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March 9, 2006

Phil Brassington

Jon Deeble

Bradley Harman


THE MODERATOR: We're joined by the Australia team. Phil Brassington will also be joining us shortly here, I believe. We'll go ahead and start with questions are Jon Deeble and Brad Harman.
John, maybe I'll start. Tell me how proud you are of the guys after a disappointing loss to Italy to come back and really hang in there with a tough team in Venezuela.
COACH JON DEEBLE: Well, that's what we expected to do last night and we didn't do it. That's the way we expect Australia to play. And even though we're a young baseball country, when it comes to the years that we played this game, last night's performance was really out of character.
What we did tonight was great. We need to take this to the next level and be able to come out and come back and beat these countries. And that's a tough ballclub we played tonight.
So I'm happy with the way we played, but you can't be happy unless you're prepared to take the extra step and win. And that's how you get better as a country. And to me tonight was great, but we have got to take another step and it's great to compete with them, but we got to try and beat them. And that's the next step in our progress and in the baseball at this level.
Q. And what do you think needs to happen between now and say the next World Baseball Classic in order for Australia to be ready in your mind?
COACH JON DEEBLE: Well, as we talk about it, we have got a lot of young kids in professional baseball. We got a lot of young rookie ball, A-ball players.
Probably the thing for us we didn't even have a league in Australia. So the next thing for us is to have a professional league in Australia where these kids haven't played a ballgame since August.
So we can't go home after their professional season and play in a league. It's not available. And it has been in the past, but we need to get back to the point where we have a league back in Australia that.
You know, their guys are throwing 96, we haven't seen live pitching since August last year. So that was tough. But it took five front-liners for them to knock us out of the game tonight. So that's a credit to our guys.
Q. Brad, you got a big hit tonight for your club. How does that feel. I understand you're the youngest on the team, how does it feel to get that hit?
BRADLEY HARMAN: It was awesome. Awesome. No, it was good to come up and get that base hit. I knew that they would be pitching me fastballs away, and I was able to get one middle in. I put a good swing on it and it got up the middle.
Q. I understand you're playing in A ball now, how is it seeing some of the better pitchers in the world right now?
BRADLEY HARMAN: It's pretty unbelievable. That's probably some of the best pitching that I've ever faced what I saw tonight. So I like it. Facing those sort of guys it's unbelievable.
Q. Jon, Phil was selling houses I guess two months ago. Could you just explain how he came to be a part of the team.
COACH JON DEEBLE: I had a plan back in 2000. Brassington was a No. 4 draft pick with the Royals back quite a few years ago, and had a lot of arm problems and he was playing around with a knuckleball one day, and I had a plan in 2000 for Phil Brassington to pitch against the Cubans in the Athens Olympics. And one thing led to another and it didn't work.
But we were able to get him here and it was a gamble, but I thought he threw the ball fantastic tonight. I think that if that game had have went on, I think he was getting better and better and better. And he had a lot of nerves out there and that's the first baseball game this kid's pitched in, in probably six months. So the fourth inning, that ball was starting to dance pretty good. And he was starting to throw it past the batters. I think he was a little nervous at the start but once he settled into a rhythm, he was giving those hitters a lot of trouble in the fourth inning.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined now with Phil Brassington, starting pitcher for tonight. We'll go ahead with some more questions.
Q. This is for any of you up there: How did you keep from being intimidated from what is obviously a strong Venezuela club? Was there anything that you said to the players, Jon, or just how did you keep that out of your minds tonight?
COACH JON DEEBLE: We have a philosophy on our team and we had it at the Olympics, that it's irrelevant who you're playing, it's about execution. And if we execute perfectly and we don't win, there's no regret. And that was very evident when we played the Dutch in Athens. We scored 22 runs against them, against a powerful ballclub and the same against the Japanese.
But it's all about execution. If we execute perfectly, we're going to be in every ballgame. And it's irrelevant of who we're playing. And we have that as our team culture. So it's execute perfectly. So it shouldn't matter who you're playing. They got two arms, two legs, the same as we do out there. And it's Australia culture I think, too, that's why last night's game was so not, it was you know Australian but we're going to give everyone a battle anytime we take the field.
Q. How do you think you would compare the level of play that you're seeing here to what you saw at the Olympics both in your team and in the tournament as a whole and what are you learning about your own program facing these kind of teams?
COACH JON DEEBLE: To us this is a natural progression. This is the next step up. And by far this competition's a lot better. You're facing major league players pretty much on a day-in, day-out basis. And as I said, we got a group of A-ball kids, with a couple of guys who have had a little bit of time in the major leagues. But this is a lot higher level for us.
