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March 11, 2009
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO
ROD DELMONICO: First of all, I'd like to say that I think the tournament that we had here was well run. It was an honor and a pleasure for us to have the opportunity to play here.
The Puerto Rican people have a tremendous amount of passion, and I think the Puerto Rican team is very fortunate to have the opportunity to play in front of such great fans. It was exciting for us in all of the games that we played.
We appreciate what support we did get at the ballpark. I thought we were treated first class from everyone involved in the tournament.
The Puerto Rican team is a very good team. They play as a team, and they are very tough to beat. We're going to have to play extremely well hopefully the next time that we play them to have the chance to beat them. They're well coached. They play the game the way it's supposed to be played. And they have more energy and enthusiasm than the other teams that were in the tournament.
We're very fortunate that we're going to Miami. Our energy now is on the first game against the United States. And then we'll see what happens after that.
Q. Randall, I want you to tell me if you can in Spanish, it seems that last night's game, and you tried tonight, and without taking anything away from tonight, last night's game had its price. Emotionally it was a tough game, it was difficult tonight. You may not have been able to ring the bell against the Puerto Rican team because they were aggressive.
RANDALL SIMON: Yesterday was yesterday's game. It was something unforgettable for us. We were positive also tonight. We thought we could win, and we came to win.
The team -- Puerto Rico has a team of great players. They also came out to win, and they played great ball. Their pitching was very good today. I believe that that is what happened. They beat us.
Fortunately, we are going on to the second round in Miami. And we are going to start again, and everything is going to start again. We're going forward positive and work on our next goal, which is to reach LA.
Q. What does it represent to you defeating the Dominican Republic, and for the first time going into the second round of the World Classic?
RANDALL SIMON: Well, I think it's something that's really big for us to have a chance to go onto the second round. I believe that we're a team. All of the guys deserve it because they worked real hard.
It's not now. It's been since November that we started to play in Curacao with all the other players. So I believe the best unity that we have as a team, all the guys deserve it. That also gives us that satisfaction. From now on when we go to the World Classic we know exactly what we have to do and how we have to play ball. And we know every time we will have a chance to move forward when we come to this kind of event to play with this kind of a team against other teams, Dominican and Puerto Rico, great teams.
Q. Why do you say you are going play U.S.A.? Are you supposed to play the first team in the group?
ROD DELMONICO: I thought the U.S.A. was the first team in the other group?
Q. Venezuela is beating them 4-1.
ROD DELMONICO: I didn't know that. I didn't see the score. So I guess we'll be playing Venezuela.
Q. No matter which team, Venezuela or U.S.A., how do you feel about both teams in the next round?
ROD DELMONICO: After the wars that we've been through, I don't think I'll worry about who we tee it up against. We need a day to travel and kind of get our legs under us and mentally and physically get healthy.
We'll have a good practice on Friday, try to work out some things we didn't do very well tonight, and then get ready for Saturday. When we have to play on Saturday, we'll be ready to play.
Q. For Randall Simon. Good evening, congratulations. You have done an extraordinary job, and last night I also told the manager of the team since you've played so awesome in Puerto Rico, how do you feel? A lot of people did not expect that much from you. You've had really difficult, tough games. You came out really late last night and tonight you came out onto the field with courage.
RANDALL SIMON: Of course. We first of all thank God for being able to be here in Puerto Rico. And we feel, I believe, like we've won the World Series, and it hasn't even started.
Any way, what I believe we've done to us is the greatest. I've playing for many teams in the major leagues for many years. What we did yesterday for us, to me and to my fellow players is just great.
The best thing is that when we all arrived, we were all together celebrating that win. Because no one, as you said, no one expected that from us.
And also when I called home in Curacao, a lot of us players called home to Holland, and at that time which was almost like 5 in the morning in Holland, everyone was just celebrating. And Curacao also with us.
So I believe that that is what is going to motivate us to get to the second round and know that if we're going to face the United States or Venezuela, whatever, we have a chance to win. And right now we are going to enjoy our time here in Puerto Rico. Then we'll go to Miami tomorrow and we will motivate ourselves in practice on Friday to get ready to play the same ball that we played here that we'll play in Miami. And then go from Puerto Rico to Miami. We know with that win yesterday we can do it.
Q. How was it working with this pitching staff and experiencing this level of success during this first round?
BERT BLYLEVEN: First of all congratulations to Puerto Rico. I think everybody in Holland and Aruba and -- where are you from?
RANDALL SIMON: Curacao.
BERT BLYLEVEN: I know. I'm just teasing. We've had a great time here. We really have. The hospitality has been outstanding. Nobody expected the Netherlands to get to where we are. We did it by very good pitching.
Tonight we made some mistakes, and we're going to try to correct those going into the next round. I wasn't happy at some of the pitch selections tonight. But all in all, again congratulations to Puerto Rico. These guys have been great.
I have to tip my hat to as far as starters, Sidney Ponson, the way he joined us back in early February, middle part of February. He's looking for a job. This is a showcase for him. Hopefully he's going to start that first ballgame whoever against and do exactly what he's been able to do, put some zeros on the board and wait for our offense to score some runs.
