The Daily Pennsylvanian asked Brendan Bean of Penn men's baseball 15 questions about his sport, his time at Penn, and life overall. Here’s what the senior had to say.
1. Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Brendan Bean. I’m a senior, left-handed pitcher on the Penn baseball team, but I’ll be doing a fifth year here at Penn next year while picking up a third degree. I’m currently in Wharton as a Management and Legal Studies major, and I am from North Wildwood, N.J.
2. Did you grow up with other athletes in the family?
My dad played college basketball at Eastern [University], which was a huge influence on me from a young age, just being involved in sports. When I was younger, I dreamed of playing college basketball, but then I realized I was 6 feet tall, and basketball probably wouldn’t be the sport for me.
3. When did baseball become a passion of yours?
I started to fall in love with baseball when I was about 13, and I committed [to Penn] at the beginning of my sophomore year when I was 15. I grew up as a huge Phillies fan, but I really started to love baseball when I realized I was pretty good at it. Looking around the field, I just wanted to keep finding better competition to make me an even better player and the best one on the field.
4. Which three words would you use to describe yourself as an athlete?
First, I would say competitive. I’m a maniac when I’m on the field. In life in general, I’m not crazy competitive, but when it comes to baseball, I take everything so personally on the field and make a competition out of everything.
Next, I would say resilient. I had hip surgery my sophomore year, so I’ve missed basically two years because the pandemic cut my junior year short. Now I have a shortened senior season, so the ability to keep moving forward and pursuing my dreams, working hard to get to where I want to be, has been really important to my success. I just keep telling myself it’s all going to be worth it in the end, even though these past couple of years have definitely been hard on my mental state. I always have all my goals in the back of my head to keep driving me forward.
I want to say fun for the last one. When I’m out there I’m always having fun. I’m in the dugout dancing to every single walkup song, keeping the energy up. That’s kind of my role in the dugout, to keep the guys having fun and engaged in the game. They call it a game for a reason, it’s not a job yet for us; so yeah, I like to keep having fun with it.
5. Who is your biggest sports idol?
When I was young it was definitely Jim Thome, who was a left-handed hitter and first baseman, just like I was growing up. He was on the Phillies, member of the 600 Home Run Club — he’s just the man. Another one would be Albert Pujols. Aside from being one of the best baseball players of our generation, he also does a lot for his community. He has a daughter with down syndrome, and he’s very into research and raising funds for that. He’s a leader in that community, a great person not just a great baseball player, which I really admire.
6. Do you have any gameday rituals?
The first thing I put on is always my socks, it’s just a weird thing for me. My home game morning routine, I always hit Wawa to get a Red Bull, a Bodyarmor drink, apple slices, and a Sizzli breakfast sandwich. Every single time before I pitch, I crush a Red Bull and take some Advil.
7. What is your favorite part of playing baseball for the Red and Blue?
It’s 100% the guys and the interactions, the day in and day out, we just get so close. I’ve only known the freshmen for less than a year, but I would still go do anything for any one of those guys, and I know they would do the same for me. It’s hard to come by such a sense of inherent loyalty that comes from being a part of this team. No single guy on the team is like another, we all come from different areas and backgrounds, and we all come together and support each other no matter what. It’s just awesome being apart of this group of guys and coaches.
8. How do you feel you have grown since you were a freshman walking into your first practice?
I was the freshman that got yelled at constantly. If someone went wrong, it was Bean’s fault. I would be one minute late to practice and I would be doing burpees and running stadiums for 20 minutes, I just always seemed to be messing up. I earned time on the mound, but it definitely was not in a leadership role. From then to now, it’s crazy to see how much I’ve actually matured. I’ve learned to be dependent on myself and not on anyone else, which has been big for me. I guess I just learned to pay attention to little details, I feel like the guys ahead of me have been able to usher me into a role of responsibility and leadership. So now, I’m in a position where I try to hold others accountable. It’s just cool to see how much I’ve grown in my four years here.
9. What is your favorite baseball memory ever?
My senior year at Gloucester Catholic, we won the state championship, which was my best baseball memory ever. Of course, that’s until we win an Ivy League Championship next year.
10. Do you have a favorite class you have taken at Penn?
I took Diversity and the Law with José Anderson, and Sports Law with Mason Ashe. I really liked both of those and the professors were great.
11. Did you develop any new hobbies over quarantine?
I definitely took my "Call of Duty" game to the next level. I’ve always played, but I got embarrassingly good at it. I also cooked a lot more and tried to step out of my comfort zone, making things I wouldn’t normally eat. I would say I trust myself in the kitchen after the work I put in during quarantine.
12. Are you currently binging any shows?
I just finished The Queen’s Gambit, which I thought was unbelievably good. I started playing a little chess in the past year, so I really liked that show.
13. Who should we look out for this year in the Red and Blue?
Definitely Joe Miller and Kevin Eaise, two mid-90s [miles per hour] pitchers that are both studs. If they don’t get drafted this year, they should definitely get drafted next year. They bring a lot of energy and leadership to our team. From the younger guys, Wyatt Henseler started at third base for us this past weekend. I think he’s got a really good chance to make a big impact on the squad.
14. What’s your biggest piece of advice to someone looking to one day be in your shoes as a Division I baseball player?
To never lose your self-confidence on the field and know that you’re good enough. There will be times when you’re not the best player on the field, maybe one of the smaller guys, but you have to know that you’re there for a reason. If this is your dream, the only person that’s going to stop you from making it is yourself.
15. What do you hope to be remembered by here at Penn?
I hope I’m remembered as a guy that people could count on no matter what, someone who is dependable. I want to be a guy that any of these kids can go to in any time of struggle. From a baseball perspective, I want to be remembered as a bulldog. A guy that never gave in, and competed regardless of the situation, doing whatever it took to lead my team to a win.