Criollos de Caguas, a team in Puerto Rico's Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente that Matos took over in September, edged Mexico's Aguilas de Mexicali, 1-0, on Tuesday night to give the island its first Caribbean Series title since Santurce won in 2000. Caguas last won the Caribbean Series, the top tournament for professional baseball teams in Latin America, in 1987.
"Being my first year as a manager in Puerto Rico and knowing that Puerto Rico has not won in 16 years brings a lot of joy," Matos, a Puerto Rico native, said, via MLB.com. "I'm very happy and I'm very excited. We've been down in every series. We were 0-3 and we came back with three wins, and we are champions right now."
Matos last played in the major leagues for the Washington Nationals, after the Orioles designated him for assignment. He bounced around the minors and Mexico for a few years before landing a coaching position with the Los Angeles Dodgers' Low-A affiliate.
He has since made his way up the organizational ladder, and now is a coach for the club's Triple-A affiliate. He's already got the inspiring-speech thing down pat. According to a translation of the Puerto Rican publication El Nuevo Día, he said of the team's championship: "We were like the ugly duckling, everyone wanted to go against us and now we are happy for the title."