John Clay: Lexington product Ben Revere taking it all in stride for Phillies

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistApril 17, 2013 

CINCINNATI — It wasn't planned.

"It just popped in my mind," Ben Revere said.

Late Monday night, it popped up everywhere.

"Some people said it was worldwide," the former Lexington Catholic baseball star said shyly. "I wasn't trying to get TV time. I was just trying to do something nice."

As the Philadelphia Phillies took the field for stretching before their Monday night game with the Cincinnati Reds, the talk was of the bombings that afternoon at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

"We just kept talking about it,' Revere said Wednesday. "I was like, 'You know, I'm going to do something.' So I got some tape and taped it to my glove and put 'PRAY For Boston" on there."

He then put that glove and his exceptionally fast legs to work.

Second inning, Cincinnati's Todd Frazier launched a screamer over Revere's head in center field. Almost. Somehow, Revere got to the ball, making an incredible diving grab. Already, some are saying it will be the best catch we see all baseball season.

"I talked to some people who said if I hadn't made that catch, some people probably wouldn't have even known the tape was on my glove," Revere said of the highlight that was played on a near continuous loop by SportsCenter. "The Lord works in mysterious ways, I guess."

Back in Lexington, no one who knows Revere could have been surprised — not by the sensational catch, and not by his remembering the victims in Boston.

Revere earned the reputation of a class act as he helped Lexington Catholic to the state baseball title in 2006 and was named Mr. Baseball in 2007. He was the first-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in the 2007 draft, taken with the 28th overall pick.

He played three seasons in the Minnesota farm system before making his Major League debut with the Twins on Sept. 7, 2010. In 2011, Revere played in 117 games, batting .267 and stealing 34 bases. Last season, Revere hit .294 with an on-base percentage of .333 and stole 40 bases in 124 games.

Dec. 6, as he was back in Lexington working out, he was informed by the Twins he had been traded to Philadelphia for pitchers Vance Worley and Trevor May. The Phillies were looking for a replacement for traded center fielder Shane Victorino, plus a leadoff hitter.

"I had heard a lot of good things about Philadelphia," Revere said Wednesday before the resumption of Tuesday night's suspended game with the Reds. "We've got a great clubhouse here, a great hitting lineup, pitching staff, bullpen, everything. We've got a good chance to compete for a championship."

Revere has struggled out of the gate, hitting .207 heading into Wednesday night's finale of the three-game series.

"For some reason, myself and April, I've never had the best month," he said. "I'm still hitting the ball, so it's going to start falling. I just have to be patient."

Patience is Revere's rallying cry. Opposing pitchers in this new league have thrown him a lot of off-speed pitches in an attempt to keep him off balance. He also thinks pitchers are trying to coax him into swinging to prevent him from drawing walks.

Coming over from the American League with the designated hitter, Revere even has to remember that as the leadoff hitter he has to take his time going to the plate to give the pitcher some time to rest after making an out.

"Right now it's kind of tough because it seems like the pitchers are coming right at me," he said. "I think if I can have my on-base percentage close to the .400 level that would be impressive. That's my goal. If I could go back to the 2009 season when I had more walks than strikeouts, I could be in the game a long time just for that."

People are likely to remember his Monday night gesture and catch a long time.

"It was just one of those things where I was playing (as hard as I could) for the people in Boston," he said. "You can't take every day for granted. Every day is precious. That's what I think about this game, I know it's a game, but the Lord gives you a chance to play it, so play it to the best of your ability because he can take it away from you in a heartbeat.

"That's all I was trying to do."

John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Email: jclay@herald-leader.com Twitter: @johnclayiv Blog: johnclay.bloginky.com

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