Italy postgame interviews March 7

Q: Marco and Alex, you were able to beat Canada in the last WBC. Was there something about this game or many things about this game that make it feel much more significant and much more gratifying for you to win this ballgame?

MARCO MAZZIERI: I don't think this is more significant, that one game. I think we came with a purpose, and today it's just one day out of a long journey we hope we'll get.

ALEX LIDDI: And like Marco says, it was a big win in Toronto for us, but this is a new tournament and that was the first that we have make it, win the first game. We did it. Now tomorrow's another day. We got to play Canada again. So it's a good start, but it's not over yet.

Q: Marco, the Netherlands obviously did well in their pool over in Japan or, sorry, Taiwan. Y'all get the first win here. Could you talk just a little bit about European baseball and kind of the importance of this tournament and the importance of wins like this for what it means for baseball in Europe?

MARCO MAZZIERI: Well, I think that baseball in Europe has been developing every year. As the Netherlands two years ago beat the Cuban team in the World Championship in Panama, November of 2011, and then last year we beat the Dutch team that was the world champions from that win. So I think overall now there isn't an easy game throughout the whole world. Once in a game, anybody can beat anybody. So that's what we have been telling these guys from day one. And we're very excited right now, but we know that it's just the first game.

Q: For the biggest guess emotional night, this game, for everybody, how do you feel, the best moment or the key of the game for everybody?

ANTHONY RIZZO: I was talking to a few guys who played last go around, Liddi, Deno, Punto, Grilli, all the Italian guys, and they said the energy is unreal, and today it was right out of the gate, unreal. And just coming together as a team, we have a great bunch of guys in there. And, I mean, it couldn't have been a better game the way it ended, how much fun everyone had. Hats off to Mexico for battling the entire way.

DREW BUTERA: Talking to some of the guys before, it's, they were describing what they went through and how they felt, but once you experience it for yourself, it's on a completely different level. And I enjoyed it. What a way to start this tournament here, and hopefully the games continue to go that well.

ALEX LIDDI: This kind of tournament is so special because it's not about one player, it's not about one team, it's not about a city; it's about an entire country. So when you have a chance to represent your country at the highest level, it can't get any better than that, I think. So it feels like playing in the postseason.

Q: Marco, also one thing that stands out is it seems like y'all are set up pitching wise pretty well for your final two games. Kind of who do y'all have set up, have you made a decision on who is going to start tomorrow, and kind of how your pitching is set up for the next two?

MARCO MAZZIERI: Tomorrow Alex Maestri will be the starter, and then we'll go from there. We have a plan. We're trying to stick to that plan. Even though we're kind of trying to be flexible enough just to face situations that may arise during the game, and as of now we're just thinking about tomorrow, we're not thinking about the third game. As I told my guys, we're going to be playing nine one inning games. So that's what we're at.

Q: Marco, the moment of the situation that you decided it to have the change the pitcher, the moment of the change of the batters, are you feeling for this win?

MARCO MAZZIERI: Well, as I told you, we have been preparing pretty well for this tournament. We had a lot of scouting, a lot of videos, a lot of everything pretty much. And we wanted to put our players in the best possible condition to perform at their best, to give them all the information that we could give them. Preparation is the key for everything. We preach preparation to the players about we want to be prepared ourselves first, and that's what it's going down to. And I think that we have a plan and we'll stick to it.

Q: Anthony, during your at bat against Romo in the ninth, I'm not sure if you faced him before, can you kind of take me through that? Had you faced him before? And kind of what did you see coming out of his hand there as the at bat went along?

ANTHONY RIZZO: I faced him before. I faced him a few years ago, San Diego and last year in the spring. And I made a good pitch, first pitch fastball, second pitch fast ball, two strikes, and 0 2, just trying to put the ball in play and get that runner to third and tie the ballgame up. And he left a slider a little up, it was outside. And just the big key is just trying not to do too much. And fortunately we all got lucky.

Q: Did you think he was going to catch it as it was going out?

ANTHONY RIZZO: I actually thought it was a home run, to be honest. I thought I got it a little bit, but or I thought it was a sack fly, so...

MARCO MAZZIERI: Get to the weight room. (Laughter.)

