Pena Interview March 7

TONY PEÑA

Q. We want to ask you two questions:  How different could it be for the Dominican Republic in this edition to be able to achieve finally what they were supposed to do two editions ago?  How different is this one?  And number two, what future do you see for the World Baseball Classic based on the problems that there's been to be able to get some of the big‑name players that for some reason have not wanted to come to the Classic?

            TONY PEÑA:  Well, again, it's a new year, a group of players that is totally new, and I believe that it's my first time that I'm participating in a World Classic of this magnitude, and definitely totally different team.  Not all players are superstars.  The Dominican team has a group of guys, veteran players, superstars, Big Leagues players, but they're also Double‑A players and Triple‑A players, and that is what is going to make the big difference.

            With regards to the future with the World Classic, well, maybe in some countries it may not be big, but for others it's huge.  I mean, internationally this is an event that all countries, international countries are waiting for, expecting.

            Q.  The most important game for many has been the game with Venezuela.  What are you thinking this afternoon?  And how has your team prepared?

            TONY PEÑA:  Well, the team is well prepared by not only thinking about Venezuela, but Venezuela is thinking against Dominican as well.  So it's two teams that are very well structured.  I believe that we have a great bullpen, and I believe that our pitchers are ready; they have good hitters.  It's a great lineup, but we also have a great lineup.  Whoever plays better and pitches better is the one that's going to win the game.

            Q.  Going to the question of the result of those first two Classics, does it put any additional pressure on the team this time around?

            TONY PEÑA:  I believe that the past teaches us to live in the present, and the present teaches us not to make the same mistake that we made in the past.  The future is here.  I believe that we need not think about the past, and this team is not thinking about the past.  This team is thinking about today, now, and we have a great group of guys, and each one of those guys is dying for the game to start.  They're crazy about it.

            Q.  Do you believe that the Dominican Republic team has any lacking, any shortage?  And how do you evaluate the Venezuelan team?

            TONY PEÑA:  If you see the men that we have in the Dominican team ‑‑ every team is not complete.  People make mistakes.

            And on Venezuela, it's a great team.  Everybody says that Dominican is the team to beat, and I say that Venezuela is the team to beat because they have a great lineup.  I believe the team that pitches best and scores more is going to win.