Q&A with Miami Marlins rookie pitcher Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer is one of the many rookie pitchers the Miami Marlins sent onto the mound during the 2018 season. He was mainly a starter at Triple-A New Orleans but was used as a reliever for 13 games in the big leagues. Meyer made his MLB debut three years after being drafted by the Marlins in the 29th round out of the University of Minnesota, his hometown school.
Let’s get to know Meyer more!
SK: You grew up in Minnesota, played college ball with the Golden Gophers there too. What was it like to play baseball in a part of the county that has a longer winter than others?
BM: “Playing in Minnesota was a lot different. You got a lot of cold weather games. The season starts a lot later. Outdoors, you start like maybe early April, hopefully. Otherwise, in high school, you’re practicing in the gym a lot, which is a little different taking balls off a wood floor versus the dirt. In college, we’re in the indoor football facility and traveling on the road every week until early-to-mid April.”
SK: Sounds like you got a taste of the minor league life in college in the Big Ten. What is the biggest difference between playing in college compared to the minor leagues?
BM: “Honestly, in college, we got treated pretty well. So it was a little better than minor league life. We didn’t have any long bus rides. It was all flights or short bus rides and pretty nice hotels. You get into the minor leagues and its buses everywhere, playing every day. It’s a little different.
SK: What was the most unique weather situation you played in while at Minnesota?
BM: “My sophomore year in college, we opened up a brand new, on-campus baseball stadium outdoors and in the very first game, we’re playin in the snow. I wasn’t pitching but I was sitting in the stands freezing, charting the game with the radar gun. My fingers were freezing cause I couldn’t write with gloves on.”
SK: I always like to ask MLB rookies and even some veterans about their funniest minor league story? Do you have one?
BM: “We’re bussing up to Lakewood, New Jersey, after a game at Greensboro, North Carolina in Low A and we had a sleeper bus. So I was on the floor of the bus in a little bed to sleep in. We pulled into the hotel at probably 3 a.m., and I was so passed out that none of my teammates woke me up. I was still asleep and all of a sudden my phone was going off an hour later. ‘Hey! Where are you?’ I’m still sleeping on the bus. I didn’t know everyone got off. I was underneath some seats, it was kind of a weird setup. But I blame my teammate because they knew I was down there and they didn’t wake me up. Everyone was half asleep so they didn’t realize I was down there.”
SK: What was your big league call up story?
BM: In the first day of Las Vegas [series], Coach called me saying he wanted to talk about my bullpen. I was supposed to be starting in two days so I was kind of confused why he would be talking about bullpen. I walk in, coaches are all standing around, close the door, manager was asking if I brought my sports coat. I said, ‘yeah, I got my sports coat.’ He said, ‘good so I don’t have to fine you then because you’re going up to the big leagues.’ Meeting the team in St. Louis, I was surprised too, so I think that made it better.”
SK: You spent most of the season as a starter at Triple-A New Orleans but was a reliever with the Marlins, how different has the two roles been for you?
BM: “It’s definitely been an adjustment for me, adjusting to a different role. In the minor leagues I would be starting every fifth or sixth day and out of the bullpen I would throw every third or fourth day max. So kind of going into a role where I don’t know when I’m going to throw or how long I’m going to throw, bit of a learning curve.”
SK: Have you been able to pitch against a player you admired growing up?
BM: “The one for me was actually in the minor leagues. In Jupiter [with the Hammerheads], I faced Michael Cuddyer. He was rehabbing for the Mets. Growing up a Twins fan, I watched him all the time. He was one of my favorite players. It was pretty cool for me. I ended up walking him which was kind of a letdown.”