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May 9, 2011
Ben Revere had never been to Fenway Park before Friday night, and he was still cherishing the moment the following day. The rookie outfielder started in left field for the Twins, and with Tim Wakefield on the mound he singled in his first at-bat and went on to score on a balk. It was a memorable game for the youngster, but simply playing in the historic venue was enough to have him smiling ear-to-ear when he recounted the experience the following morning.
Ben Revere: “I faced Wakefield three times in spring training, and his ball moves a lot. It’s hard to get used to him, because you don’t know which way the ball is going to go. I’ve been watching him on TV for so long, and he makes guys look stupid at times.
“Coming in, they were telling me to try to wait back and see the ball a little. If it starts around the belt buckle, it’s most likely going to drop low, but if it starts high it will drop into the zone. The whole time, I was telling myself that if I saw it high, I’d be swinging. If I saw it low, I’d be taking.
“My first at-bat, we had runners on and I was just trying to find a gap. There were none out, so I was trying to at least get the guys into scoring position for Drew [Butera] behind me. I was thinking about bunting, but I bunted against him in spring training and that was kind of a bad decision. It’s kind of tough to bunt against a knuckleballer. I got lucky in spring training, because I got it down, but I thought it was a better idea just to swing away. That’s what I did, and luckily I found a gap.
“Later that night, I started thinking about it a little bit. A few buddies texted me about it. I was mostly happy about us getting a W, but back in the hotel, when I was getting ready to go to sleep, it kind of sunk in that I got a base hit in my first-ever at-bat at Fenway. It was my first time here, and I’ve always heard so much about this park.
“I was on third base and Denard Span was on first, and Wakefield did some kind of weird third-to-first move that I’ve never seen before. Span kind of got caught off-guard. I was like, ‘What was that?’ I thought it was a balk a little bit. Then I saw the umpire make the balk call and Boston’s manager kind of went crazy.
“Before the game, our first-base coach, Jerry White, was showing us his moves to first. Wakefield has some quick feet for his age, and his third-to-first is pretty good, but what I saw on the film isn’t what he did in the game. It was kind of weird. He kind of messed up his spin a little bit and luckily the umpire called it right. He kind of went more toward home, then to third, and then turned around and went to first. He didn’t plant his foot going to third base and I was like, ‘What was that?’ It seemed like a really good balk move, but in this league I don’t think you can do that.
“In my second at-bat, I had a good pitch to hit. I saw the ball up, like the pitch in my first at-bat, but I hit it toward the wrong guys. [Carl] Crawford and [Jacoby] Ellsbury were out there and with their speed that‘s a bad spot to hit the ball. Crawford caught it.
“My third at-bat, I faced [Alfredo] Aceves, who I had faced before in Triple-A. We had a few guys on base and were up by four runs [6-2]. The inside slider he threw me was a pretty good one, and I just barely missed it. He struck me out, but it was better to go down there than it would be in a big-time situation.
“I remember that when I faced Wakefield in spring training, the next guy threw 90-something and my timing was way off. I just hate that so much. You’re facing a guy throwing 60-something, or maybe 70, then you’re facing a guy throwing 90. You have to change your approach a little bit. My timing was off and [Aceves] got me good. I can’t complain, though. My timing was off, but he threw me a tough pitch.
“My next at-bat, I led off [the seventh] inning. In that situation, my approach is more to take a strike, hopefully go deep in the count, and try to get on base. If I get on, maybe steal second and get in scoring position for the guys behind me. I ended up grounding out.
“My last at-bat, [Aceves] threw me an inside cutter. I kind of got jammed a little bit and hit it to Adrian Gonzalez at first base. I hit it right on, but it was right to someone. The next time I face him, hopefully I can hit the same pitch into the three-hole instead.
“Playing in front of the Green Monster was fun. Before the game, some of the guys were joking, ‘You better not mess up or nothing.’ I had some of the crowd hollering at me from way up there. They were yelling about my height and about my name, because Paul Revere is big-time here. They cracked some jokes like that and had me laughing a little bit.
“I didn’t get to field any balls off the wall. The only one that came close was Adrian Gonzalez’s home run. I took a lot of balls off the wall during batting practice, and it’s kind of hard to judge how high they’re going to come off—whether you should jump to try to catch it or run back real quick to play the carom. I wasn’t scared, although I was concerned about the ball maybe hitting the ladder and where it would ricochet if it did. That’s the only thing I was nervous about. Besides that, I was good. Hopefully I can go inside the wall and sign it before I leave. Everybody has been telling me I should do that.
“Rene Rivera and I were the first ones here before the game, and I walked around checking out the fences to see how hard they are. I was looking around the whole time. There were people here, taking a tour of the whole stadium, and I was like, ‘Man, this is amazing; there is so much history to this ballpark.’ I’ve watched a bunch of games here on TV and finally I was getting a chance to play here. My grandpa is a big baseball fan, and he was really happy for me, too. This is fascinating.”