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March 13, 2017

Edgar Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez

Carlos Bremer

Salvador Quirate

Zapopan, Jalisco, México

THE MODERATOR: Good evening. After a deliberation of several hours by the technical committee of WBC, where there was no clarification on their part, the organizing committee of the World Classic here in Jalisco decided to conduct this press conference in order to clear some points about the interpretations that MLB on the other hand is making about the rule, the now-famous rule, about whether these are partial innings or they are complete innings or outs, et cetera.

We got together then, Edgar Gonzalez, our Mexican selection manager; Adrian Gonzalez, our captain; Mr. Armando Navarro, the president of the Charros de Jalisco baseball club, and a member, as well, of the organizing committee; Mr. Carlos Bremer, one of the main sponsors of the event; and then Mr. Salvador Quirate, who is the president of the organizing committee, as well, about the World Classic here in Jalisco.

I am going to yield the microphone to Mr. Edgar Gonzalez. Adrian or Edgar, who wants to start speaking first?

ADRIAN GONZALEZ: The topic at hand is what's contained in the rule, which reads partial innings. The interpretation by each individual is unique. There are 50 percent of the people who say that means even not getting any outs, and that would be like if you didn't play defense in that inning, but there are a lot of people, including the writer from MLB.com, who included us when the game was over, meaning this writer who named us after the game, as the team advancing to the tiebreaker tomorrow.

He interprets the rule the same as us.

CARLOS BREMER: Because he interprets the rule the same way we do. It is said that once we take the field, that starts a defensive inning, an inning on defense. Talking about the game with Italy, in other words, the tiebreaker today. Because the rule doesn't mention divided into outs, it reads partial innings, and if it happened to mention outs, then it would be taken into consideration outs we had made.

But when you take the field, that constitutes a partial inning already, and then a lot of people in the press take the interpretation of a partial inning as a full inning. Once we took the field, Italy scored five runs. They scored five runs against us in that inning. And they are not counting it as a defensive inning.

But the international TV stations announced that in tomorrow's game (indiscernible) --

ADRIAN GONZALEZ: And also the people from MLB.com.

CARLOS BREMER: So the people over here from WBC are saying that that interpretation is only half of their people because a lot of them are very confused, very mixed up. And they are giving us an option to lodge a protest, and they are saying they will respond tomorrow.

Besides, we feel attacked because when we went to them two hours ago, an hour and a half, they asked us to respect them for about 35 minutes to an hour for them to explore what should happen. And at the same time, while they asked for that waiting period, the manager of the Venezuela team was already announcing with one of their delegates close by that for them, the winner or triumphant party was already Venezuela. In our view that's an aggression or lack of manners, and that's what we're not in agreement with.

We know how to win. We know how to lose. But enough is enough, we shouldn't be treated differently. That is not my -- well, now we sound very worried. We thanked them for coming to explain to us, and they are asking us to trust a super committee on top of them that would make the ultimate decision, but we do not think that is right. We haven't decided what to do, what's going to be done, because this hits México.

ADRIAN GONZALEZ: The other thing is, before the game we asked for them to give us a rule, a clarification. They didn't respond. When we asked, they didn't answer. When we asked, they said that it would be enough to win by two. Had we know that we had to win by three runs when we didn't score the extra run in the ninth inning, we would have allowed the other team to tie the game in order to be able to win by three in extra innings. But us knowing that we would go to the next round with a two-run advantage, we went for the win by two runs.

EDGAR GONZALEZ: Venezuela knew that they had to beat us, that they tried to beat us any way they could, otherwise they wouldn't have even tried getting on base because they knew they would be in the game tomorrow at that point. Neither would we have brought in Osuna. Yes, the situation would have been completely different because we wouldn't have tried to win at that juncture. We would have tried to let them tie. They were trying to tie the game because they themselves knew that they were out because their interpretation was the same.

So everybody was interpreting this thing the same way except the people that never replied and gave us a clarification.

And like we're saying, this is a much bigger issue. It's a more sensitive issue, as well, because if everybody is interpreting a rule one way and they interpret it any which way they want.

CARLOS BREMER: They themselves announced it after the game in their official site. How can it be that the people that are over here, whomever they are, are making a decision by their own criteria? I don't understand, because it was announced on the websites of both WBC and the MLB.com web page that México was going to that game.

THE MODERATOR: One person at a time. One person at a time. Give your name and your media outlet in order to ask questions.

Q. They have told us that you were going to send somebody to talk to Joe Torre.
EDGAR GONZALEZ: No, they couldn't get in touch with them.

