But out of respect to Benny, we decided to wait until the news was outthere a little before talking about it in public - after all, a guy’sprivate life is his private life.
Well, last night after Vancouver’s loss to Eugene, Benny the Jet talkedto the TEAM 1040 guys and told the entire city the news that a selectfew had known previously - he has a Mrs Winslow in tow.
So congratulations to the happy couple - both are tremendous folks,clearly head over heels for each other, and if any one person in theA’s organization deserves to find true happiness, it’s a selfless dudelike The Jet.
Thankfully, I’m a pretty fast typer, so I managed to transcribe theinterview on the fly, and though it’s not word for word exact (hey, I’mnot THAT fast), it’s pretty darn close. Enjoy.
Was there anything positive to come out of yesterday’s game?
BW: Well, the good thing about this game was the weather was reallynice, and when you’re in the batter’s box and the girls are out waitingfor you in the stands, and the sun is out, everything’s okay, you know?(laughs) Actually, it was pretty bad, but we’re not worried about it.It’s one game.
The C’s have hit a bit of a slump though…
BW: Yeah, we’re not too good right now. We were running hot bats butright now we have become ice cold. That’s baseball, that’s somethingevery hitter goes through, ups and downs, cold streaks, but we havegood pitching and are looking forward to the future. I think once acouple of guys break out of slumps, we’ll start winning a lot ofballgames.
You lost Chad Boyd and Toddric Johnson to Kane County - how do you feel when you lose a couple of guys like that?
BW: It’s a mixed reaction. There’s three parts of it as a player -you’re obviously excited for the guy, you’re sad it’s not you, andyou’re sad you’re losing him in the lineup. That’s a bunch of emotionsgoing on, but it’s really about development here, you know? We’re moreconcerned with that guy playing in the majors, than we are about himwinning in Vancouver. That’s the reality.
You’ve got Matt Sulentic, however, to take their place…
BW: Yeah, that guy, I tell ya, he works his tail off and it’s fun towatch. He’s always pulling coaches and guys into the cage and he’s like"throw to me", which is awesome. He’s a high school kid, so he has someserious work to do in the outfield, but as far as hitting, he’s top ofthe high schoolers in the country and he’ll be something special.
What about your new lead-off guy, Larry Cobb?
BW: He’s the scrappiest dude you’ll ever find as a lead-off man. Iswear, he was born in a junkyard, he’s all sorts of tough. He just getsit done, no matter how ugly he might have to get to make it happen, hegets it done.
And Jermaine Mitchell…
BW: I tell you, you dont wanna blink when Mitchell is in the batter’sbox, he hits the ball, he gets on base, and when he does, he’s one ofthe fastest guys I’ve played with - he just flies, so even when his batis cold, he’s a chance to get on base and score.
How did you get to become a coach in Vancouver?
BW: I went to college and that didn’t pan out too well, but a littlelater I thought I had a chance to play, so I knocked on Oakland’s door,they let me in to try out, and I spent three seasons running aroundlike a crazy guy. They gave me a contract and decided I was good enoughto coach, and they’ll probably rethink that seeing how we’re hittingright now. (laughs)
You were a bit of a utility guy when you played, right?
BW: Oh yeah, I lied my ass off, tole them I played everything. I wasalways second baseman in college, but I lied and said, sure, I can playthird. Yeah, I can take first, outfield, pitching… Just play me.They’re like, ‘We’ve got an injured guy, can you play that position?’and I’m all ‘Oh yeah, I play that spot, send me out there, coach.’
Rick Magnante: discuss.
BW: He’s an amazing professional, so articulate, so precise, a greatmanager, just incredible to be around and learn from. When we get in aset routine, get the guys used to bus trips and playing every day, youcan bet we’ll have a good season with him running the show.
Talk about the transition for these guys to wooden bats.
BW: well, nowadays most colleges are using wood through their seasons,taking batting practice, summer ball, etc, so there’s a change, butit’s not as big a change as it once was. to be sure, you’ve gotta takea better swing with wood.
What do you think of talk that the C’s might bring in the outfield wall?
BW: I think it would ruin it. (laughs) Not ruin it, the atmosphere hereis amazing for baseball, but that’s part of the aura of this place, thebig outfield. It’s almost mythical in how far you have to hit a ball.
Should they just bring in the center field maybe, so people might hit the occasional home run to center?
BW: Oh, center field happened when I was here. But I hit it from secondbase. (laughs) They should keep it how it is, maybe clean up the wall alittle, shoot down some of those birds so there’s less poop out thereto roll around in. But it’s fine as it is, I think.
This is your first time in the press box, right? have you been here before?
BW: No, I haven’t, I love it up here. My wife used to watch me from uphere, she used to watch me play. Well, I didn’t play much but shewatched me. My behind looks really good from up here, I guess.
That’d be Ms Cass?
BW: Ms Winslow now. Yeah.
You’re still pretty young, right?
BW: Yeah, I’m not much older than the guys I’m coaching, and I actuallyplayed with a couple of these guys. Obviously I was their father figureand still am, so it feels good to feed them knowledge and… No, I’mgoofing off, but I did play with some of the guys down there, andthey’re pretty respectful, despite that.
What’s behind the C’s hitting slump of late?
BW: Well, I’ve always said that hitting as a team is indicative of thecoaching, and I struck out a ton when I was playing, so clearly they’relearning plenty from me. What are ya gonna do?
The errors aren’t helping…
BW: Again, I made a lot of errors too. Blame me. It’s all my fault. (laughs)