Q: Do you think that your home run could be one of the keys of the game?

DREW BUTERA: There's a lot of keys to the game. We got a lot of big hits early and then late in the game, and then our pitching staff did a great job after the first couple innings just shutting them down and limiting them to one run here and there. So maybe, yeah I think it gave us a little momentum going into the middle part of the game, but I think at the same time it was a collective win. And give it up to the whole team. We battled our tails off today.

Q: What were your expectations about the Mexico team? How do you feel out on the field?

MARCO MAZZIERI: Well, let me tell you, we expect nothing, but we're prepared for everything. So really, again, we had some scouting on the Mexican team. Which we respect a lot. They have a very, very good manager, great baseball man, and we knew it was going to be tough. But, again, we try to focus on ourselves, to our players. We have a great bunch of guys. As Anthony was saying, we have not only very good baseball players, we have some very good people. With that said, I think that preparation goes down to what we can do to do well, and we're just trying to minimize mistakes to maximize results. And that's what it's all about.

Q: Coach, as you look at the next game, obviously Canada is a different team, and as you look at them and what do you have to do differently in order to come out victorious against Canada?

MARCO MAZZIERI: If you allow me, I'm not going to tell you. (Laughter.) We'll see. We'll see tomorrow. We got to talk to the players first and we'll see what kind of plan we have for tomorrow going. And we'll go from there. But, please, allow me not to say anything about it.

DREW BUTERA: Do you work for Canada?

Q: No. (Laughter.)

Q: When Da Silva came in it seemed like he took control and kind of gave y'all some very key innings. Can you talk about what his stuff was? It seemed like he was very confident in his change up and it was working pretty good.

DREW BUTERA: Yeah, he has kind of a funky motion, and I think a little deception helped him as well. He has a two seamer in a change up and a curve ball that he threw only a couple times, but he has couple speeds to his change ups. He has one that jumps at you and another one that's like a Bugs Bunny change up, it just seems to never get there. And he kind of throws that in all counts. So for him he's spotting the fastball well. And he came in at a great time and it took the momentum away from them and it allowed us to change the game and get some momentum.

Q: Marco, you said we are people, no?

MARCO MAZZIERI: No, I said we have good people. Not only good players.

Q: Okay. Good people. This morning on the "USA Today," Jason Grilli said we got people. Could you explain that? What does it mean? Could you please answer in English and Italian both?

MARCO MAZZIERI: Well, you should ask Jason what he meant, but translation for that would be we got guys that can get the job done. Because he's been here before with us, he enjoys being here, and I think what he meant by that is that this is a good team. And I think that we deserve a little bit more respect than what we have been getting so far. Honestly.

Q: For Drew, it got a little heated there on the 3 2 pitch. What did you what were you saying with the umpire, and did you think it was a strike?

DREW BUTERA: No, I thought it was a ball. It was inside. It was one of those things where emotions might just get the best of some people. And what I told the umpire was I got him. I'll take care of him. I was just as pumped up as he was, and I think everybody in the stadium was. So it was one of those things where everybody's intense. We all wanted it to be a strike. It was the right call. It was a ball. And what I said to him was, listen, I'll take care of him, don't worry about it, I got him. That's when I went out to the mound and tried to calm him down a little bit.

Q: Alex, five times on base, fantastic game. Victory. Now for next steps. For you, does this put Italy right now realistically in Miami?

ALEX LIDDI: Yeah, for sure. That's our goal. Those our first goal. Like Marco says, that's just the start for us, to go to San Francisco. And I think that everybody believes in that. I don't know if the people outside believe it, it doesn't matter, we believe in that and we will get there.

Q: For the players that were on the field there in the ninth inning, there was all the chanting, all the excitement in the stands. Can you kind of express what it felt like just to be in this kind of environment representing your country and kind of hearing the chanting and the noise?

DREW BUTERA: That's what you play for. That excitement, that's what I live for. That's what I think every athlete wants to put themselves in that position and find themselves in bottom of the ninth, 3 2 count or a game winning shot or whatever. It's a thrill like no other. You can't explain it. So I had a great time. I hope the next game we're a little more ahead, but if it comes down to that, it's moments that we live for and I loved it.