Dominican Republic postgame quotes March 14

Q. Erick, with that call from the umpire, how were you able to connect?

ERICK AYBAR: Well, imagine that happened. An umpire makes a mistake and what I did was to forget about that pitching and to continue with my frame. I'll have the pitching to contact the ball, and with the pitching I made contact.

Q. An important game, the Dominican Republic beat the United States. It was a scenario in which the Dominican fans eclipsed easily the United States fans. How is the emotion and how have you controlled yourself with all this emotion? And with that hit, Erick Aybar comes out big in this game and the correct moves by Tony.

TONY PEÑA: (From Spanish) first, I thank God, and really (tearing up) I feel so emotional because when we were putting together this team, these young men who are here, they stayed present from the first day. And I don't think I'll have again a group of young men with the dedication, with the dignity with which they have represented our country.

The moves, they are moves that dictate the game, and God prepared the scenario for us and prepared the scene for Erick so Erick could make the hit that he did. And in the previous series I told you, get ready to win this game, and everything came out, Santana and then the hit by Erick.

Really the Dominican people, as I said before, it's giving a group of young men that is representing the 10 million inhabitants of the Dominican Republic. And as I said before, when you want to, you can. Where there is a will, there is a way with a great victory, which is the best team that there is.

Q. Talk about the point, because you did not base yourself on statistics to make that move. And I also want to ask you if it crossed your mind to bunt with Carlos Santana when Nelson was already at second base?

TONY PEÑA: (From Spanish) yes, yes, because in my mind, before Nelson made the double, in my mind whether Santana will bunt or not bunt, when I saw the pitching and I saw Santana's action, I said, wait a minute, this guy hasn't bunted. With Erick Aybar, no statistics, but rather at that moment I want a batter that will make contact. And Aybar was the best batter.

Q. Erick and Tony, you got very emotional but you were able to calm yourself down. How did you control your emotions after the pitch, that at bat?

ERICK AYBAR: (From Spanish) Well, imagine, you have to see the other pitching that comes behind that one. That's the pitching that I have to forget about it. He already talked about that pitching, and I see the ball better and I made contact. He's a big man and he can run the bases, and he knows how to move.

TONY PEÑA: The call, the only thing he tried to concentrate himself and tried to put the ball in play. He just thought about it, forget about that pitch, and just put the concentration where it should be. We want him to make contact, and this is what he did.

Q. This game was anticipated as the fight of the century, the best two teams in the Major Leagues. How do you feel to win the game that had never happened in the WBC and that was expected since the WBC was formed?

NELSON CRUZ: First of all, we have to thank God for the fans we had today. I think that thanks to them, we had that extra motivation that you don't have every day. But seeing all those fans with that harmony, I am sure that in the Dominican Republic they feel the same way.

Games, they are not that big. You put them bigger than they are. Definitely they are the best two teams, they have a better team on paper, but we were playing with a lot of heart and a lot of desire to win.

TONY PEÑA: Nelson said that the fans, all the people that were here, that came from the Dominican Republic, I don't know how many flights there were to come here, but to see our fans, to see all the flags from the Dominican Republic, that gives us a greater push. As I said, definitely the fans had a lot to do in this game.

Q. Nelson, you've played in World Series games, and when you scored that run and the way people were celebrating at home plate, can you compare that, and what does this win mean for the Dominican Republic?

NELSON CRUZ: No doubt, everything is different. The World Series is the World Series, and here I play for my country. I never had a chance to play for my country, and in these situations you always want to give your best, you know. There's no doubt it's the best I ever played because of the way the fans responded.

As a player I cannot ask for anything else for my fans. They give everything they have, every inning, every play. As a baseball player, I appreciate it.

Q. Tony, before beginning the game you foretold that it was going to be David winning over Goliath, and you met your promise. You said you were not afraid, so by defeating the monster, looking ahead, what are you expecting?

TONY PEÑA: (From Spanish) we have not won the WBC. We are playing, and I told my boys how proud I was of them. We know that today was going to be very difficult, but thank God the boys kept their form, they kept focused. The pitching was extraordinary work, extraordinary heart that led us to be able to neutralize the offensive team of the United States.

The bullpen, again, rose to the occasion with extraordinary work by Herrera, and Strop did extraordinary work. So when we got there and we arrived in the game, the man with the arrow, which is Fernando, and as I said before, there is no enemy, there is no weak enemy in baseball, but today was the battle of two titans.

Q. Are you motivated a little bit, because last night all the TV networks said that the United States was going to win? Nelson, with two doubles today, were you prepared and did you come here with the intent to end the statement that Americans are better than we are?

TONY PEÑA: (From Spanish) no. When I was in the hotel, when they started to talk about this on two TV networks, I turned it off because I don't like to hear things that get me negative and put pressure on me, and I'm sure that all the guys did the same thing. But what I do tell you, that each of the guys got to the game and you could tell in their face they are dreaming, they have an enthusiasm that they are going out there.

NELSON CRUZ: I think the inspiration started since we started to train, not because we played against the United States or Spain. If you watched all the games, we always play with the same intensity. But as I said before, the atmosphere and the fans gave an extra touch of emotion to the game. And definitely thanks to them we had that push to play the way we did today.

Q. Nelson, that batting by the right fielder, the whole time you said that I'm not going to get to second base without a problem. Did you stop at any time?

NELSON CRUZ: Especially late in the game, if you bat a ball you think it's an extra base. I never intended to stay at first base. Since I batted my goal was to get to second base.

Q. Dotel with the knuckler, to Dickey and Kimbrel with 95, 96, Dotel with the knuckler and then a man who was always over 90 miles per hour.

NELSON CRUZ: (From Spanish) It will be more difficult next time, the next with Dickey, and then a pitcher with over 90 miles per hour. For the second time, my eyes were getting adapted. But as a player you try to prepare yourself as best as possible. In that situation, first of all, thank God I was able to hit that ball.