11 July 2007

Braves outfielder has ‘Ben’ there, done that

Photo by Courtesy
Ben Guez shares the Cape Cod Baseball League runs batted in lead with teammate Brian Pruitt.

By Erin Lewis
GateHouse News Service
Wed Jul 11, 2007, 02:13 PM EDT 

Cape Cod - When it comes to summer baseball, players are known for performing exceptionally for themselves, their audiences and especially for professional scouts. Bourne Braves’ and William & Mary outfielder Ben Guez has a tendency to perform his best in the presence of family and friends. 

    In Ben’s earliest days, his desire to succeed was as clear as the Texas sky. Julia Guez, Ben’s older sister and “biggest fan,” tells a story that goes back to the Oak Dad’s Club Giants of Houston, a team of 7-year-old boys in bright orange jerseys bearing the name “Giants” across the front. The team had a tournament the same weekend as mother Jean Guez’ birthday, leaving the family little time for a celebration, let alone a cake or card purchase. 

    “On the way to the game, Ben promised a grand slam for her present,” says Julia. “Everyone adored the appreciation Ben showed, but no one thought anything of it after that.” At Ben’s first time at bat that weekend, the bases happened to be loaded. Ben followed through on his promise to his mother and delivered that grand slam. 

    “The boy can deliver,” admits Julia. 

    Recently, the Guez family attended a few games in Bourne on their visit to Cape Cod. With his family in attendance, Guez smacked a home run, got 18 hits, 16 RBI and has amassed a .310 batting average. His 19 RBI total as of July 9 tie him for tops in the Cape League with teammate Brian Pruitt (Stetson).

    The family-oriented Brave won’t deny his statistics and the impressive reputation he’s already built in the Cape League, but he does recognize the important role his family has played in his success. “I have a great family,” says Guez. “They’ve always been supportive.”

    Like most Cape Leaguers, Guez awakes every morning miles from home and admits that the hardest thing about being associated with the CCBL is being so far from his hometown of Houston. However, in the absence of his own family, he has received the constant support and admiration of his host family, Penny and Stanley “Froggy” Eldridge. The couple can be seen close to every home game at Doran Park cheering for Ben, wearing a button bearing his infamous grin, seated along the third base line and almost directly behind the Braves dugout. 

    “Froggy is easily the best guy I’ve met on Cape Cod, and Penny is definitely a close second,” beams Guez about the fans who currently stand in place of his “biggest fan,” who he claims to be his older sister, Julia.

    Ben’s motto of “always play hard and never give up” has definitely played true in the eyes of his family, his fans his entire life, and those he’s developed this summer in Bourne. “He has a genuine appreciation for the game,” says Ben’s mother. “[Baseball] has always been so much fun for him to play, and we’ve always understood this is where he’s always been happiest.”

    Despite the astronomical odds facing anyone with the dream of playing professional baseball, it’s likely that Guez’ grit and determination will keep him in the game as long as his 6 foot, 175-pound frame allows. “I love the game and I’ll play until I die,” he says.

For the Guez family and those on Cape Cod who have adopted him as one of their own, these words are music to their ears. 
“He loves the game and he’s wonderful at it,” beams Julia. “We watch him do what he loves and see him do it very well. There is nothing better than that.”

Erin Lewis is an intern for the Bourne Braves and a communications major at Northeastern University.