March 10, 2023
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Team United States
Workout Day Press Conference
Q. How did this come about for you?
MARK DEROSA: Honestly, sitting in my apartment, working for the network, and got a call from Tony Reagins if I would like to interview for the position.
I had kind of interviewed for a few managerial positions in '15 and '17 but I kind of tiptoed around it. And I felt it was a perfect opportunity for me. I went in and interviewed in the city and got called back to interview again. And that's when he told me -- Drew kind of threw a USA jersey at me and said, do you want to do this. I said 100 percent let's do it.
Q. What's the experience been like working with the players?
MARK DEROSA: It's getting better every day. Like I just told them in there, they're one of one at every position. Special, I'm honored, I'm humbled by it, but at the same time focused on what we need to do to win this thing.
Q. I know you'll accuse me of still fishing, but you're going forward on your rotation, (indiscernible) outside yet?
MARK DEROSA: No, we don't have to. There's no reason to give anybody time to prepare themselves for what's coming. So I think the rule is a half hour after the game we have to announce it. That's probably what I'll do.
Q. You have Waino for the first one?
MARK DEROSA: Waino for the first one.
Q. After an hour after the game you'll announce it?
MARK DEROSA: Yes.
Q. I know this roster is full of superstars, but Mike Trout is at the apex of, a 31-year-old. He's already had a Hall of Fame career. What's it like kind of managing this guy when he's sort of at the apex of his powers, I guess?
MARK DEROSA: I guess the biggest thing for me is not so much the baseball managing aspect of it with these guys, the coaching aspect. It's the motivational aspect, getting them together, getting them to forget they're playing on different organizations, trying to create a team bond. I think that's the only way we can get this done.
If you go out there and everyone's trying to be the alpha dog in the room and everybody's feeling each other out, it just becomes individual ABs. But kind of the message -- I think we needed those two exhibition games to get used to each other in the locker room, get used to each other what drills they want to do, how they want to be worked previous to the game.
And then in the dugout as well, getting to know each other, what makes them tick, who laughs, who doesn't, who is serious, who is not. I think the last 48 hours has been good for us.
But to get back to your question, I mean, certainly he'll go down as one of the greatest players of all time. I'm in awe watching the ball come off his bat. He's got a better arm than I gave him credit for.
We ran an old school infield/outfield the other day because I wanted these guys to bond as a team defensively, but I wanted them to feel, like, hey, I've got to show out a little here. I'm with the greatest players in the world. I'm going to let them know who I am.
Watching him throw from center field, it's not something you see every day, I was, whoo, he's got a better arm than I gave credit to him for.
Q. How much are you looking to face Mexico?
MARK DEROSA: I'm not looking past Great Britain, to be honest. But I ran into an old teammate Vinny Castilla. I took ground balls forever with Vinny forever. For two years he taught me a lot how to field that position. It was great seeing him.
Obviously this place is going to be jumping. It's going to be super exciting. But I don't have enough dirt in my cleats managerial-wise to think past tomorrow.
Q. The expectation in Mexico is sky high, a lot of excitement. Do you see Mexico as the team to beat here for the U.S.?
MARK DEROSA: I had a saying when we played football: Respect everyone; fear no one. That's kind of the way I approach it. To be honest, I'm not going to treat Great Britain any different than we treat Mexico.
I just want our guys fired up, playing playoff baseball energy wise, putting the throttle down offensively, trying to score as many runs as possible, executing positions.
I told these guys I watch them every night. They fight so hard offensively to control that strike zone. The same with the pitchers; nobody has to give in.
I want team, I want relentless, like, team baseball throwing down at these other teams.
Q. You had mentioned, after the game yesterday that you might have another team. You and Arenado talked about possibly having another team meeting today. Did you do so?
MARK DEROSA: Yeah, we just walked out of it. I wanted to bring in a mental skills coach. His name is Chad Bowling from the Yankees and Cowboys to kind of just present a message. I think the two exhibition games -- I gave my speech to the team and what I felt the day they arrived.
Then you kind of get lost in those two exhibition games, right? Certain guys are getting two at-bats and then want to go do some work in the cage. And other guys want to get ready in different ways. And I feel like in those two exhibition games it's a nice feeling-out process, but I wanted to kind of jump-start that team mentality today. So, yeah, we just walked out of that.
Q. You mentioned yesterday how you had a chance to lay eyes on Tim Anderson. What have you learned about him being here that you didn't already know about?
MARK DEROSA: I knew he was a great player. I knew he was super talented. But I think watching his process, understanding why he's here, how he goes about it, his mindset, what he's trying to get out of this, is what I've learned the most.
He's a dog. Like, he wants it. He wants the big moment. And he's made a fan out of me in the last 72 hours.
Q. The Pool A and Pool B has already started in Asia. How do you see the [inaudible]? What's your impressions on those teams? Quite frankly, your thoughts on Team Japan and Shohei.
MARK DEROSA: My thoughts on Shohei is he's the best baseball player in the world. Watching him every night is an absolute pleasure.
As far as locking in on the other teams so far, I have not. This has been a whirlwind for me. I'm trying to focus on our ball club and tomorrow's game.