We played in the '88 Olympics and who would have thought we would have playing for the gold medal in 2004. I think in eight to 12 years' time with the amount of kids that we have signed that are coming to the States, we're going to be able to compete with these countries in eight to 12 years' time. And that's the plan.
It's not something you jump into the deep end and you start swimming against the caliber of guys that they run out there tonight. So there's a progression. We need to get a national league, a professional league started back in Australia. And again, that's going to help us see guys. We don't see 96, 97, 98 mile an hour guys on a day-in, day-out basis, and that's tough. But we held Abreu, Cabrera and Ordonez to 1 for 12 tonight. And we got the makings there. We can do it defensively and we can pitch. And we're going to get better offensively.
Q. About the score, it was only 2-0 from a team with such a rich and long history like Venezuela. What did you do in order to prevent them from scoring, after all they got on base like 17 times and most of them were left on base. So what was the key to that success, if we can call it a success, for Australia?
COACH JON DEEBLE: Look, we understood that we couldn't throw the ball over the middle of the plate. So we had to make quality pitches. And when you don't make quality pitches, well, you know, throw the ball over the middle of the plate, chances are these guys can hit the ball out of the park. So our guys had to be fine and again, we haven't been playing any ball. So the command of a lot of our pitchers were, wasn't spot on tonight.
But again, you need to nibble around the edges with these guys and we did make quality pitches when we had to with runners on base. That's one thing. And when you got a knuckleballer out there, too, I thought his control was very good tonight. But you're going to walk guys when you throw like that, too. It's tough to put that ball over the plate every time. But you know maybe if we didn't walk some guys, there might have been some home runs in there, and it might have brought the score up. But I thought we made quality pitches when we needed to.
Q. When was the last time you had pitched, Phil, in a competitive environment and at all during the past year when you weren't pitching? Did you think that your career was over?
PHIL BRASSINGTON: The last time I pitched in a real competitive environment was 2002. I tried to come back from a fairly severe 2001 shoulder injury. And basically I had accepted the fact that my career was over, as any type of pitcher.
So, yeah, a few years out of the game, especially out of a professional level, so it's been a bit of a shock for me, actually, to step up and be around this again after such a long time. But I tell you, it's been fantastic so far. And I'm really, really enjoying it and soaking up this type of atmosphere. Because I didn't really think it was ever going to happen for me again.
Q. Phil, we understand that as recently as six weeks ago you were selling real estate. How is it to go from that to striking out some of the better hitters in the world?
PHIL BRASSINGTON: I can't really describe it. It's a quantum leap for me to be, to go from that. I'm still trying to deal with my clients over e-mail and that. And I'm trying to keep them happy. Some of them don't even know I'm over here. So, yeah, it's still, you know, I've taken that on as a direction, a part of my life that I wanted to try out after baseball was finished. And once again, you know, to be taken out of that and brought to this is just, for me, you know, almost surreal.
Q. Jon, can you describe your feelings when Nilsson hit into that double play in the fourth, and at the time did you think that that might be as close us you were going to get to scoring some runs?
COACH JON DEEBLE: Well, look, it's one of those things that happens in the game, you know. Of course I would like to have, liked him to have hit the ball into the gaps, but you know, it's not that easy. And the coaches played in a practice match a few days ago and I just remembered how hard he hit the ball.
But it's, I thought we had some chances early in the game. I thought we had a tough call at second base on the stolen base there. And I thought that was a real tough call anytime someone gets hit in the helmet. But again, you demand that respect, so you need to take it to another level to get that respect. The calls sometimes go your way, sometimes they don't. But I thought we had some chances there and but, maybe we could come up and get a big hit. We got guys who can knock the ball out of the park. And you're hoping you get one guy on and someone knock one out. But it didn't happen tonight, but again that's an area where we need to get better and we need to see the 96, 97 mile an hour pitches, which we just haven't been able to see.
Q. Bradley, Jon talked about the importance of growing baseball in Australia, how important do you think it is to have Australia participating in the World Baseball Classic? What does that tell people of your age and younger in Australia about playing baseball?
BRADLEY HARMAN: I think it's definitely important that we get a competition back and running in Australia. Because as Coach said, we come home and there's no league for to us play in. So basically we look forward to a one-week tournament playing against the better players in Australia. So for young guys to come through, like myself, and look forward to one week of quality baseball in Australia, I think that it does need to change as well and it needs to be some more baseball that we can play at a quality level.
THE MODERATOR: I think that does it. Thank you gentlemen.

End of FastScripts...

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