Print and Go Back ESPN.com: World Classic 2006 [Print without images]

Saturday, March 18, 2006
Lasorda: 'I don't want Cuba to win'

By Enrique Rojas
ESPNdeportes.com

SAN DIEGO -- Tom Lasorda still cannot understand what happened to Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

"The United States had a very good team, so them not reaching the semifinals was something really bad," Lasorda told ESPNdeportes.com at Petco Park in San Diego.

South Korea, Japan, the Dominican Republic and Cuba captured the four semifinal berths for the Classic, which started March 2 with 16 teams divided into four groups.

The final will be played on Monday, between the winners of the Saturday matchups.

The United States was favored to win the first world championship featuring major-league players. But they crashed out after losing 2-1 to Mexico on Thursday and left the tournament with a 3-3 record.

"No one knows how such a good team could lose. It was a great surprise," said Lasorda.

Lasorda, the former Los Angeles Dodgers manager and a member of the Hall of Fame, was named goodwill ambassador for the World Baseball Classic.

"In my current position, I cannot pick my favorite team, but I can say I don't want Cuba to win, definitely," said Lasorda, who played professionally on the island in the 1940s and 1950s.

"And I can also say that no matter how good the U.S. team was, the Dominican Republic has the best team," added Lasorda.

Lasorda also said that the event has been a complete success, something he had anticipated when he spread the gospel of the competition among the participating countries.

"We've been successful in making baseball go global. And the fans have witnessed a great tournament," said Lasorda.