it's something that I never do. Because if this guy would have got a hit, I would have kicked him in the rear end.
I would have kicked myself.
Q. Strop in the 7th inning, talk about that.
TONY PENA: When I sent Dotel out in the 7th, I just wanted to stay away from Rodney. Rodney had worked through the whole series and I wanted to stay away from him. And I tried to save Strop to use to close the game. And that's the reason why I sent Dotel out. But right away, when I saw Dotel, I just said, Nah‑huh. I'm going to stop the game right here and then I don't have to worry about that.
And I know that he pitched in every game, but we had to do whatever we had to do to win the ballgame. And he was electric.
Q. (Not in English.) As you said, the DR is the country that produces the greatest number of players per capita. Now beyond the magic plantain, why is it that your country has so much talent, and do you think this will continue forever?
TONY PENA: (Not in English.) We have a nucleus, we have a group of players that are in the Major Leagues, and it seems like every time that a group goes out, a new group comes in. That's why when I answered the question before regarding the draft, if they were to implement the draft in the DR, then why would Major League Baseball be trying to expand baseball in the whole world? What's happening in the DR? You know what it is? It's that since we're young, we want to be baseball players. That's why you see that every day there are new players coming in, because we all want to be players.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations to the Dominican Republic team.
Tony, thanks for everything.
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