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March 11, 2009

Jon Deeble

Brett Roneberg


THE MODERATOR: We have with us the outstanding manager of Team Australia Jon Deeble, then we have first baseman, Brett Roneberg. It's a great week for Australian baseball. Is there anything you'd like to say for starters?
JON DEEBLE: I think we said a lot last night. We've played very good baseball. We were very disappointing tonight. It wasn't the way we wanted to finish. But when you look back at it, we're 1-all against Mexico. They kicked our behinds, they kicked ours, so we're one all.

Q. How was the 2009 World Baseball Classic for you?
BRETT RONEBERG: The experience was amazing compared to the progress we've made as a country since 2006. We've come together as a team and it's been outstanding, and you can see it from the results on the field and the way we've played. We're not easy to beat anymore, and we'll be back in three years' time.

Q. Despite not making it to the second round do you feel Australian baseball took a big step here? And if so, what do you have to do to take the next step?
JON DEEBLE: We took a big step forward, there's no doubt about that. We've got to get more depth. A lot of people here don't realize we didn't have our eight Major League pitchers and our three pitchers from Japan. Our bullpen was short which showed tonight. You add Balfour, Moylan, Stockman, Nakamura, Williams, Burnside, Oxspring. We lost Oxspring just before the tournament started. I missed another Major Leaguer somewhere, Ryan Rowland-Smith. You add those guys to that lineup we've got...
We're just in an unfortunate situation, Australia at the moment, where we've got guys on the verge and have just made the Major Leagues, whereas David Ortiz and Daisuke Matsuzaka they say they're playing for their country. Our kids are sort of stuck in the middle at the moment. I don't blame them. They've got a career, but these guys that are in the Major Leagues they want to play for us. They all want to play for us, but just getting them has been a little tough at the moment.

Q. Travis seemed to be your best pitcher here. Do you think it would be better if he pitched against Mexico today?
JON DEEBLE: It was our view to go out and win all the games. I think that's an ordinary comment because we were four outs away from beating Cuba. As far as we're concerned, we beat Mexico, we beat Cuba, and if we're going to get better as a country, we can't be running away from teams; we've got to go after teams.
That kid that pitched out there for us tonight, I thought he was really unlucky. He got a ground ball that snuck through, one that bounced over the first baseman's mitt. All of a sudden he had four hits up on the board and there wasn't a ball out hit of the infield.
Four outs against Cuba, if we execute our game plan in the eighth and ninth inning, we wouldn't be having the conversation. We'd be sitting back at home waiting to play Cuba or Mexico tomorrow. I don't see that as -- he was scheduled to pitch the third game.

Q. You made good on your promise that you wouldn't play with fear against Mexico and Cuba. You showed that. And after all this happened in these games, would you qualify this Australian participation as a success? You said you were here not to compete but to win?
JON DEEBLE: I wouldn't say it was a success because we didn't get through to the second round. I wouldn't say it was a success. Did we get better? Yes. Are we going to get better? Yes. We've still got a way to go, too. You know, there's a lot of adversity here, playing in Mexico City in front of 40,000 fans. We had some kids out there that tonight maybe got a bit over-awed and that's where we've got to get better.
I think for the most part we could say we were successful, but at the end of the day, our aim was to get to the second round and see what happens from there.

Q. How do you think about this double elimination system compared with the previous system?
JON DEEBLE: I think it's a terrible rule because if it had have been 2006, we would have been playing South Africa tonight to go to the final. So the rule killed us, didn't it? If we had had the rules of 2006 we'd go to the next round and Mexico would be sitting at home. We can't change that. It wasn't as if it was sprung on us, but I would have loved to have had the old rules.

Q. Brett, you've played in the Olympics, World Cups. How is this different for you and what do you think it does for your career moving forward?
BRETT RONEBERG: Speaking of the career moving forward, I'm not playing anymore. It's my last tournament, unfortunately. But I've played for almost ten years now for Australia, and it's been an amazing experience, and I've seen us get better from a silver medal now to the pros we've got playing in the Big Leagues. We have guys that could have been here, we could have been an amazing team, and without those guys we still competed with the best in the world. It's an experience I'll never forget and something I'll cherish for the rest of my life.
JON DEEBLE: We'll get him out of retirement before September. We're working on it already.

Q. What is the biggest lesson that you learned from the game against Mexico?
JON DEEBLE: I don't think there was a lesson to be learned. I think we go out there to get better every day. We go out there to win. I don't think there was any lessons to be honest. That Mexican team, as I said the other night, they're a good team. They're full of Major League Baseball players. We haven't got anybody at the moment in the Major Leagues on our team. We had a lot of Rookie League players and a lot of A-Ball players on our team. Our guys did a fantastic job, and I don't think there's anybody in this room that could say any differently.
Tonight we didn't play well, no question. It's disappointing that we couldn't finish on a high note and have three good games, even if we had have lost. But to have a 5-3 game or a 6-4 game, we would have been a lot more happy with that. I don't think there's any lessons we need to learn. We know what we're doing and the players know what they're doing, and we've just got to get better. Baseball is a tough sport because it's like soccer where it's played in probably 100 countries in the world and in half those countries it's their national sport. As we said the other night, baseball is probably the 10th ranked sport in Australia.

Q. Do you know what the Cuban manager said about your comments?
JON DEEBLE: I didn't hear them.

Q. The Cuban manager said that he never changed the lineup.
JON DEEBLE: Rubbish. I had one lineup and another lineup, and they were both different.

Q. I don't know, the manager said --
JON DEEBLE: Ask the umpire.

Q. Said that he never changed the language.
JON DEEBLE: Go and ask the umpire.
THE MODERATOR: It was a great week for Australian baseball. That's the bottom line. Thanks, guys, very much.

End of FastScripts

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