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March 22, 2017

Jim Leyland

Los Angeles, California

USA - 8, Puerto Rico - 0

Q. Since the semifinals started, you've consistently talked about how you wanted the guys to make memories, how you wanted them to come away from this with good memories. Now that it's actually over and you've won it, what sort of feelings are going through your minds and what kind of memories do you hope the guys made through this process?
JIM LEYLAND: This was a great experience. First of all, congratulations to all the teams. Like I mentioned Colombia and Netherlands the other day. Congratulations to all the teams. It was a great event. It was obviously a very special moment. It's different than the World Series championship, to be honest with you. I'm not going to compare the two. I think you have to keep them separate.

But it was just a wonderful experience being with all these players from different organizations. I believe we got through it totally healthy, totally happy, and we're the winners.

Q. A great victory and a great time. Do you think that this victory can help the other MLB superstars participate in the future editions of the World Baseball Classic?
JIM LEYLAND: I do think, and I don't mean this to sound wrong, but for the most part, up until this point, the other countries were probably into this event a little bit more than the United States. But in talking to our players, I know they're going to spread the word. I've had some players already tell me this is the greatest experience of their life.

So hopefully, you know, we can get guys to play. But we had the right players. We had players that wanted to be here, and that's the kind of players you want. Like I said, we didn't have anybody just flat out turn us down and say I don't want any part of it. Everybody was respectful and they respectfully declined, and we moved forward with the guys that we were searching for. Joe Torre did a great job of putting them together, and they made themselves a team in a short period of time.

Q. Looking especially in the last games, that bullpen looked even scary. How important was that relief pitching for the U.S. in the last game, semifinals and finals?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I didn't know some of the other teams' pitchers. I knew some of their starters and some of their big relievers, but I didn't know everybody's. But I felt that after watching everything, I felt that we may have the deepest pitching staff with the combination of starters and relievers. And I think that turned out to be true.

Q. I know you said you can't compare this to the World Series, but I'm wondering. You've been retired now a couple years, what does this mean to you capping off your career?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I've been retired for three years, and I'm going to stay retired. That I can promise you.

But I think I said it on the podium, I think this is the best part about it. I had the honor of managing for our country, you know, the coaches having the honor of coaching for our country, the players have the honor of playing for our country, but this is really about the men and women that serve our country. That's who this is for.

Q. Is there anything that you can say about Marcus Stroman --
JIM LEYLAND: Well, Stroman was unbelievable, and I probably should have taken him out when that guy hit the long double. He had a long inning, and I kind of second-guessed myself a little bit there. But his ball was sinking so good. If you looked, there were so many ground ball outs. And I thought he deserved a chance. But it was probably a mistake on my part, to be honest with you.

Q. Just to follow up on what Ken had asked, you tried very hard to make this about everyone but yourself. Is it possible this is the last time you're going to wear a baseball uniform? Could that be?
JIM LEYLAND: I'm not wearing any baseball uniform anymore. I can tell you that. I guess people have heard it before. But, you know, I'm done. When I say that, if I went to the rookie league sometime and hit some ground balls or fun balls or something, but there is a good chance this is the last time I'll ever wear a uniform. Who really cares, to be honest with you (laughing).

Q. You said that when you were with the Rockies.
JIM LEYLAND: No, I understand that, but, like I said, I'll be 73 years old. That's enough. Let somebody else do it.

Q. Can you talk about what Puerto Rico did in this Classic?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, all these teams were really good. If you think about what we did, we beat them all, and Puerto Rico had a terrific team. Up until tonight, they played better baseball than anybody in the tournament. And you know, tonight, in a must-win situation for both teams, we played better. We pitched better, we played better.

I think what gets lost in this game tonight is how many great plays Crawford made at shortstop. Unbelievable. Just unbelievable. Those were not easy plays. But Puerto Rico had a great team. They had great leadership in Edwin. He did a terrific job.

Like I mentioned last night, Molina, Beltran, those guys are such professionals, you know? We really beat a good team, but we've beaten a lot of good teams -- Venezuela, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Colombia, you know. We were the best team.

Q. America calls this America's pastime baseball, yet until now the U.S. has never been in the World Baseball Classic. Symbolically, what does this mean to have the World Baseball Classic come to the home of America's pastime?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, like I said in my pregame, we're just trying to make America great again (smiling).

THE MODERATOR: Jim, World Series Champion, World Baseball Classic Champion. Congratulations.

JIM LEYLAND: Thank you all. I hope you enjoyed it.

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