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March 14, 2006

Luis Sojo


THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the post-game formal interview of the Venezuela, Dominican Republic game. I introduce Luis Sojo, the manager of Venezuela. Manager Sojo, before we open the floor for questions, we would like you to give us your impression about the game tonight.
LUIS SOJO: Well, there's not much to say. It was the same thing about what we've been doing for the last week or so offensively. My guys didn't come through. Unfortunately there's nothing you can do about it because pitching was a big factor in this game, too. (Daniel) Cabrera, (Salomon) Torres, (Miguel) Batista and (Duaner) Sanchez got in trouble in the end, but we didn't come through.
One of the best things -- besides the tournament, the best part of the game, baseball is tough and we've got to understand that. I wish good luck to Manny Acta and the Dominican Republic. I hope they keep the trophy in South America because we showed the world that there's a lot of talent in our countries, and I wish them good luck.
Q. The pitching was wonderful throughout the series, hitting was obviously not that good. Do you have an explanation or can you tell us why that happened? The boys were not well-prepared, were they not ready? What have you thought about it? What might have happened?
LUIS SOJO: Well, you asked me if I can explain about what happened offensively, if the guys weren't ready to come to this tournament. Our guys seemed ready to play. Unfortunately we couldn't come through when we needed to. We've got to give credit to the other pitchers because they did a really good job against us. It doesn't matter what kind of team you have offensively. When they pitch the way they're supposed to, they're going to get you out, and tonight that was the case. I mean, Cabrera and the rest of the guys did a very good job. Like I said, unfortunately we didn't come through when we needed it. If you don't do that in baseball, there's no way you're going to win games.
Q. Louis, the first World Baseball Classic, what can you pick up from this experience? What can Venezuela do in the future? How can you deal with the offense in a better way? And secondly, do you have to improve a lot in order to deal with a (Miguel) Cabrera, for example, when you are dealing with 18-0 during the second round and having to hit against someone like that?
LUIS SOJO: The question is why did I wait too much because they went 0 for 18 in the last three or four games. There's only one choice that I have, I'm not going to play those guys and put them in in the 8th or 9th. I'm not going to do that. These guys proved that they are good hitters. Unfortunately they don't hit, and trust me, they want to do their jobs. (Miguel) Cabrera, in Cabrera's case he was the best hitter. He don't hit the ball good in the second. There's nothing he can do about it. You've just got to give credit to the pitchers.
Q. What do you draw from this experience? What do you learn from this experience in order to improve?
LUIS SOJO: You have to learn from your mistakes and set your eyes on the future.
Q. What is your personal feeling, Luis, about the participation of Venezuela in this Classic? Are you disappointed with your performance? Could we use this word, "disappointment," to explain what happened? And the second question, would you be willing to be at the helm of the Venezuelan team in a new World Baseball Classic? Did this experience give you the feeling that you would want to do this again and head this team in the future?
LUIS SOJO: Am I disappointed with the result about the team offensively? That's the question of the night. I would say so. I mean, the only reason that they come to this tournament is to represent their country. There's a lot of problems with the GMs and the owners for those guys to be here, but they said yes, they want to go and represent their country, and in that respect I respect them for that.
Disappointed? Of course. I mean, as a manager, you want your guys to do well, and it wasn't the case. But they tried hard. (Bobby) Abreu is disappointed because he can't help the team, Victor (Martinez), those guys. Offensively it didn't work, and when that happens, you can't do nothing about it. We can't put the guns to their heads, you've got to get a hit. They try as hard as they can, they never put their heads down. They were together all day long talking about hitting, we've got to do something to help the team to win, and unfortunately it didn't happen.
Like I said before, if you don't do that, you're not going to win games. That's why we're out.
Would I be willing to be a manager? Of course, for this group of guys, any time. I like a challenge. If they asked me, I'd do it, there's no doubt in my mind.
These guys, the only thing they do is play hard for me. They don't hit the ball well, so what. Like I said, we're out and that's why, because we didn't hit the ball the way that we're supposed to.
Unfortunately, we've got to go home. But there's no doubt in my mind that we'll do it again.
THE MODERATOR: One more question for the manager.
Q. This is a question but it will be divided into two. I would like you to tell us about how they feel, how the players feel now. How are they doing, particularly having made it all the way to today? They were favorites and they're here. Secondly, could you sum up not the participation of your team so much but of the whole Classic and perhaps a few things that went well, others that did not go that well and which are subject to improvement for a future version of this Classic?
LUIS SOJO: I mean, we did a meeting right away and we saw long faces over there, guys crying, disappointed, because we shouldn't be out. But that's part of the game. You never know what's going to happen, and we've got to move on. We've got to move on. I told them to go to spring training, keep your head up and concentrate for your major league season.
The other question was the good thing and bad thing about this WBC. I think I've got no complaints. I had a great time in Orlando. Everything can be good. Everything can be good. We had a good time, and they're going to learn from this, too. I congratulate Major League Baseball because they did a very good job. We have little problems here and there, but we had a good time. Puerto Rico and its people was great, the media was great, we had a great time. So let's move on and hopefully we'll see you soon.
THE MODERATOR: Good night, and thank you for answering our questions. The best of success in the future, and a pleasure having worked with you.

End of FastScripts...

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