Rick VandenHurk has been a great asset. Tommy last night pitched a great ballgame. It's just the combination of everybody going out and doing their job. I'm very, very proud of all my pitchers out there. Pimmy I thought did a good job today. He did a great job of damage control. He struggled early on. He gave up one run in two innings, even though he threw 53 pitches.
Q. Was it the best decision -- who made the decision Delmonico or you to walk the left-handed hitter, David Ortiz, being a left handed hitter. Who made the decision, Delmonico or you?
BERT BLYLEVEN: Yesterday?
Q. No. The first game when the team walked David Ortiz.
BERT BLYLEVEN: Left-hander was on the mound?
BERT BLYLEVEN: It had to be Alexander Smit.
Q. Who made the decision to do that?
BERT BLYLEVEN: We probably both did. It was a great decision actually. So I'll give it all to Rod. If it didn't work out, then it's my fault.
We respect David Ortiz. We respect anybody like a David Ortiz. He's a great ball player. I don't recall it exactly, but maybe we were looking for a double play ball after that. It's a good move for us, huh? Very good.
Q. You guys made it look easy. Was it?
RANDALL SIMON: No. The first thing that I can say is nothing was easy. The thing is that when you play -- you can play good ball, and you can beat any team. That is what we did in this tournament was that we did small things to win the game, and we played good defense. The pitching was great. I think that that was the thing.
I respect the Dominican team because, as you said, it's one of the toughest teams there are. It's one of the toughest teams in the world. If you see all of these new players that are there, they're all-star players. If you know that they play good ball and as we played good defense like we did, of course we could have beat anybody.
As you knew, the first game -- the second game that we played against Puerto Rico, the first game we were winning up until the 7th inning, and in the 8th -- well, that day we did made two errors, and they scored two runs. That means that we had a chance of beating Puerto Rico also. But unfortunately in that instance we made a couple of mistakes, and Puerto Rico won.
But that's the thing. Puerto Rico plays good ball. To beat any good team, that's what I think in that kind of situation, but nothing was easy. We fought hard. All of the credit goes to my fellow players and to Rod and Bert because of what they did. They managed the pitching. I always say pitching wins the game. If you have good pitching, you have a chance to beat any team.
I'm really proud of my manager and my pitching coach and the 24 others that are out there in the clubhouse right now.
ROD DELMONICO: He's trying to get more meal money. Laughter.)
Q. I would like to ask the manager, pitching took you to win and off to Miami. How much does it mean to you to have a pitching coach like Bert Blyleven?
ROD DELMONICO: You can't put a price tag on having Bert in the dugout and in the bullpen. During practice I think he's done an unbelievable job with several pitchers over the last three weeks mechanically. But more important on how to pitch, how to have composure.
And for me I don't think we could have done what we've done without him and Jim Stoeckel in the bullpen. It's a real good coaching staff. We've got a great coaching staff. We all seem to get along.
Maybe after two, three, four months we might not, but right now we're getting along real good. And it's fun. I couldn't have done it without him.
Q. 2 out of 3 is a good percentage. I believe when you go back you don't have to feel ashamed at all. You guys have played good ball games. I think that nobody was giving you credit to go forward for second place. When you leave Puerto Rico, feel happy because nobody was expecting you to do so well. Congratulations to the whole crew.
ROD DELMONICO: Thank you very much.
RANDALL SIMON: Really appreciate that. Really appreciate it.
Q. Rod, what did you learn about this team in these four games that you might not have known, that you found out in these four games?
ROD DELMONICO: I found out a lot of stuff. Some I can tell you. Some I can't. One is they have a lot of heart. They have a lot of fight, and they don't quit. To me those are the three most important things I found out about this club.
Q. Are you willing to return to major league as a pitching coach, or are you already?
BERT BLYLEVEN: I'm under contract by the Minnesota Twins to do the TV. I'll really miss my telestrator by not circling people if I were to be the pitching coach.
I've enjoyed this. It's an honor for me to wear the Dutch uniform. Of course I was born there. And to have the opportunity to work with these young men like Pim Walsma, it has really been a lot of fun. I will cherish this the rest of my life.
Yesterday's celebration was just as good as the two World Series that I was part of that we won. These guys deserved it. They worked their tail end off, from the pitchers to the hitters, to the coaching staff. Everybody did a great job.
Jim Stoeckel in the bullpen did a great job of handling them. It's an all out team effort. That's why you play the game. You just don't know.
Like I told these guys, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, they all put their pants on the same way. Yeah, maybe they're great and better players, but if we match them pitch for pitch, good things are going happen. And they did because we're going to Miami.
Q. The starting pitcher, who is the starting pitcher, you did a great job. Only one run, one hit. I think you did a great job. Starting pitcher in the first game. You shut Puerto Rico out. You got us real nervous, but at the end we won?
PIM WALSMA: Yeah, you did. It was tough for me. Throw a first strike and all the pressure fell off. Puerto Rico has some great hitters. To perform on this stage, it was a great honor to pitch against such players. It's an honor to play in this ballgame.
End of FastScripts