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March 12, 2006

Sadaharu Oh

Ichiro Suzuki


THE MODERATOR: We will start with questions for Japan team manager Sadaharu Oh and Ichiro Suzuki.
First question.
Q. (Inaudible.)
SADAHARU OH: I think there were chances that we were able to win this game, however we didn't. I really wanted to win this game, and I'm a bit vexed.
Q. Ichiro, how did the atmosphere in Japan affect you mentally, and do you believe that you're finding your stroke -- that you found your stroke today?
ICHIRO SUZUKI: Yes. We have been focusing to win this game, and we put everything we got today. It's such a shame and a pity. And Major League players that we are Japanese professional baseball players have been looking up to. We were able to play and we thought we had a chance to win, and we didn't, and it's such a pity.
Q. This is for the manager. Sadaharu, would you address the call at third base for the runner leaving early? Tell us what you said to the umpire and what the umpire said to you.
SADAHARU OH: Yes. At that time, as you all know, the judgment was out, and home plate umpire overruled the judgment. And I just don't think -- I just believe that the closest umpire should have the same equal right to judge.
And matter of fact, all those four umpires should have -- should be equally having the same right to judge the play. So it's just unimaginable that this could have happened, or this did happen, in the U.S. where the baseball is very famous and popular. And it's a pity that it was overruled.
Q. I'm just curious about why your players did not take the field while this argument was being waged? And were you aware of that?
SADAHARU OH: I was merely protesting. I wasn't aware what was happening behind my back.
Q. Yes in the United States, I have a question for player Ichiro, Mr. Ichiro. You heard Japanese anthem before the game started. And what was your mindset at the time? What did you have in mind? What was your idea at the time?
ICHIRO SUZUKI: We all had strong feelings about this game as a Japanese team. When I first at-bat I was able to hit homerun, and I was very glad that I was able to do that. I wasn't totally expecting to be able to do that. What I had in mind was we had to win first, and we had to score first in order to win.
And also, at the same time, we had to have the strong defense as well. We had to have the thorough defense, and we -- when we heard the Japanese anthem, of course, I had place -- prior to the game I listen to the Japanese anthem. But this time, the weight of the Japanese flag really dawned on me.
As a result, all of us played significantly seriously towards this game and this time. Going back to the homerun, I was able to hit homerun that led to my further confidence, and we did put everything we've got.
THE MODERATOR: Last question.
Q. Ichiro, you hit the ball real hard, three line drives your first three at-bats. What about the last at-bat? What about the pitch you grounded out on?
ICHIRO SUZUKI: The fourth at-bat?
Q. Right.
ICHIRO SUZUKI: That has extreme of the game, I must say, at that time, we had a very slim chance for the winner. But I had to do my best, and I must say, it was a totally, completely my mistake a hundred percent. It was my fault, and I didn't do well.
Q. This is for Ichiro. What was your opinion of the appeal play? And since your manager didn't see your teammates not on the field, why weren't your teammates on the field when the argument began?
ICHIRO SUZUKI: We couldn't disregard what manager was saying, and we weren't persuaded with the outcome. That's why we didn't.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you folks very much.

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