Baseball in my blood

Thanks for all your kind and encouraging words about my 1,000th hit. As I told reporters, this holds enormous meaning for me. I was never supposed to reach the big leagues, much less last long enough to get 1,000 hits.

Or at least other people never thought I’d make it.

But I think baseball was always in my blood.

When I rewind my brain to my very first memory, it is an image of a baseball field.

I was four or five years old. My father, also named Benjamin, was a second baseman on an amateur baseball team in the Puerto Rican town of Utuado. He was kind of a small guy, but he was like a giant to me. Strong. Powerful. Our tiny house — two bedrooms propped on loose bricks with a zinc roof — was filled with his baseball trophies.

On this day that I remember, I spent the game in the dugout. I’m sure it was the first time my father ever allowed me to stay with him and the other men. I remember the game dragging on into the 10th inning. The dugout was quiet. Everybody seemed worn out from the heat and the frustration of not being able to close out the game.

bigswing.jpgMy father picked up a bat, preparing for his turn at the plate.

“I’m going to hit a home run to left field,” he said. “We’re all going to go home. I’m tired of this game.”

At that park, left field seemed a million miles away. The right-field fence was the close one, the one my father was much more likely to clear. Plus, he was a left-handed hitter. His strength was to right field.

“No, no,” one of his teammates said. “Go to right! It’s shorter!”

“He’s pitching me away,” my father said. “I’ve got to go to left.”

Then he walked to the plate and dug into the batter’s box. Sure enough, the pitcher threw outside. My father swung.

The ball sailed into left field. It kept rising. The left fielder raced back. Then ball began to fall. The left fielder ran faster. Just beyond the fielder’s reach, the ball hit the top of the fence and bounced over.

A home run.

I remember watching my father round the bases, the biggest grin on his face. I bolted out of the dugout with his screaming, leaping teammates.

“Get him! Somebody get him!” my mother screamed from the stands, certain I was about to be trampled.

My father crossed the plate and, in the midst of the celebration, scooped me up in his arms. Then he swung me up on his broad shoulders.

That’s the opening scene of my life. A ballpark. A dugout. And my father’s unlikely heroics.

I thought there was something magical about that diamond-shaped field, that within those white lines anything was possible.

I still do.

25 Comments

Gee whiz Bengie, you brought a tear to my eye and a smile in my heart. Thank you.
It has been so nice to have you on the team that I follow…haven’t missed a game this year!
Congrats on your 1,000th hit!

Thanks for sharing that memory with us! Glad that you are part of the Giants and our community.

We’ve been following your exploits with big bursts of joy –YESSSSS!!!!!

You and your family and the team have been in our prayers!

You have exceeded all our expectations!

Stay safe and take care!

Bengie,

We own a small winery up here in Napa Valley and don’t have much time to go to games or read and write blogs. But I took the family to the game last week and you guys won in the bottom of the 10th. Great game!

I loved this story about your memories with your father at the game. There is something really exciting about when you get up to bat! You have my attention aevery time! Not to mention the hard work you do behind the plate.

Thanks Bengie!

Great story Bengie, I remember seen your father play in the late 70’s and early 80’s. My dad was a coach for one of the teams that your Dad played for and I used to travel with the team, I have great memeries of those glorius days. Congratulations for the 1000, keep hitting it!!! Sigue dando palos!

Danny

Hi Bengie!!!
I’m so glad that K&K mentioned ur blog last week, I’ve enjoyed all of ur incites. It validates what my diehard loyalties tell me, the Giant’s ROCK!!! Win or loss, eventho I’m sure most of us prefer to win LOL I’m always smiling about one of many amazing plays on field or great at bats that you guys have. I’m a fairly new fan, 3 seasons and counting, it didnt take me long to pick up on the fine nuances of the game, and to see how obvious that the Giants are TEAM players. Thanks for being a go to player, your ability to “get something started” for your team rocks and yet you stay humble. I look forward to cheering you and ur mates on from section 126!!! FYI: ya gotta check out Espetas on Market Street, an amazing churraschuria, hope I spelled that right LOL …kc

Hi Bengie!I love reading your Blog!I really love this story about your dad!I feel so privledged to be a fan of yours and the Giants!I absolutley cannot imagine my life without being a Giants Fan!!I am so proud to be a Giants fan!I live in the Bay Area which makes me feel so blessed that the San Francisco Giants are are 10 minutes away from me!I hope that one day I get to meet you and your teammates!You are an incredible athlete and I will always be a fan of yours until I die.I am so glad that you are on the Giants!You are awesome Bengie!I want to thank you for being who you are and being on the Giants!The Giants mean more than the world to me!I will continue to support you and the rest of the Giants for the rest of my life!I can’t thank you enough for taking time for your fans!It really means a lot!Take Care Bengie!I wish you and all of your teammates nothing but sucess in your future games!Bye Bengie!Take Care!=)

