Puerto Rico should be proud despite title loss - manager
SAN FRANCISCO - Puerto Rico's inspired run as the giant-killers of the World Baseball Classic ended on Tuesday in a 3-0 loss to the Dominican Republic in the title game, but manager Edwin Rodriguez said his players should be proud of their achievement.
Playing with a lineup that lacked the major league punch of several others, Puerto Rico knocked out Venezuela in the first round, the U.S. team in the second round and two-time defending champions Japan in the semi-finals.
"We are a bit disappointed, but my guys are leaving with their heads up," Rodriguez said. "This has been a good championship. They should be very proud, each of the members of this team.
"It's true, we didn't have a lot of big names. The people who were here wanted to be here. They had a mission, and that was to give everything."
Rodriguez and his players showed their class when they came out on the field after the initial celebration by their undefeated Caribbean neighbors to congratulate them.
"DR has huge talent," the losing manager said. "Other teams also had great talent and stars from the major leagues. But the DR has a passion, desire, the drive to really show this kind of amazing performance and they did accomplish it."
Rodriguez said his team embraced the role of the underdogs.
"When we were playing the first round down in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with Dominican Republic and Venezuela in the same bracket, definitely nobody would give us a chance to get out of there, and we did," he said.
"Then we (advanced) to Miami, and again we were the underdog there and now we are here," he said, alluding to their victory over the heavily favored Americans in a second-round elimination game.
"I would say that we put Puerto Rico on the map, the baseball map, again." (Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)