CARLOS BREMER: That's why they want us to lodge an official protest, so that the entity above them makes an analysis of everything that happens.

ADRIAN GONZALEZ: And another part of the process is how can we go to sleep not knowing whether we were playing or not. They should answer so that we know. Same thing with Venezuela. There are a lot of things that weren't right.

CARLOS BREMER: While the decision was in suspense, there are only uniforms there of the Venezuelan team, which they had already left them there because they already knew it was going to be given to them. How come if they are telling us that the committee is deliberating, how come the Venezuelan manager came out and declared that they have won when the committee is still in deliberation? That's what hurts.

Q. In January, a new administration took over the government of the United States, and ever since then there has been a lot of political issues going on about México. The second round of the WBC, the World Baseball Classic, is played in the United States. Do you think there might be something coming that way like an order or something that would make the thing so much more sensitive? I don't know if it can be interpreted that way.
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: I believe that that can be left to your interpretation or México, because why are they doing things like that? Why are they acting like that?

CARLOS BREMER: Because the success that the tournament has had here, they had never seen something like that. There hadn't been ever a sellout in a Classic game outside the United States. And the great work of the committee that organized it, Major League Baseball, so that everybody would be over here and on top of this, with all of México watching the games, and we beat the Venezuelan giant, how can this come to happen?

Q. What is going to happen if in spite of the process and everything México is left out of the tournament?
CARLOS BREMER: Very good question. We don't know. (Laughter). We don't know, because first of all, the organizing committee already decided to be courteous and take the higher ground and to prepare the stadium and leave it ready for play by whomever they want, meaning we are not going to fall into the same trap.

We are very hurt. This is not going to end here. This is not going to end here by any means.

Q. You mean there is not going to be stadium tomorrow?
CARLOS BREMER: Yes, there is a stadium. There is a stadium, and there is the effort of everybody so that everything comes out fine for them. We respect these people a lot, but this huge gaffe or mistake, we didn't take it well.

Q. If it is so clear that there is confusion there because the interpretation or the confusion that Adrian and Edgar are talking about is happening in the Major Leagues --
CARLOS BREMER: They spent an hour and 40 minutes deciding it. And at the same time, Venezuela was announcing something different.

Q. But the interpretation that you are doing is almost pointing out that MLB is pointing with their finger at the team that they want, and that is a very serious accusation. You're saying that they are ripping México off so that another team that they want in the contest advances.
CARLOS BREMER: I didn't say that. I said that we are feeling that this is an injustice.

Q. But if the rule is really confusing, what should be done is fight the rule, right? But if you have a suspicion that they are putting the game on the table for Venezuela, meaning they are giving the victory to Venezuela, you are convinced that (indiscernible) is doing something (indiscernible), that's my question.
EDGAR GONZALEZ: What I'm saying is when they asked for the rule, that's what they had in mind. What we are arguing is why they didn't write down outs, because then it would be clear. If they put the verbiage in the rule "outs," it is crystal clear, but they wrote down "innings," so it is clear, completely clear, that México is the team that passed.

Q. It's not that clear because they don't know whether it's innings or outs.
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: If he worked one third of an inning or two thirds of an inning or a whole inning or he didn't get an out, but let me tell you one thing: If the pitcher comes in in the ninth inning and he doesn't get a single out, the statistics on paper says 9+. It doesn't say 9, it says 9+, and that plus counts.

Q. But the rule counts for statistics, as well.
CARLOS BREMER: It doesn't say that because the next step in the rule mentions that if they are tied there, they go to earned runs.

ADRIAN GONZALEZ: Many people count it as a partial inning once you take the field defensively, as a played inning, a lot of people, a lot of people from the press, from baseball, from the United States, everywhere. Baseball says it. Many of us have the text from the person from MLB.com that said this is the rule. And he mentions a partial inning, and a partial inning is an inning that was played because you were on the field. If you were on the field, that's a partial inning because otherwise how would they score runs against us?

It's a very sensitive issue that Major League Baseball should know, that the Mexican team officially asked for clarification before the game in order not to get into this, and we weren't paid attention to.

Q. Today --
CARLOS BREMER: Yes, today at 2:00 in the afternoon we requested that, five times. We have five What's App texts that we sent to them, and the people from Major League Baseball agreed that those texts were sent to them, and they didn't respond. We sent it to the organizer.

EDGAR GONZALEZ: Kundy sent them to the organizer for Major League Baseball, Shane Barclay, and Shane Barclay never responded. We have a note of his phone number.

