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.

Sale on the latest JBJ spectacular catch: 'What's wrong with that guy?'

Sale on the latest JBJ spectacular catch: 'What's wrong with that guy?'

The catches are becoming routine but that doesn't make them any less spectacular.

"'What's wrong with that guy?'" is what Chris Sale asked third baseman Brock Holt after they watched Jackie Bradley Jr. turn what surely looked like an extra base hit off the bat by the Angels' Yunel Escobar into another highlight-reel grab in the first inning of the Red Sox' 6-2 victory over the Angels in Anaheim on Friday night. 

"I literally, I looked at Brock and said, 'What's wrong with that guy?'" Sale told reporters, including MassLive.com's Jen McCaffrey. "It just seems like once he makes a great catch, it's like, all right, that's the best one. And then he makes another one, and ok, that's the best one now. It just seems like he's always raising the bar. It's fun to watch."

Less than a week after robbing the Yankees' Aaron Judge of a home run with his catch in the triangle at Fenway (below), Bradley explained yet another spectacular catch, this time to NESN's Jahmai Webster.  

“Off the bat, it was well hit,” Bradley Jr. told Webster “Head[ed] towards the gap, I believe he had two strikes on him, so I was playing him toward the opposite field a little bit. I took off, tried to gauge as much as I possibly can, tried to time up my steps to try to make a leap...I wanted to go for it.”

"That's a big-time play by a big-time player," Sale said. 

"I don't know if you expect it, but I guess we're starting to, especially with what they're doing out there," Sale said. "Those guys, all four [outfielder, Bradley, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Chris Young], they work as hard as anybody, and they cover a lot of ground. I've said it before, it feels like we have four outfielders out there sometimes playing in the same game. It definitely doesn't go unnoticed by us as pitchers, and I think our whole team appreciates the effort all the way around."

On Twitter, JBJ's play drew an "Angels In The Outfield" comparison from fellow center fielder Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles.