Notes from Scottsdale

I wasn’t able to watch Puerto Rico’s blowout over the USA on TV Saturday, but I followed it pitch-by-pitch on my cell phone. There’s a part of me, of course, that wishes I were there. But if I’m not going to get playing time, it doesn’t make sense to lose out on the work I’m getting here at spring training. That’s my first priority – getting ready for the season. I’m just so happy for Yadier and the rest of the guys. They’re playing really well, and it looks like they’re having a great time.

I did get to see Yadier’s heroics in the game against the Netherlands last week. He hit a two-run double in the eighth with Puerto Rico behind 1-0. When Yadier reached second, he pointed to the sky in tribute to our father. It was very special for me to see that. When I talked to him on the phone afterward, he said he had been watching the pitcher a day earlier against the Dominican and saw that he was throwing a lot of sliders. So he was waiting on a slider and there it was.

One of the small surprises of spring training so far is Randy Johnson. I knew he was a pro and a battler, and that, of course, is what I’ve seen so far. What I didn’t expect is how open and friendly he is. I thought he was a guy who just kept to himself. But he loves to talk baseball and he’s made himself available to the younger pitchers. What a great addition to the clubhouse.

Madison Bumgarner is one of the pitchers who has been watching Randy Johnson to learn whatever he can from the future Hall of Famer, and boy did he look good on the mound this weekend. He got into a little trouble early on but settled down nicely. He has great stuff. Electrifying stuff. He’s a left-hander who throws strikes. He’s got a good off-speed pitch but his greatest strength is he throws strikes. I loved what I saw.

Jamie and I are looking forward to moving into our rental house for the season, a terrific place in Lafayette with a pool and hot tub, a pool table and a movie theater. We lived in the city last year but because my two daughters spend so much time with us during the summer, we felt we were better off with a house with a yard and a pool.

The girls were with Jamie and me this weekend in Scottsdale, even though Kelsey’s soccer team was in the league championship game in Yuma. I felt bad that she missed it because she has been working so hard on soccer, but as a dad who adores his girls, it made me happy she chose to visit with me instead.

Both girls went with Jamie and me to the team dinner Friday night at the W Hotel in Scottsdale. They got all dressed up and looked beautiful. Their favorite player is one of my favorites, too: Pablo Sandoval. His parents from Venezuela are in Scottsdale for the first time, so Jamie and I have made them part of our extended family. We’ve been having them over for dinner and showing them around.

In the next couple weeks, my mother will be coming to stay with us and help us pack to move into the Lafayette house. She just had cataract surgery so she has to wait a little while before she can get on a plane. She is still mourning the loss of my father, but we have lots of family and friends in Puerto Rico to keep her company. I call her every morning on my way to the park and again on the way home.

Before I sign off, I’d like to ask you to pray for my aunt, my father’s sister. She is battling cancer and has been sent home from the hospital. There is nothing more the doctors can do. We are all so sad and are praying that she doesn’t suffer.


  1. giantzfan4life

    I am so sorry to hear about your aunt. I’ll keep her and your family in my prayers. Much love to you and your family.


  2. stlfan

    You and your family are great people. I live in St. Louis so I cheer on Yadi. But I just want you to know you guys have my support and prayers.

  3. crazysfgiantsgirl

    Thank you for sharing part of your life with us, Bengie. It is really fun to read about all the different things you are doing off the field. It’s great to hear that Randy Johnson is being so helpful to everyone. And I am really excited about Madison Bumgarner! I am so sorry about your aunt. I will be praying for her and for you and for your whole family.


    Hey Bengie,
    Sorry to hear about your aunt. I will keep her and your family in my prayers. On another note, I’m glad to hear that you got to spend some time with your girls. It sounds like you guys all had a great time. Take care Bengie and know that your family has my support.

  5. cnmt

    Bengie….I will keep your Aunt in my prayers. So glad to hear your Spring Training is going so well for you. I am working on plans to be in Atlanta in July. Hope to see you then.


    Bengie…So sorry to hear about your Aunt. Please know that she and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.


    Wow. Articulate, human, bright human being wearing a mask. Why are catchers always the smartest ones? Great blog Bengie; as a literary agent I could be interested if you had a book in you. I just discovered you blog. Very nice read.


  8. yanksukazz

    Saw you at a Royals game a week or two ago, sitting behing your skipper….from a washed out A ball catcher I can’t think of anything better than getting pay’d to play this great game. I printed out what you posted about the ups and downs of not only catching but baseball in general for my daughter. She loves to catch but her reaction times are a little slow. She gets down on herself for all the past balls, so thanks for writing that. Good luck you you and your team this year (Bosox fan) and stay healthy. Don’t forget to train those inner quads…cost me a career.


    Hi Benji,
    First of all, I am so sorry to hear about your aunt. You will all be in our prayers. I wanted to thank you for your kindness in signing the balls and bat for my kids today. The kids were thrilled and are now want to follow you and your career. I met Jamie and Chico in the park in your Scottsdale rental, and I wish you both the best of luck with the birth of your baby. Have a great season and thanks again for being so sweet to the kids. Cami

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