~Love Always~
Yourkiah a.k.a. Your biggest fan!=)

Bengie! You have no idea how much that story made my day. I LOVED it. Seeing what your love of baseball has led to (1,000 hits, among other things) just reminds me of why I love baseball so much. I’ve always had a soft spot for catchers, and you’re no exception. I love watching you, and all the other guys, play. Just want to let you know that your fans are behind you and we support you guys 100%. Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to keep us updated. I love hearing from you.😀 Say hi to the guys for me!😉

Thank you Bengie- it’s such a joy to have an eloquent, independent grinder on our team. I admire you for not having an agent, and I admire you for getting it done!! Around here, we like to call you “B-Money”.

Hey Benjie! Just wanted to stop by and tell you that I think Sabean made a huge mistake by saying what he said and we all know that if it weren’t for you, the Giants wouldn’t be winning many of their games. I thought you handled the situation very well and I am glad that you voiced your opinion on the matter. I’m sure he’s kicking himself in the butt right now thinking about what he said–you are contributing so much to the team: you’re a phenomenal hitter and catcher and a team leader. I hope you know that Sabean’s comment is only thought by himself–no one else. I love watching you every game! Keep doing what you’re doing!!

Wow that’s a really great story. Thanks for sharing Bengie; love your blog.

Hi Bengie! In my opinion, you have been the MVP of the Giants so far on the field! Now, after reading your blog, you are even more amazing off the field. You are the teammate people can only dream of…and you are a dedicated father. I know its frustrating being on a team that is rebuilding…but I’m glad you have so much faith in the organization. Believing will take you very far. I know this team is destined for some great things in the near future.

Everytime I go to the game, I look forward to the song you use for your at-bat, “Can’t Be Touched”. It really pumps me up that I play it in my car all the time! Thanks!

And one more thing, don’t pay any attention to what Sabean says. I would be upset with his comments after drafting Posey as well. I just want you to know that all of the Giants fans in chat forums have your back 100% and we all think Sabean was out of line. Don’t let that distract you…keep doing what you’ve been doing! San Francisco LOVES you!

HEY BENGIE,

YOU ARE MY FAVORITE GIANT PLAYER, AND I REALLY ENJOY READING YOUR BLOG. CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD AND ON GETTING YOUR 1000TH HIT. WHEN I READ YOUR BLOG I CAN REALLY FEEL HOW MUCH YOU CARE ABOUT THE GAME OF BASEBALL, YOUR TEAM, YOUR FAMILY AS WELL AS YOUR FANS. I CAN ALMOST FEEL YOUR EMOTIONS. I ESP. ENJOY READING ABOUT YOUR FAMILY. I REALLY WOULD LIKE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BROTHERS. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK ON THE FIELD AND IN YOUR BLOG. GO GIANTS!

MARY

Bengie, not only are you to be complimented on your outstanding play for the G-men, but I must commend you on your writing style as well, a very well written blog!

Great Story Bengie! I enjoy hearing about the prep work that you and Steve Holm do for the games. While everyone else is goofing off or sleeping on the plane you two have your homework to do.

Question: When I was a kidn I always wanted to be a catcher, but was told that as a leftie I had no chance. Is that true?

Hi Bengie! As many have said here, you are an eloquent storyteller. I always look forward to reading your newest entries, just as I always look forward to seeing you in the starting lineup on Game Day. Congratulations, again, for proving the “experts” wrong when they said you’d never make it far in the Majors! Keep defying them daily!

“Fe Fi Fo Fum Bengie!” (Giant talk)

I loved this story about your dad! It brought tears to my eyes! Dads truly have such an impact on their children. I recall going to Dodger games with my dad growing up, it is what turned me into a baseball fan. However, my hubby gets credit for using “all is fair in love and war” tactics to proselyte me to the Giants fanclub! LOL!

When Benito left as catcher for the Giants…I was so sad. I really enjoyed his personality, plus he was a great player. However, I have truly come to appreciate you. The more I read about you and listen to interviews, the more I really respect you as a person. The more I watch you play, the more I respect you as a player and join in your aspirations! You have become my favorite catcher and I sincerely hope you make it to the All-Stars this year!

Thank you for being one of the players to help keep baseball a family oriented game. It is pretty much the only sport I can now take my children to and feel they won’t be exposed to a bunch of scantily dressed females (distorting their views on how to view and treat women) or people drinking and cussing (teaching them that vulgarity is acceptable). Baseball truly is the FAMILY sport!
Blessings to you and yours!!!