CARLOS BREMER: And there is an issue, that they went and checked with the person that didn't respond or attend to the messages, and he confessed to that. They are making a note of that, that they didn't respond before the game when we asked. And the people told us that by virtue of winning by two runs, we would get in, we were in.

Q. Mr. Bremer, have you considered a negotiation with Major League, some negative consequences so that you wouldn't be prejudiced from this as you might be?
CARLOS BREMER: This is not about money. This is about pride.

Q. Not so much money but not maybe to hinder the relationship.
CARLOS BREMER: Well, we have been in matters of baseball for many years. We love baseball. We respect Major League Baseball. But unfortunately they are creating a very difficult situation with such a successful event. That is a sad point, like we told them.

SALVADOR QUIRATE: We talked about it, and that is why we are going to continue with the whole event. Like it was agreed from the start, tomorrow there is going to be a baseball game, and the stadium is going to be in perfect condition to do it. And this is not a break-off from Major League Baseball.

CARLOS BREMER: They want a response to see if this can be resolved.

SALVADOR QUIRATE: And like we said, we are going to abide by whatever you're saying, but that doesn't mean we agree with what they are saying because of the explanations that you just heard from all of us here. And much less because of the way that we were treated because you yourselves, you saw that Kundy came and he said right here, there are deliberations happening right now. But they have already published it.

CARLOS BREMER: They go and publish something first, then they come back -- the first official announcement from them was in favor of México.

SALVADOR QUIRATE: What we are questioning is where is the formality of their attitude towards a situation like the one we are living right now. We wouldn't have a reason to be here. We should all be home and sleeping. That is what generates all this uncertainty and mistrust, because of what's being done.

So then we are commenting, we did accept this protest from you. In case this protest --

Q. In case of an analysis after the analysis, would the solution be you guys playing this tiebreaker game, or would there be a different solution?
CARLOS BREMER: We don't know what they are thinking.

ADRIAN GONZALEZ: They said, lodge your protest right away, and we'll respond by morning, tomorrow morning. A lot of people that were there in that room, they said, they are making you lodge this protest so that you can go home, and then tomorrow they are going to say no, it's not going to be you in the decision, and then the field backed up by somebody because supposedly they made the decision, but really the decision was theirs.

CARLOS BREMER: And then they are asking (indiscernible), do the media know what time your request for a protest was?

KUNDY GUTIERREZ: I haven't been given that information, but this came up in the meeting that I had with them, with Frank and Ben Mercadi (ph).

There were several messages via What's App from the morning because we wanted to know before the game how we were going to manage the game. In order to understand the rule clearly, they were asked at such-and-such a time, and there weren't only five requests; I have ten. Ten times they were asked to clarify the rule before the game. And I don't think it's enough that they just ignored it.

Q. Do you think this not responding to you was premeditated?
CARLOS BREMER: No, I don't think so. They just never considered the possibility that México was going to beat this power team, Venezuela. That's what happened.

Q. At this time Omar Burgos was asking you about the relationship with Major League. Is it a fact that beyond the relationship with Major League Baseball, the Mexican Pacific Winter League -- Mr. Bremer, since you're the one bringing the games over here, would you consider an option external to negotiating with Major League Baseball to seek a solution about this issue? Or everything that's going to be decided is going to be via Major League Baseball?
CARLOS BREMER: I believe it is the organization that we have to respect. But besides that, we don't want an injustice done to us.

Q. Adrian, the Mexican players that are obviously part of Major League Baseball, would they be considering if this is not reversed some kind of symbolic protest or something directly towards Major League Baseball on your part?
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: No, obviously nothing directly against Major League, no. We understood, and we did the work we were supposed to do today. We won the game by two, like people had said. I mean, people that obviously don't make the final decision, but for a lot of people, this is going to be a protest against this particular tournament in the future, because this is a tournament where people are on the field getting hurt, perhaps losing months of activity in the Major Leagues; why go and give yourself or your effort to something that is not well-organized and that has never been properly done?

And then, from here on, personally, I'd rather not take the chance. And to whomever asked me, I would answer, it's not worth it. That's easy. That's simple.

CARLOS BREMER: But we beat Venezuela by two, and Venezuela beat Italy by one.

Q. Carlos, I want to ask, everybody knows about the good relationship that you have with the higher-ups in Major League Baseball. Informally, have you tried appealing to one of these higher authorities, meaning Mr. Manfred or Joe Torre, to explain the situation? And the other question is if you were to resort to a formal protest, how much time did the organization of the World Baseball Classic give you?
CARLOS BREMER: Look, I believe that we have to respect the correct procedure. If the committee begged for us to wait for them, we had to wait for them to make the decision. That's why I feel that when a person from their group goes with the manager of Venezuela and announces something different, that is not right. That shouldn't be done.

