Benintendi: 'You don’t want to come off as that arrogant guy that nobody likes'

Benintendi: 'You don’t want to come off as that arrogant guy that nobody likes'

Typically, being boisterous and showboating will earn a young player a cocky reputation.

It’s been the opposite for 22-year-old Andrew Benintendi.

A dislike for the spotlight, some bland quotes in the media and a generally shy personality have combined to make the Red Sox outfielder appear arrogant to some.

“Yeah, I’ve heard it before, where I come off as kind of put-offish,” Benintendi said. “But that’s just kind of how I am, I guess. Not a big talker. I guess it has been misinterpreted that way. Definitely not trying to be a, you know -- it might just come off that way.”

Benintendi is absolutely a confident character and player. 

At the same time, he isn’t dour. A product of Ohio and the Midwest, he visibly enjoys the game. He’s not hard to find smiling, nor is he abrasive in conversation. The opposite really: soft spoken and pleasant.

But he doesn’t engage with anyone and everyone. And he doesn’t say much when he does engage. If he walks into a room full of strangers, he’s not the life of the party.

“I’ll keep to myself,” Benintendi said. “I don’t want to step on any toes or anything like that, especially last year coming up and not knowing anybody, so. Just go about my business and keep to myself.”

In general, he considers himself shy. He acknowledged he doesn’t like the spotlight, while knowing it’s not going anywhere in Boston.

“I like to just go about my business,” Benintendi said. “Which, I understand (the spotlight) comes with it. Just have to deal with it.”

He’s getting better at it, too. When he was first called up, he said he tried to treat it just like Double-A Portland or his time at the University of Arkansas.

This spring, he seems more at ease than he did with the big league team last season.

“I just don’t like usually talking about myself,” Benintendi said. “I’d rather keep it on the team.”

In part, that’s because for a long time, the media has always wanted to talk more about him.

“I’ve been fortunate (that at) high school, college, I’ve performed really well,” Benintendi said. “There’s always just people asking me questions. I just try to be humble and try to not talk about myself, so. I think it is how I was raised. Because you don’t want to come off as that arrogant guy that nobody likes. That’s just how I was raised.

“I’ve been through, I feel like all of it through these last couple of years. I’m used to it. You know I feel like every, all the different reporters, whatever, essentially ask the same questions. So, you just got to repeat yourself.”

Not all questions are the same, though.

“No, this is a first,” Benintendi said.

Jones-Molina WBC spat is a clash of cultures . . . and that's great

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Jones-Molina WBC spat is a clash of cultures . . . and that's great

The Adam Jones-Yadier Molina verbal skirmish is as predictable as it is annoying.

Was every cultural nuance for the 16 World Baseball Classic teams explained in a booklet the players had to memorize before the tournament?

No? Then it’s amazing there weren’t more moments like this.

Jones, the Orioles outfielder, said Team USA's championship game win over Puerto Rico was motivated by Puerto Rico's choice to plan a post-tournament parade for the team before the final game.

As Jones was raised, parades in pro sports are for championship teams. Red Sox fans are likely aware of this.

As Jones was raised, discussing a parade before a title is secured suggests overconfidence. Rex Ryan fans are likely aware of this.

After an 8-0 win for the U.S., Jones revealed the parade was used as bulletin-board material.

"Before the game, we got a note that there was some championship shirts made -- we didn't make 'em -- and a flight [arranged],” Jones said. “That didn't sit well with us. And a parade -- it didn't sit well with us."

But apparently, Jones didn't know the full context of the parade. It was reportedly planned regardless of whether Puerto Rico won.

One Team USA teammate of Jones whom CSNNE spoke with didn't believe that, however.

"It was called a champions parade that got turned into a celebration parade once they lost," the player said. "I think they just don't like getting called out by Jones, but all Jones did was tell exactly what happened."

Jones’ comments weren’t received well.

Puerto Rico's going through a trying time, a recession, and the entire island rallied behind the team.

“Adam Jones . . . is talking about things he doesn't know about," Molina told ESPN’s Marly Rivera. "He really has to get informed because he shouldn't have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made.”

No one should be upset Jones explained what he was thinking.

Jones actually asked MLB Network host Greg Amsinger, “Should I tell the truth?”

Yes. It’s better than lying.

Look at the reactions across the WBC: the bat flips, the raw emotion. Honesty conveyed via body language.

People in the U.S. are starting to accept and crave those reactions. The WBC helped promote a basic idea: let people be themselves.

Jones said what was on his mind. We can’t celebrate bat flips and then say Jones should keep his mouth shut.

But there's an unreasonable expectation being placed on Jones here.

He heard about a parade -- which is to say, a subject he wouldn't normally think twice about or investigate before a championship baseball game.

Plus, it gave him motivation.

Why is Jones, or anyone with Team USA, more responsible for gaining an advance understanding of Puerto Rico’s parade-planning conventions -- we're talking about parade planning! -- than Puerto Rico is responsible for keeping U.S. norms in mind when making and/or talking about those plans?

No one involved here was thinking about the other’s perception or expectation. It's impossible to always do so.

But that’s how these moments develop: what’s obvious to one party is outlandish to the other.

Now Molina, Puerto Rico's catcher, wants an apology.

"He has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people," Molina told ESPN. "Obviously, you wanted to win; he didn't know what this means to [our] people."

Jones can clear the air with an apology, but he doesn't owe one. And he definitely doesn't owe one after Molina took it a step further.

"I'm sending a message to [Jones], saying, 'Look at this, right now you're in spring training working out, and we're with our people, with our silver medals,' " Molina said. "You're in spring training and you're working . . . you have no idea how to celebrate your honors, you don't know what it means.”

Team USA had no parade. Manager Jim Leyland made clear how the U.S. was celebrating, by recognizing those serving the country.

The silver lining here is how much attention the WBC has drawn, and how much conversation it can drive. People care, a great sign for the sport -- and its potential to foster better understanding across cultures.

Internationally, the sport is on parade.

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

The angst surrounding the David Price- and (possibly) Drew Pomeranz-less Red Sox starting rotation may have eased a little -- or a lot -- on Thursday.

Steven Wright extended his string of scoreless spring-training innings to 9 1/3 by blanking the Pirates for 4 1/3 innings in his third spring-traing start, leading the Sox to a 10-7 victory over the Pirates at SkyBlue Park.

Red Sox-Pirates box score

Wright allowed two hits -- the only two hits he's allowed this spring -- with one walk and three strikeouts.

Several of his pitching brethren, notably Heath Hembree and Robbie Ross Jr., didn't fare nearly as well. (See box score above.) But the Sox -- using what may be their regular-season batting order for the first time -- bailed them out with a 16-hit attack, led by Dustin Pedroia (3-for-3, now hitting ,500 for the spring). Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and, yes, Pablo Sandoval each added two hits. Sandoval also drove in three runs and is now hitting .362.

Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-4 in his return to the Sox from the World Baseball Classic.