Reyes Interview March 7

JOSÉ REYES

Q. What does it mean to you at this time in your career to be part of this World Baseball Classic?

            JOSÉ REYES:  Well, first of all, thank you for being here.  It means a lot to me because this is my third time to participate in the Classic, and the first two times we didn't do the job that we were supposed to do, the Dominican team, with the talent that we had.  But I think that we overtrusted ourselves.  We were overconfident, and we're going to do different this time.

            Q.  A lot of Dominicans live here in Puerto Rico, how special is that for you?  Do you have any relatives here in Puerto Rico?

            JOSÉ REYES:  Well, yes, of course, I have several people from the Dominican that are going to watch the game today.  This is the neighboring country of Puerto Rico; we're happy to be here.

            Q.  It was mentioned that you were on a mission, that you'd be tough any pitcher that's going to face you guys, what do you think about that?

            JOSÉ REYES:  Well, I think that's right, we are on a mission.  As I said before, the two previous Classics we didn't do what we should have done.  I believe now we're coming in with an attitude that we have to finish it.

            Q.  You have commented that in the two previous editions you understand that you didn't do as good as you should have, now you have a different mentality.  You looked really good in the playoff games and seeing Venezuela the very first day, Venezuela always brings a strong team.  Talk to me about your game tonight.

            JOSÉ REYES:  Well, first of all, I believe the team is very happy, very motivated.  I understand that the team is great.  As you say, we're going to face Venezuela that has a great team, but right now we are focused on going out to the playing field and leaving everything on the field and playing for our country, for the Dominican Republic, our flag.

            Q.  Your expectations with regards to this edition, the third of the World Baseball Classic?  Dominican Republic is favored with Venezuela.  We do not have the ideal team but we have you and we have Hanley, Miguel Tejada in optimum conditions.  What does that mean for you?

            JOSÉ REYES:  Well, I think the team we have is ideal because we have a lot of talent in the team.  Some people are not here, but we don't need anything.  The team I believe we have is going to be competitive, and we hope to give 100 percent and leave our heart on the playing field, and that's what we came here for.

            Q.  You say the third time the Dominican team isn't going to be stopped, with this lineup and this game.  What message do you have for your people?

            JOSÉ REYES:  Nothing.  The message is we know that the first two Classics we didn't put our flag where we should have placed it, but this is baseball, we know what happens, and I believe that this third time it's a different attitude.  The first two Classics we were overconfident.  When you are too confident, things don't come out as you expect, and that's a lesson that we learned for this Classic, this third Classic.

            Q.  Puerto Rico‑Dominican Republic is always a full house.  Talk to me about this tradition or rivalry that there always is.

            JOSÉ REYES:  Well, I think that the rivalry is always good, but we need to first focus on our game with Venezuela.  I think it's one of the most important games, and we're very focused on what we're going to be doing today.

            Q.  How do you see the Dominican team?  Do they have any weaknesses?  And how do you see the Venezuelan team?

            JOSÉ REYES:  Well, right now our team is very good.  The talent is there right now.  What we have to do is show it on the playing field.

            And the Venezuelan team, they have a good team, good lineup, they're very competitive.  We're going to go out to the playing field to win, and that's the attitude.

            Q.  What comment do you have with the absence of star baseball players and baseball players that have been absent from this World Classic?

            JOSÉ REYES:  Well, whoever is not here with the Dominican team shall have their excuse or reason for not being here.  I'm happy being here representing my flag proudly, doing it and bringing my flag way up high, and right now we cannot be focused on whoever is not here.  We are happy with the team that we have.  We're going out to the playing field and leaving everything on the playing field, and the attitude is to bring the crown to the fans, because our fans are hungry to see that crown over there.

            Q.  Personally how do you feel physically?  Do you feel that you are at 100 percent?  And talk to me about how you see that team.

            JOSÉ REYES:  Well, I believe, yes, mainly me, I'm not 100 percent this year.  I started working earlier because I knew what was coming in this Classic, and I think all the guys are anxious to get on that playing field.  We are all clear what happened in the first two Classics.

            Q.  Can you talk about the challenge tonight facing the Anibal Sanchez and the Venezuelan team.

            JOSÉ REYES:  We know it's not going to be easy because he's a good pitcher, and he knows how to pitch, but right now we've got to plan how we're going to go about it and we'll try to go from there.  Right now we'll try to take it one pitch at a time, and we know it's not going to be easy because he knows how to pitch.  I played with him a little bit in Miami, and he knows what he's doing out there.

            Q.  As you know, in baseball anyone can win a game.  The World Classic, if you lose two games you're eliminated.  This last year in the wild card Atlanta was eliminated, and it was a better team than the other one.  What do you think of the World Classic, the fact that one game is worth like a full series, and even if you have a better team, in nine innings you have to win the game, that difference with such a short series of so few games ?

            JOSÉ REYES:  Well, I think that the difference with that short series is to start winning in the first game, and that's important.  That's what's going to determine how good you're going to play, and that's what happened.  What we did in the past Classic, we didn't go where we wanted to.  You have to understand that in baseball anyone can win.  With the talent that we have, if we put everything on our playing field, we're going to go to the second round.