Who can I go to with this? Well, Mr. Manfred I respect a lot. I love him. When we did the Mexico City series, he called me. I didn't call him. He called me; what can we do to make baseball great in México? And then I told him, well, this is my humble opinion. Let's do the World Baseball Classic in México.

And then my next opinion when I was asked for it was let's go to Guadalajara, in spite of the fact that I am in Monterrey. But I knew that the magic was here, the magic that you all saw out there the music, the tequila, the mariachis. The stadium with sellouts, it was a success. They never expected that. It is a shame that something -- a mistake of this magnitude is affecting this. But what was planned, it happened exactly the same as it was planned. How can I call Mr. Manfred at 3:00 in the morning when their people are asking me to respect him and wait? But yes, how come you don't take care of this and allow other people to be announcing other things behind our back? And the Major League is erasing where they made their decision that it was supposed to be México against Italy. That's what I don't agree with.

And then to tell you the truth, we cannot just stand by and not fight what we consider an injustice. And that's why, we don't want to create controversy. We don't want to damage anybody. But we don't want this disrespect towards México.

Q. Adrian, Carlos, these kind of things, isn't this going to signal the beginning of the end of this tournament which needed a better image in order to keep projecting baseball at the international level? Do you think this might signal the beginning of the end?
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: Yes, of course.

CARLOS BREMER: How can it not signal it if we worked really hard in synergy with them because they have been making 10, 12 visits to México a year for the last two years because they really wanted to develop baseball in México. You achieve success with the effort that the organizing committee put forth with the team playing their hearts out, and with them, they are happy. So were we. And we were almost eliminated. They opened the door. They let us live, and we get the objective; how can we accept a criteria that was off-the-cuff? No, sir. We don't agree.

Q. So what's going to be done? Is there going to be a lawsuit against Major League Baseball?
CARLOS BREMER: Look, we don't know. We have to think about that. We have decided not to lodge the protest that they wanted, because we were thinking they just wanted to send us home. But at this point, really, they did it to see if we would live. They came back, because we told them that it was a lack of respect not to face us after such a clear mistake on their part. Because their own people published México's advancement, and they came back to talk to us, and they begged for us to lodge this protest. I believe -- I don't know. We have to start here with our group. We have to do it, because that opens another possibility for us to get justice done.

But if they say no, this is not going to stop right there. I don't believe so.

Q. Why didn't you ask for clarification of the rule before?
CARLOS BREMER: No, because the truth is not until Italy lost in the first game were we alive again in the tournament.

Q. I think it would have been destiny.
CARLOS BREMER: That can be your opinion.

ADRIAN GONZALEZ: We talked about it as soon as Italy lost. We started talking about it. Why talk about that rule if it wasn't going to be applied? That rule doesn't start getting applied until Italy loses. When Italy lost, that's when we started looking at the possibility of getting in. Otherwise there was no reason.

Q. Adrian or the official on the end, could you explain briefly in English what has happened? Please don't recap the entire argument, just very briefly what your concerns are, how you have done with them, just the basic facts. Thank you very much.
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: The concern is that when Italy lost this afternoon, we tried to get a hold of MLB representatives so they could give us a clear indication to the rule because when we read it, the parentheses of "partial innings" was unclear. Because of a lot of people we asked of the people that were in the stadium, MLB people, what does partial innings mean, and one person said, it means innings played, one person said, outs made, another person had another opinion, everybody had their own opinion. So when we asked our representative Frank, we were told that we needed to win by two. But it was not the official person that made the final decision. So we went into the game with the indication that we had to win by two or more to qualify for the tiebreaking game tomorrow.

When we won by two, after we celebrated, we were told that, hold on, hold on. So for us, black and white means outs made divided by runs allowed. A partial inning, a lot of people all over the world, baseball people, interpret partial innings as you take the field, that counts as an inning, because you are allowing the other team to score runs. And by that interpretation, we're in. It was not written as outs divided by runs allowed. It was written as partial innings. And we are being told -- the confusion is that Major League affiliated people, they're split 50/50 on it, and at the end of the day, they said, it is what it is. That was their final answer to us. It is what it is. It was not a, this is what it is because of this and this and this. It's, it is what it is, this is what we thought of when we wrote it, we just didn't write it clear enough, and it is what it is.

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