I’m pretty sure the comment Sabien made about Bengies “declining” was in reference to his contract ending in the next couple years, not that his play was on the decline, I think that was cleared up that he was talking about time not skills??? A blind man can see that he’s the Giants greatest contributor, not to mention the heart and soul of the club, Hard to believe Sabien doesn’t see what we all do. If I’m wrong…he isn’t qualified to be a GM let alone a bat boy, which I always wanted to be, guess I’ll have to shoot to be a “Ball Dude” now…
FABULOUS STORY! Gave me the chills on a hot day…
Your the man!
Zman

Dear Bengie,

I have only recently been introduced to your blog, but I must say that your entries are one of a kind. I enjoy reading about your dedication to baseball and each successive entry gets better and better.

As a diehard Giants fan, I would like to first congratulate you on collecting 1,000 hits, and second, I would like to thank you for the hard work and effort you put into winning. It is greatly appreciated from the fans and I just want you to recognize that we do support you.

Thank you very much for spending the time to communicate with the fans. I look forward to your next posts and continued success.

Best of luck,
Kendrick L.

P.S. Please remember my name so that if I ever meet you, we have an icebreaker to talk about!

Hi Bengie!

What a great story. You speak like you play, with great heart. It just goes to show that people like you never give up and boy am I thrilled that you didn’t. I feel priviledged to have been able to watch you play and hope you’ll be around for a long time!
Keep up the great work, on and off the field. Oh, and GREAT try on that 9th inning play at the plate in Colorado… no way was that an error. You gave it your all, and that’s all we can ask for. Thanks for always giving it 110%!

Proud to be your fan,
Sue

We can’t say this enough! Thank you for all your heart and for all the hard work and dedication.

With your working so hard to call the game and help the pitcher, we know you won’t let these crazy at home games bother you.

Regards to your family and stay safe!

Thank you Jose for sharing that poignant story.

I love watching you PLAY the GAME of baseball, and now I understand better, why that is.

bengie, i dont know if it’s just completely random, or if there is some way in this universe that the reason im writing this comment, is for an actual reason.

but last night was my birthday. i went to sleep and slept all throughout the night, which i NEVER do. it seems like its the last thing i dreamt about before waking up but i wanna share with you the dream i had:

i was at a baseball field id never seen before, one i didnt recognize, and i was sitting in the dugout by myself. i watched the field as HUNDREDS of people i also didnt recognize just sortof wandered around on it, but u were on the pitchers mound. u were wearing your catchers gear but u were pitching. needles to say, u were having a bit of trouble striking out the batter, so a catcher i didnt recognize came out and talked to you. then, instead of returning to the plate, he came and sat with me in the dugout and yelled out to the mound, “bengie, we got this one.” and you looked directly at him, nodded, threw the pitch, and with no catcher there it didnt matter, u struck out the batter. the catcher next to me yelled “thats my boy!”

afterwards the 2 of us went out to the field and u had a great big smile on your face as you hugged everyone around you.

now like i said bengie, i dont know if that was random or if what i dreamed was some version of that day. if it was, i feel absolutely honored to be telling you of it.

all i know is that today i came to your blog for the first time in a few weeks, just to check if there was anything new because i couldnt stop thinking about that dream, and i read your latest entry, in absolute shock and awe.

i had no idea about your dad, im SO sorry bengie……
but even if my dream has nothing to do whatsoever with what happened, i hope it will offer some comfort.

you KNOW hes watching over you, and u KNOW he is so incredibly proud of you, and loves you and your girls SO much.

my thoughts, prayers, and dreams, are with you and your entire family…

Hey Bengie,
I Hope you’re reading this. I hope you and your family is having a good offseason and have a good Christmas. We thank you for everything on and off the field. I hope you have a great year in 2009 and lead us to the playoffs. I know it is your last season with us as far as the last year you have a contract with us. But I do hope they bring you back for atleast one more season until Buster Posey is ready, since he is the future for us, not necessarily for Catcher but yeah. And I also hope you put in a good word right now for the Giants to look into signing Matt Holliday for 2010 and beyond. He is a great player and will be a free agent in 2010 and I think he would love to come back to the NL West and help the Giants out and the move for him and his family will not be far at all and he will get to be back in the National League. I want you back as well. So bring you back and keep mentoring Sandoval. You guys complement each other well and help to bring in a superstar, true professional in Matt Holliday and bring San Francisco a World Series Title!!!! I know you have it in you and with Lincecum and company, anything can happen!!!! Im pulling for you this season and our beloved Giants!!!

My condolences to you Bengie and your family. Your Father was a GREAT man, the way your blog describes him. I’m sure he is looking down from heaven on you all. You will carry on his legacy im sure.

You are a good man. I met you in DC when the Giants were playing the Nats. I was in the visiting families waiting room with the Aurilias. Jamie introduced me to you. Hope Jamie and your daughters are doing great.

Happy New Year!!!

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