Italy postgame interviews March 13

Q. Can you talk about the aggressive base running by Puerto Rico and how that may have forced some of the mistakes that we saw?

MARCO MAZZIERI: Well, yes, they were very aggressive. But I think part of that, it's based on throwing to the wrong base at the wrong time, I think, and that's what caused them to be more aggressive, I think.

Q. Can you talk about, obviously this is not the way you wanted it to end, but you had such a nice run in this tournament and what this does for baseball in Italy.

MARCO MAZZIERI: It's really hard to say anything right now. We're still on the dais, and let me digest this loss. And I'm not thinking about how this is going to develop baseball and everything else. Please forgive me for not giving you a straight answer right now, but this is not what I'm thinking about right now.

ANTHONY RIZZO: You know, I didn't really know much about the Italian baseball program at all coming in, but leaving, I think we had the right man leading us. The guys were great, and I mean, we had a lead in every game, every game we played in this tournament. No one scripted us to be where we are, playing against the best teams, the best all there's a handful of All Stars on every team and we had the lead in every game. We all stayed together, and I think the respect that we earned at this tournament is well deserved for the entire country of Italy.

Q. Marco, on the play of your shortstop, when you took Granato out, did you feel he needed a breather and you brought your second shortstop in?

MARCO MAZZIERI: Well, actually that is a very tough decision for me, very tough. If it would have been like a championship season, I'm not taking that decision. But I felt like it could have got into his head a little bit too much because the first play, okay, the second, maybe a bad hop, but the third one, again, I wouldn't have felt comfortable leaving him out there, and I couldn't let the team down in that way. I think Jack is a good shortstop, no matter what, Jack Santora, the guy that went in for him. And again, it was a very tough decision. Anthony is the guy that made the difference for us for the last three years, and he's the main reason why we've won so many games in the last three years, and we won European Championship and bronze medal. Again, just at that point, I didn't feel comfortable just leaving him out there.

Q. Six outs from playing the next game. Do you think the nerves got the better of your defense in that situation?

MARCO MAZZIERI: It's hard to tell because we were six outs away with two runs lead today, and we had two runs lead with eight outs to go against the Dominican Republic yesterday, so obviously it's very tough to take both games. I don't think it's that much nerves. Sometimes there's a situation where one play could affect the next play. I think we got the double play when we had men first and third, no out, and it could have been called either way. The umpire called him safe. If he called him out, it's like a double play, we still have a one run lead with two outs. Really, it's tough to say. I don't think the nerves got into it. I think they were just better than us closing out what they started.

Q. Did you reach a point where you thought about putting Grilli in or were you just going to wait until the ninth inning with him?

MARCO MAZZIERI: I think we have an obligation to the player first, to their teams, and then us. I'm so grateful to these guys, Anthony, Jason, Chris Denorfia, Nick Punto, all these guys coming to play for us from the Major League camps that I want to do what's best for them first of all. And I couldn't ask Jason to go in for more than one inning, which is what he's going to do during the season. Yes, I mean, this tournament is important, but to me what's important the most is these guys. So I wouldn't do anything to hurt them in no ways.

Q. Anthony, that tough play, the González ground ball, could be a close play at first. How did you think that was going to did you think you could get him at first?

ANTHONY RIZZO: I saw him rounding. I figured if I can pick that it was going to be a tough hop. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to stay on the bag, so if I could pick it I'd be able to throw him out. You know, the game just it's a funny game. Just tip your hats to Puerto Rico for not giving up.

Q. Big hit, close to home where you grew up, kind of the feeling of that big double.

ANTHONY RIZZO: It was just good for this team, for this program. Like I said, everyone has written us off, a lot of we shouldn't be here, this and that. I think we've earned the respect that we like everyone said, that we didn't get at all in this tournament. I didn't know a lot about it coming in, like I said, but I think getting that hit was just a byproduct of the team, and guys were on base and I was up in that situation. But to be realistic, it could have been anyone there. It was just fortunate it went my way.

Q. Italy played great games in the first three games, even yesterday. Losing this way, losing an advantage, it hurts more, but how do these boys feel, Granato, and all the other guys because of their role in this defeat?

MARCO MAZZIERI: (From Spanish) I don't think it is fair to point fingers to one or another player. That's not fair, not fair because we are talking about a team sport. And I think there was other situations in the game that we did not execute, that we did not execute the way we should have. That's also a reason why the game could not be ended with an advantage. I don't like to talk like that because it's not fair to the player because you don't start with four balls. It's another game. Errors are part of the game, just like double plays and home runs and all that. I think what I should say is that in the past two games, we could not win to deserve the victory. If we could not keep up the advantage, it's because we did not demand what's fair. That's why we started to get our luggage and leave tomorrow.