Michael Benjamin is the starting third baseman for the Arizona State Sun Devils and enters his junior season on the diamond. Benjamin, a Queen Creek native, was third on the team with a .322 batting average in 38 games played last season.
Unfortunately, Benjamin also got clunked the second-most times with 12 total hit by pitches. Rather than throwing more pitches towards Benjamin, lets take a moment to learn about the junior in this edition of Get To Know Your Sun Devils.
Why do you wear jersey number 9?
“Honestly I was given that number my sophomore year in high school and I had a good year on varsity and the next year I switched it to 6 and I had a decent year. My senior year I went back to 9 and had a better year. So I figured the number worked better for me.”
What is your best non-baseball college moment?
“Getting married. I got married (to former Sun Devil softball player Talor Haro) on December 7th of last year and that’s been a huge thing in my life and a huge blessing.”
Besides baseball, did you play any other sports growing up?
“I was a baseball and football guy. I played a little bit of basketball and a little bit of soccer, but baseball and football were the two main sports and I played football all throughout high school and I actually was kind of planning on trying to go somewhere to play football in college but it worked out a different way.”
If you could pick any former or current Major League Baseball Player, who would you want to have a round of batting practice with?
“I would say a round of BP with Josh Hamilton. I think he has a great mindset, a great attitude, we share the same faith and just seeing him put balls over the fence and having a great conversation with him would be a great round of BP.”
How about him signing with the Angels?
“I know. All the LA teams are just stacked.”
I know you played a lot of third base at ASU, but what’s your favorite position to play?
“Third base is kind of where I fit for the Devils right now. I would say shortstop is where I’m more natural at because it’s what I played my whole life. Seeing myself as more of a leader, it kind of more in the center of everything when you’re playing short so you are able to be vocal to everyone around you and you are a little more involved in every single play. At third, you just have a few responsibilities. I don’t think it’s my exact kind of play but that’s where I fit with the Sun Devils so I try to give it my all and do the best I can.”
If you had to sing one song in karaoke to impress a girl (hopefully his wife), what song would you sing?
“'I Wouldn’t Be a Man' by Josh Turner. It has nice country, deep voice and I feel it would be the song to serenade a woman with.”
What’s your favorite local restaurant and what do you order?
“Munch-a-Mania on University. For breakfast, I order the ‘No Joke Omelet’ and for lunch, I get ‘The Truth,’ and that’s a sandwich. It’s a sandwich shop run by a good family and good Sun Devil fans.”
What’s your favorite baseball saying?
Who’s been your favorite ASU teammate(s) and why?
“Riccio Torrez or Max Rossiter. When I came in as a freshman, Riccio Torrez was a junior and he kind of just took me under his wing. I was playing behind him at third base and he really showed me the ropes and what it meant to play at ASU. I feel like that was a really good learning experience for me. I’m just so thankful that he took the time to kind of look after me and help me out.
"Max Rossiter is just a real good teammate all around and I have nothing negative to say about him. You know that he is always going to be working his hardest and give everything he’s got. He is also a very good leader (one of the captains this year) which is something you need from a catcher.”
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
“I would say dinner with Francis Chan. He is a pastor at an LA church for a while and is just a very creative guy. He has some very good parables about the Christian faith and is a real energetic guy and I would love to just pick his brain.”
What’s your best baseball moment from T-ball to ASU?
“I was a part of the 2003 Chandler National Little League team that went to the Little League World Series. Being able to be a part of the team and going to the LLWS and have that experience, looking back, I’m just very grateful I was a part of it.”
If you were trapped in a room with the U of A mascot, what would you do?
After thinking carefully on how to phrase this answer, he said, “Uhhh, let’s just say the UA mascot would not make it out.”
If your house was burning down and you could only take one thing, what would you save?
(Without hesitation) “I’d take my wife. Honest answer.”
Who’s your favorite baseball team and player?
"My favorite baseball team is the Boston Red Sox. I just think they have a great environment, great fans, and great tradition obviously. I just really enjoy watching them play. My favorite baseball player is Dustin Pedroia. He was a Sun Devil and I just love the way he plays. He isn’t the biggest guy out there but he doesn’t let that stop him.”