The Daily Pennsylvanian asked Sam Bennett of Penn baseball 15 questions about his time with the team, his experience at Penn, and his life overall. Here's what the junior pitcher had to say.
1. Can you briefly introduce yourself?
I'm a junior studying economics and minoring in psychology from Tampa, Florida. I'm actually a transfer student from the University of Chicago, and this is my first year here — and it's been really great getting to be with the team and everything.
2. What is your earliest memory of playing baseball?
I started where everyone else started — I started at tee-ball. And then just growing up, I played Little League at Tarpon Springs, and Little League throughout my early childhood, and I remember some of the coaches and stuff there, but my earliest memory — I started where everyone else started at tee ball.
3. Who would you name on your all-time greatest lineup?
Derek Jeter at short; second base, we’re going to have Joe Morgan; third base, Mike Schmidt; first base, Lou Gehrig; behind the plate, Yogi Berra.
Pitching, we’re going to have Sandy Koufax; centerfield, Mickey Mantle; right field, Willie Mays; left field, Hank Aaron; and at DH we’re going to have Edgar Martínez. And then, just to have a manager in there — Casey Stengel.
4. Who’s your team?
I’m just a super [big] baseball fan — I want to work in baseball after my playing career is done. But if I had to pick a team, I would say the Rays from Tampa.
5. Do you have any pregame rituals?
I'll have the exact same breakfast every time I pitch. It'll be four eggs, a bagel, a banana, and chocolate milk. And the first thing I put on in the morning — I only wear when I pitch — I have a special wristband from my high school football days. It's an acronym; it says, "family," which means, “forget about me I love you,” making sure that my mindset’s on the team and not individual goals that day.
Sometimes I'll tinker with things when certain things aren't working, like certain undershirts or the belt that I put on — I'll pinch down if I'm having a bad stretch here or there. But the breakfast and the wristband are pretty constant.
6. Who are your most played music artists?
I'm all over the board in terms of music. I’m not super into rap music. I'm a big country guy from South Florida — love my country music. I'll probably say Morgan Wallen and Kenny Chesney, those are my go-to artists. But I like music from all over the board. My pregame music will probably be a little different than country, to try and get me in my right mindset.
7. What has been your most memorable moment of playing baseball?
In high school, my sophomore year, we went to the state semifinals in Florida, which was pretty cool — we played at JetBlue Park. I don't know if it's, like, the most memorable moment, but the entire run of the season — how good we were, and some of the guys that we played, and just, like, coming together as a team — that was the highlight, probably, of my high school career, just being able to be a part of that team.
8. What has been your most memorable moment while watching baseball?
I know that the most vivid, or my favorite moment ever watching baseball was Game 162, September 28, 2011, when the Rays were against all odds to move to the playoffs and go to that Wild Card game. And they came back after being down seven-nothing, and Evan Longoria hit the walk-off home run in the 12th against the Yankees. That was probably one of the coolest moments of my life watching that. I'm not sure if there will ever be a more improbable comeback, and just everything had to line up: The Red Sox had to lose to the Orioles, the Braves were playing Cardinals. But it was a pretty cool day — that moment of Longoria’s walk-off home run, and Dan Johnson to tie it up with with one strike left — that Dan Johnson home run was insane. So that whole game is my most vivid memory, or my favorite memory of watching baseball.
9. What is one sport outside of baseball you would like to try?
I'm so one-sport heavy with baseball, and I played football — those are like my two. I really don't watch hockey, I don't watch basketball at all. But if I could try another sport just for the heck of it — you know what sport’s really fun, that’s just, like, off-the-wall? Badminton. That would be a sick sport to get good at.
10. What are some interesting facts or hidden talents about yourself that no one really knows?
I'm super into card tricks, like magic stuff — I love David Blaine and all things magic. I'm really into photography. I love taking pictures and messing with them on some editing sites, and I'll make some prints and stuff — that's really cool. Me and my dad share that passion. And I also love fishing. I love fishing when I'm home — have the little boat and go around — not super good at it because most of the time I'm training for baseball and stuff, but in my free time I love to fish.
11. What would be your absolute dream job outside of playing baseball?
Definitely, I would love to be a general manager for a team — that's kind of the only thing I've ever wanted to do. A high-level executive, be a general manager of a Major League Baseball team.
12. If you could be the best at one talent outside of sports, what would it be?
I wish I was better at video games. I'm really bad at video games.
13. Do you have any hot takes?
The one that comes to mind is that country music gets a really bad rap, but I think that it's the most versatile category of music out there. It’s not just one type of mood; it can serve a multitude of purposes. A lot of people think of it as one-dimensional, but I think that [it] can be used for pretty much any situation. That’s my hot take.
14. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received so far?
I’ve received a lot of advice. A lot of it's cliché, and you’ve probably heard it a million times. But the biggest thing is just understanding that at some point, it's going to come to an end; your playing career is going to be finished, so you may as well enjoy it in the moment. Enjoy every piece of it; the ups and the downs, because when you're older, you're sure ... going to wish that [you] could put on the uniform just one more time.
15. What is one thing you’ve missed most about competing?
100% just being around everyone on a daily basis, being with your team, and having to train by yourself every day. Just being around the guys and just talking. I just missed being around that team setting, and that sense of camaraderie, and just everything that a team brings aside from the sport itself — I missed that for sure.
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