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When St. Paul native Paul Molitor batted leadoff for the Milwaukee Brewers during the 1980s, he was labeled “The Ignitor”. While Denard Span is the Twins leadoff hitter, Ben Revere brings excitement and energy to a team that is often lacking in both areas. He is “The Catalyst”.
Last season, Revere’s running, over-the-shoulder catch was named “Play of the Year” by MLB Network. His somersault triple meanwhile, went viral. The fame and accolades he gained from those two plays however, did not guarantee him a big league roster spot in 2012.
Revere went north with the team this spring, but was sent to Rochester on April 14 when the Twins claimed Clete Thomas off waivers from Detroit. He returned to the team for two games later in the month when Josh Willingham went on paternity leave. The official line was that Revere needed regular at-bats which were not available in the big leagues at that time.
On May 17, the Twins finally decided (to the surprise of no one) that Thomas, Erik Komatsu and Darin Mastroianni were not the answer in rightfield, recalled Revere and installed him as an everyday player. The diminutive outfielder hasn’t stopped hitting since and, not coincidently, the Twins have played their best baseball of the season.
I caught up with the bubbly 24-year-old during the last homestand.
DZ: Can you just talk about how the year is going for you so far?
REVERE: It’s going pretty good. I am just trying to do everything I can to help out this team right now. We didn’t start off too hot…They sent me down, not for bad reasons, but for good reasons – to get me more playing time. Since I’ve been called up, I’ve just been playing my game, trying to help this team win as much as I can. I just do it for these guys.
DZ: When you first get called up is it hard not to put too much pressure on yourself because you obviously want to stay here?
REVERE: Nah, that’s when you start messing up and probably get sent back down. The main thing is to just to play the game with a smile on your face. When you put pressure on yourself in baseball, it will eat you up. I just come out here and play my game every day.
DZ: You’ve been playing a decent amount of rightfield this year, had you played out there much before?
REVERE: Yeah, I have. I played quite a bit out there in high school and in the minors. Really, it’s not much different…That’s just where I am at right now, I am used to it, I don’t have much (of a) problem with it.
DZ: You got a little time 2010, but last year you were pretty much a rookie. This year you come up and your picture is (hanging) outside the clubhouse door. Were you surprised to see that?
REVERE: Yeah. I didn’t expect to see that. Driving to the stadium, I see billboards with a picture of myself – it’s crazy. It’s been a blessing, I thank God I am able to play this sport right now. I am where I want to be right now….I just play my hardest for (my teammates) and these coaches and the Minnesota Twins fans.
DZ: Last year you got a lot of national recognition when you made that jumping, over-the-shoulder catch in centerfield. Did that change things for you? Did you get more autograph requests, get recognized more around town?
REVERE: A little bit. Everybody was talking about that catch and the tumble – the somersault triple I had…It’s fun, all my family and friends kept talking about it when I got back home. It was one of those plays – it was crazy. That’s why I always go 110% because you never know what play you are going to make. That’s the reason why it happened – I go 110% no matter what.
DZ: One of the coolest things about it was the guy who hit (the ball), Vladimir Guerrero – he’s probably going to the Hall of Fame – did he say anything to you about it?
REVERE: (laughs) I don’t think he’s speaks English (laughs). No, he didn’t say anything. He was probably upset, but he didn’t say anything to me.
DZ: You are really close to 600 at-bats now in the major leagues – no homeruns – is that something you see yourself doing any time soon?
REVERE: We’ll see down the road (Liam Hendricks, whose locker is next to Revere, playfully rubbed Revere’s head as he answered this question). My thing is to get on base, hit line drives. If I hit too many pop flies, the coaches are going to get real upset with me. If it happens, it happens, I am not too worried too much about it because I am not a homerun hitter. My thing is to hit line drives and that’s the type of player I am.
DZ: If it did happen, it would probably be on the road.
REVERE: Probably, it would be nice to get one here, but if I get one anywhere, I’ll be happy no matter what.
DZ: How has Denard Span helped you since you’ve been up in the major leagues?
REVERE: He’s been like a big brother to me, a role model. He’s taken me under his wing a lot. Ever since I was drafted, he’s been helping me out – showed me the ropes when I first came up and everything. He’s been a key to my success. Hitting behind him is a lot of fun…it puts me in a good spot because I can get him over or drive him sometimes.
DZ: He has such a good batting eye, is that something you try to pick up on?
REVERE: Yeah, I do. Sometimes it works, sometimes I get the calls, sometimes I don’t. It’s kind of tough to deal with, but he has a really good eye, he draws a bunch of walks…I’ve been watching a lot because I’ll be on deck right behind him.
See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Twins players:
June 19: Ryan Doumit
June 16: Brian Duensing
June 2: Brian Dozier
May 26: Josh Willingham
May 17: Denard Span
May 1: Jared Burton
April 28: Alex Burnett
April 21: Chris Parmelee
April 17: Sean Burroughs
April 13: Jeff Gray