And I've caught a little bit. I locked in on, I think Cuba was playing Panama when I was drifting off to sleep. I saw Ruben Tejada hit an early two-run bomb, ex-Met. I haven't dove too deep on the other teams. Focused on this right now.
Q. I'm sure it's something you think about in your day job, what would make this a much more successful tournament, especially in this country where people would care about it?
MARK DEROSA: That's a tough question. I think for me, the 30 guys that are in that room are the right guys because they wanted to be in that room.
But I also think at some point, if this is going to go where it needs to go, that all teams, all countries would want their so-called best players. And it shouldn't be as difficult as it was to put a roster together.
But I completely understand. Over the course of 162 in the Major Leagues, you want your best players healthy, firing on all cylinders. It's a big ask to get these guys rolling.
Talking to them, position player-wise, this is a no-brainer. They're going to take playoff ABs from jump. They'll go back to their camp, throttle it back for nine 10 days and get jump-started.
From a pitching standpoint, they had to get going a little bit earlier and had to ramp it up a little bit earlier.
But I think if this is going to go where it needs to go and can go that, yes, some of the Major League clubs are going to have to be willing to be a little bit more, I don't know the word I'm looking for, but okay mindset-wise with those guys playing.
Q. Specifically the pitchers?
MARK DEROSA: Yes.
Q. The follow-up question I had is there, it falls with that, is there such a right time on the calendar to play --
MARK DEROSA: I don't know, I was thinking about that. How can you do it? How can you ask these guys to go through 162 and then on the back end get into a serious competition like this? How can you expect the Major League season to take a break?
I thought the All-Star break -- I wasn't a guy who played in the All-Star Game. So those four days off, when you come back from that first game, it's like, wow, I've lost all the calibration to the fastball, and it almost takes a minute to get back into the second half.
So to ask these guys to shut it down for two and a half, three weeks would be criminal. But I don't know if there's a perfect answer to that.
Q. Regarding Tim Anderson, you kind of said it but you're learning what he wants to get out of this. Can you expand on that a little bit more?
MARK DEROSA: I think he just goes about his business, he's quiet, but he's got that look in his eye. He wants to let not only his teammates know but the world know who he is and that he's one of the best players in the world.
I went up to him and I said -- yesterday I put my arm around him, and I said, you're making a huge fan out of me. And he goes -- they always usually come around. Like once you're around me you're going to start to feel what I'm about.
They're all superstars. I've been blown away by all of them but there's certain guys I'm like whoa. Okay. I went through it in '09. I walked away from playing for the U.S. in '09 going, wow, Jimmy Rollins is a hell of a lot better than I was just working with him on a day-to-day basis.
Q. Adam, facing Britain tomorrow night, they've obviously gotten a chance to look at you throughout your career. Have you had a chance to look at any of the players that you're going to be facing on the other side? Like, what goes into that for preparation on your side?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Same preparation for a normal start. So I'll start tonight. I have everything in my drive back in the hotel room to watch them. And faced Thompson a bunch and some of the other guys are intriguing prospects.
I'm looking forward to facing them. I know they're exciting players. I'm going to be hungry and looking to make a statement and beat this team. So I have to be very prepared. I'm not taking them for granted, I'll tell you that.
Q. Nolan or Pete, how hard is it to ramp up this early in spring training to be ready for meaningful games as opposed to what you're used to when your routine (indiscernible) in spring training?
PETE ALONSO: For me as soon as I come into camp I'm ready to go. And however much or little the team wants to let me play, that's pretty much up to them because they do a pretty good job with workload management.
But this spring is a little bit different because for me, I love to play the game. And I told them, hey, listen, give me all the at-bats, all the innings that you're willing to give because I want to be as ready as possible for this.
I don't know what to expect, because this is my first WBC. I'm coming in with an open mind. I know I put in a ton of work to be ready for this.
Q. Is it weird that you guys are now playing with regular baseball rules as opposed to the new rules that were instituted that you guys were working on in the first couple of weeks at spring training?
NOLAN ARENADO: I think it's a little different, for sure, but I like that it's kind of back to normal. I'm a little different.
But the last few games have gone a little bit slower than they have in spring. But besides that I think it will probably feel normal for us.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: We have a lot more time playing with the old rules than the new ones.
Q. How would you describe the emotions of the feelings all three of you have knowing you're repping U.S. on your chest, especially in the World Baseball Classic?
PETE ALONSO: For me, it's an honor. It's as much an honor, it's, like, everyone in the locker room has earned the right to be in there and to be a part of that group.
I mean, this is an elite team. We have talent up and down the lineup. And it's going to be a really special tournament because it's not very often where you see this many caliber players on the same roster.
For us, I mean, talent's through the roof, but we want to be a team of substance as well. Not just a team that's good on paper. We want to go out there and win it. So this is going to be a really fun time.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I've been waiting since '03 to be here. I got a pretty big taste of rejection not being able to go with the Olympic qualifier team. Got sent home; only guy sent home.
It's a big part of my story but it also left a void inside of me that I'm ready to fill. I'm glad to be representing our country. I'm glad to be in a situation where I can hopefully right some wrongs that I didn't perform like I wanted to back in the day.
I'm excited to be here repping this great country. Excited to be in the clubhouse with such amazing talent and just rubbing shoulders with guys that are incredible, incredible at what they do. And it's always cool to find out kind of what makes them go, what makes them tick and makes them unique and special.
NOLAN ARENADO: I keep saying it, when you wear it across your chest it hits it differently than the Major League uniform. It's an incredible honor to play in the Major Leagues, but to it's an incredible honor to represent USA and be on a team with the best players in our league.
And it's a privilege that people want you on this team. It was such an easy yes. I know it was for all of us.
It's cool to see that we all compete against each other and we all go against each other, but we've got to come together like brothers. And I love that part, I think it's pretty cool.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: One thing that drove that home just a little bit, to piggyback off what he said, was some of the minor league guys that get to join in with us, how excited they were to just say, when they went home, I was on Team USA for just a day. That really was kind of a pinch yourself kind of moment for me to be able to wear the jersey every day, and how proud I should feel for that because everybody else is looking at us expecting us to be great and rooting us on.
Q. Adam, Mark was just in here talking about, he was asking about how do you maximize interest in this tournament in this country. And he mentioned pitchers, getting pitchers on board. And he mentioned teams, okay, teams okaying their pitches to come. In your personal case, when you talked about being proud and wanting to do this for a while, what were the pros and cons? And also how do you see in the future maybe getting the best pitchers and teams to okay them or pitchers themselves, like, I'm willing to do this?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I think one thing for people to understand, fan bases to understand and teams to understand is that the training staff in there is a professional Major League Baseball training staff that knows how to keep its players the same way a normal training staff would.
When we come in here, we're not with a lack of qualified professionals to keep us where we need to be. They're ready to do -- whatever program we have with our own teams, they're ready to put those into action here.
So it's been, "what do you need and how can I help you," with every single person in the clubhouse helping out. So as far as teams wanting to -- I understand teams wanting to be kind of mindful and have a watchful eye over the guys, they're paying them and whatnot, but they're taking everything very professional and very careful here to make sure, yes, we're going to try to win this goal. But the other main goal is to come out healthy and ready for a Major League season also. Those guys are doing a great job of that.
Q. Nolan and then Adam, Japan, you always hear about Shohei. But I'm wondering what you think of your Cardinals teammate, Lars Nootbaar, achieving folk-hero status in Japan?
NOLAN ARENADO: I'm happy for him. He loves it out there. Looks like they love him. And as they should. He plays hard. He plays really hard. But he's really proud to represent his Japanese heritage. He's taking it super serious.
I think I saw him screaming at the fans and they were screaming back at him. You know he's feeling it right now. And you've got to give him credit. They're a good team. I'm happy for him.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: We're having so much fun watching Lars and Tommy, too, and our other guys that have been on TV so far. But Lars is an exciting player. He's always the guy trying to pump the crowd up and pump our fan base up and pump the team up.
But I also think this is an amazing opportunity for the game of basketball to market itself around the world. I think watching that Redeem Team documentary, was it David Stern, went in said, listen, this is an opportunity for us to show these great MLB players to all the countries watching, they'll tune in to see the best of the best.
I think if we can get the best of the best, like we have this year, every year we're just putting baseball on the map in a lot of different countries. And Lars is doing that in Japan right now really, really well. He's representing himself and their country of Japan really well. He's representing our team. I mean, just the game of baseball. He's showing out.
Q. Do you sense any eagerness out of guys that haven't played a lot of October baseball? Because this is kind of mimicking it. Even Trout hasn't played a lot in October. Do you sense any eagerness out of those guys at all?
PETE ALONSO: Yes, absolutely, for sure. My first playoff experience was this past season. It was only three games and it was a short-lived playoff experience. And after we were done, the feeling I came back with was, man, I want more of this. Because that playoff baseball feeling, it's addictive. And I want to put myself in every opportunity to be in those high-pressure, high-leverage situations. And I mean, pressure is a privilege. And I want to be able to put myself into that and experience that. It's addicting for sure.
To be able to feel that right off the rip and during a normal spring training time, it's a rare opportunity, especially with this team. It's an extremely rare opportunity. And hopefully I can learn from this experience and just continue to chase those feelings.
Q. Back to that 2003 Olympic team, that was Alderson was the general manager, Robinson was the manager and I was covering it. Can you peel back a little bit, why were you sent home early?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Because I didn't get anybody out. (Laughter). That was the main thing. But what was going on with me in my career at that point was I had some physical ability but mentally I had to get a lot tougher, had to get a lot stronger, had to get a lot more belief in myself and not fake it but actually have it be real.
So I had to have some letdowns, actually, to make an adjustment. And that was one of the big ones. I remember Dave Stewart and Frank Robinson pulled me into the office when they sent me home and told me, you'll never make it to the big leagues unless you believe in your abilities and trust your stuff. That was such a good teach for me. I was telling people I did but I actually didn't. And that was coming through -- if he can see that and read that when I'm on the mound, then the hitter can too.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports