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March 15, 2009

Tatsunori Hara

Daisuke Matsuzaka


THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Welcome to the press conference following Game 1, Japan versus Cuba. Today we have Team Japan's manager, Tatsunori Hara, and their starting pitcher, Dice-K Matsuzaka.
Tatsunori Hara, please share your view of the game.
TATSUNORI HARA: Well, yesterday, within myself, I was thinking about Cuba. Then I was thinking of simulations. And better yet, today was better than that.
THE MODERATOR: Dice-K, please share your view of the game.
DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: Well, let's see. Against Cuba in the Beijing Olympics, and the WBC, I knew Cuba was a good team, but particularly there was nothing I was too worried about. I thought I was trying to do the good pitching and that's what I was concentrating on most of all.

Q. Congratulations, Manager Hara. I was expecting it to be a tough game, but this is second round, and then this team is start hitting very good, so I think it's very good for their future, and particularly, Matsuzaka. Then before the game start, your face was very severe looking face, your face, but you were prepared. Was there anything? You had the problem on the sides, and then it all went away. And you did a good pitching, that's how it went away?
TATSUNORI HARA: Well, what was the question? What did you ask me (laughter)?

Q. That give you confidence, right?
TATSUNORI HARA: Well, this was the second round, of course, of the 16 teams, and they're now shrunk into eight teams. So within that, of course, all these teams are very strong, good teams, and then there is the rules. And you have to win twice. That's the basic rule, and that's very important, to win twice.
In the first round, we were able to clear, and it was very good for Team Japan, and we knew we were going to go to Los Angeles. So that was very good for all of us.
And now one more advancement in San Diego, and then that was for Team Japan, that was the biggest, for all of us, target.
DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: May I answer now? As far as I'm concerned, well, while I was doing the warming up, did I look so fierce? I thought I had a smile on my face, did I not? But I thought all the team members were relaxed, that's what I thought. And before the game, I wasn't able to do the pitching -- I wasn't worried at all. So during the season -- and all the things, go through my mind. Same during the season, and it went just fine.

Q. Mr. Matsuzaka, many of the most prominent American pitchers have chosen not to pitch in this event including both Cy Young award winners from this league. Is there a different feeling in Japan about pitching in this event and do you know why American pitchers may choose not to pitch?
DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: Can you repeat once again, please.

Q. Many of the most prominent American pitchers have chosen not to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, including both of the Cy Young award winners from last year. Is this a different emphasis on this in Japan? And do you know why many American pitchers have chosen not to pitch in it?
DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: Well, as far as I see, always on behalf of Japan, I want to be on behalf of Japan, I want to be the pitcher. If they ask me to pitch, I'm willing to pitch on behalf of Japan. That's all. That's all.
As far as American pitchers concerned, why they don't pitch in this WBC games, in America -- everybody loves America but I don't know why they don't. I don't understand that.

Q. I have two questions, one for Mr. Matsuzaka, one for Mr. Hara. Mr. Matsuzaka, why do you have such a mastery over Cuba. You're now 3-0 over Cuba with a 1.50 E.R.A. against them in international play. And you've done this twice now in the World Baseball Classic. How does this compare with pitching in the World Series?
DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: Well, against Cuba, and the last time, the finals, and then I just thought about the finals as last time, then thought how I pitched today.
And today, in any case, compared to the first round, was doing good, then I think against Cuba, it worked for me.

Q. And the World Series, comparing this with the World Series?
DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: Well, in either case, either games, for me, I always get excited. And then it is so exciting, and in these games, always. So was this game.

Q. Coach Hara, you put together -- the team put together, a lot of sacrifice bunts, you scored on a wild pitch, scored eleven singles. Is this the way you have to win in this ballpark?
TATSUNORI HARA: Can you repeat the question? I don't know what you're trying to ask me about.

Q. You basically played very small ball here, lots of singles, scored on a wild pitch, sacrifice flies. Is that the way a team has to win in this ballpark?
TATSUNORI HARA: Well, as I mentioned yesterday, against the other team, I don't worry too much. So rather than worrying about the other team, you know, we have to do our best. If we can do our best, whoever the other party could be, we can win. That's how I feel.
Today, earlier, we have been very lucky, the first score, we had the run in. So it made the Team Japan very relaxed, and then everything was timely, and also techniques, and all this. We score first three runs in. So just like Japan, we made the connections, and we all link them up, and all of us together working, we were able to score three runs in so it worked very nicely for us today.

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