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Brooks Benson: I'm Not Supposed To Be Here

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

Baseball is a weird game.  You can hit a ball right on the screws and it's an out.  You can hit a ball off the end of the bat and it can land just over an infielder's head for a hit.  The game has a funny way to even everything out though.  I’ve been through a lot. My road to professional baseball is much different than a lot of players in the game.  

I grew up in a suburb right outside of Denver, Colorado called Parker.  I didn’t start playing “select ball” till I was 13 years old.  I played coach pitch recreational baseball before that.  My first two years at Chaparral High School I played on the Sophomore and JV then Varsity my last two years.  I was not very good in high school, but somehow got a walk-on offer to play at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, AZ.  I ended up getting cut from the team after the fall season and rightfully so.  I still wasn't very good.

I ended up transferring to Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kansas at semester.  I redshirted that spring of 2014.  I wasn't happy at first because I wanted to play, but that redshirt year saved my career.  Next two years at Garden City I was an All-Conference player.  I hit .312 with 14 HR’s, 26 doubles, and 84 RBI’s combined both years. My redshirt sophomore year we finished 45-17 and it was my best college season.

I got a mostly full ride scholarship to play at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and committed that April.  I got to Kearney excited as all hell to get going.  It did not go the way the team and I wanted it to go.  We went 14-35 on the season and I only played a few games.  I got suspended at the beginning of the season with grade issues.  I ended up getting cut at the end of the spring.  I transferred to Southwestern Oklahoma State University for my senior year.  I had an okay year. .273 with 6 HR’s, 5 doubles, and 25 RBI’s.  The team finished 24-24.  Nothing too crazy.

I went up to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to play in the WMBL for my senior summer.  I never got drafted and never got picked up by an independent ball team.  So I thought to myself, what’s next?

I wanted to play professional baseball but I didn’t really know what to do.  I knew I had the tools to keep playing but I had to become more consistent with the tools.  I followed Jason Ochart and Driveline Baseball on twitter.  I always really liked their hitting philosophy.  I got a job at a water district in Parker in the fall of 2018.  I decided I was going to save up money to go up to Seattle to get my assessment at Driveline.  I went up towards the end of October for the week.  I didn't really know what to expect. I just knew had to be ready for the high velocity three wheel machine. I went in knowing this was going to be my last shot at playing this game and I was going to give it my all.  I fell in love with Driveline during my assessment week.  I knew it was the place I needed to be.  I went back up to Seattle to train from January 2019 to April 2019.

It was a long few months but I knew I got better in every aspect that I needed to get better at.  I went to a couple tryouts for the Frontier league but never got a call.  Went out to the Bay Area in California to tryout for the Sonoma Stompers in the Pacific Association and didn’t make the team.  I joined up with Joe Torre and the Black Sox for the PAC Association tour games. I ended up only getting in one game since it rained most of the week. I then tried out for the San Rafael Pacifics and got an invite to spring training. I was fired up and ready to go but I only lasted a few days before being released.

I ended up going down to try out for the Monterey Amberjacks.  I did really well, but Cip Garza had his team already, so I was told I would have to wait and see.  I stayed in the Bay Area and was able to practice and take BP with the Salina Stockade to stay ready.  I ended up going down to Monterey a couple weeks after the tryout to show face.  They were needing /another position player so I figured why not just show face and see what happens?

Sure enough, I was on the team by the end of the weekend.  We had one hell of a year in Monterey. It was definitely one of the most fun summers I’ve had playing baseball.  I ended up leading the Pacific Division of the Pecos in homers with 16.  I had never hit more than 8 in a season before (I guess the Driveline stuff works!).

I never would have thought my journey would turn out the way it did.  I never should’ve been playing past college.  But you know what the best part about this game is?  You never know what can happen.  Always bet on yourself and believe in yourself no matter the circumstances.  Thank you to Zane for letting me share my story. I can’t wait to share more of my story and what adjustments I made going into year two of pro ball in the near future!

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