Typically, being boisterous and showboating will earn a young player a cocky reputation.
It’s been the opposite for 22-year-old Andrew Benintendi.
A dislike for the spotlight, some bland quotes in the media and a generally shy personality have combined to make the Red Sox outfielder appear arrogant to some.
“Yeah, I’ve heard it before, where I come off as kind of put-offish,” Benintendi said. “But that’s just kind of how I am, I guess. Not a big talker. I guess it has been misinterpreted that way. Definitely not trying to be a, you know -- it might just come off that way.”
Benintendi is absolutely a confident character and player.
At the same time, he isn’t dour. A product of Ohio and the Midwest, he visibly enjoys the game. He’s not hard to find smiling, nor is he abrasive in conversation. The opposite really: soft spoken and pleasant.
But he doesn’t engage with anyone and everyone. And he doesn’t say much when he does engage. If he walks into a room full of strangers, he’s not the life of the party.
“I’ll keep to myself,” Benintendi said. “I don’t want to step on any toes or anything like that, especially last year coming up and not knowing anybody, so. Just go about my business and keep to myself.”
In general, he considers himself shy. He acknowledged he doesn’t like the spotlight, while knowing it’s not going anywhere in Boston.
“I like to just go about my business,” Benintendi said. “Which, I understand (the spotlight) comes with it. Just have to deal with it.”
He’s getting better at it, too. When he was first called up, he said he tried to treat it just like Double-A Portland or his time at the University of Arkansas.
This spring, he seems more at ease than he did with the big league team last season.
“I just don’t like usually talking about myself,” Benintendi said. “I’d rather keep it on the team.”
In part, that’s because for a long time, the media has always wanted to talk more about him.
“I’ve been fortunate (that at) high school, college, I’ve performed really well,” Benintendi said. “There’s always just people asking me questions. I just try to be humble and try to not talk about myself, so. I think it is how I was raised. Because you don’t want to come off as that arrogant guy that nobody likes. That’s just how I was raised.
“I’ve been through, I feel like all of it through these last couple of years. I’m used to it. You know I feel like every, all the different reporters, whatever, essentially ask the same questions. So, you just got to repeat yourself.”
Not all questions are the same, though.
“No, this is a first,” Benintendi said.