Name: Ben Pattee
Date of Birth: 9/24/81
Height: 6’0 Weight: 185
Bats: R Throws: R
Position: Infield Utility
Team: Fort Meyers Miracle (Class A Advanced Minnesota Twins)
1) You were a member of the inaugural 2002 Mankato MoonDogs, what was that year like?
"It was a lot of fun and very interesting to be a part of something new. I know there was a team before the MoonDogs but I really liked to see how the fans reacted to our team, the merchandising, thestadium and the game. Everything was new.”
2) What are your best and worst memories of Mankato?
"My best memories of Mankato are the relationships I formed. I still talk to a lot of the guys I played with there and, as a matter of fact Donnell Boyer, one of Mankato’s own, and I still talk every week
Let’s see, my worst memory would have to be losing on the last day of the season to St. Cloud and getting knocked out of the playoffs.”
3) How well do you feel the Northwoods League prepared you for the transition to Minor League Baseball?
The league is an exact replica of minors. I mean the bus rides are very comparable, 3-4 hour bus trips are pretty standard, except in the south Atlantic league where some are like 9-10 hour trips. One of the things that is a little different is now that were getting paid were on our own as far as food goes, so the hospitality in the NWL is much better.
How about competitively?
I would say it was about the same as the level of competition I’m facing right now. The only thing I think that was a little different was the pitching, it was much more predictable back then. One thing that helped me was having Wishy (Andrew Wishy, now with the Clinton Lumberkings) hitting in front of me. Teams had to make a choice they could pitch to him or me. A lot of times he would get on and then I got to see good pitches to hit. At school I was a table setter and didn’t get good looks like I did in Mankato.
4) Being born in California and now a member of the Twins organization, were you rooting for an Anaheim vs. Twins matchup in the ALCS?
To tell you the truth, growing up I was a big time A’s fan, but I noticed after Tony LaRussa left, things went down hill for Oakland, but really picked up in St. Louis, where LaRussa went. So ever since then I have been a Cardinals fan, its gotta be like 15 years now
So will the Cardinals win it all this year?
Absolutely. No doubt about it. They have an American League line up in the National League, and they have three potential MVP candidates too.
5) You were signed as a free agent right? So were you worried when you weren’t drafted that your playing days may be done?
Well yes and no. My roommate in college knew Joel Lepel (Twins) and we talked throughout the school year and about halfway through the school season he told me no matter what happened I would get a chance to keep playing. When the draft ended, yeah I was hurt but I knew Lepel would come through for me and not even 10 minutes later Mark Wilson (Twins Scout) called with a free agent deal.
6) Has it always been your dream to play pro ball or was there another sport when you were growing up?
Growing up in California was a little different than here in Minnesota. See we were given the opportunity to play all year round because of the weather and I made a decision at an early age that baseball was for me. It must have been somewhere around my freshman or sophomore year in high school when I really knew.
7) When you first started playing for the Miracle, Doug Deeds and Mankato Masher in 2001 was and still is on the team, did you guys talk about the times Mankato?
Actually Doug and I were roommates when I first came up and we talked about the really good times we had in Mankato. I did get sent back down to Quad City for a little bit and then when I came back up Doug already had another roommate so I couldn’t room with him again.
8) You were supposed to play in the Midwest Class A All-Star game this year but missed it because of your promotion. How bittersweet was that?
You know it really didn’t bother me all that much. It was a big bonus for me to make the team in all, but I have to tell you I was really surprised. I had been on the DL for 18 games but I was still leading the team in hitting and the ballots came out just a few days before I went on the DL. So when I found out I was really surprised. I guess the ultimate goal is to get moved up, and you can’t complain about it when it happens so in the end the promotion was a little more sweet than bitter.
9) If it ever came to it, would you oppose being traded?
I really like the Twins and the Twins organization and how things are run. I think that if I continue to improve I can really open some eyes. I did a quick head count and you know 2-3 years from now I could get a shot, if everything goes right but you never know. Guys get injured, things don’t work out, trades are made, you just never know.
If a trade did have to happen I guess I would go with it as long it was beneficial both to me and the Twins.
10) What is the best Minor League Park you have played in?
Overall it would have to be Dayton, Ohio (Home to the Dayton Dragons). The Dragons park is unbelievable. The Dugouts the clubhouse everything is just major league around there. It’s truly unbelievable. Cincinnati really does a great job with that.
But playing on Legends Field in Tampa wasn’t too bad either.
11) What number are you currently wearing and why?
Well for the Miracle I wear number 2, but I wanted to wear 21. 21 has always been my number, ever since I my freshman year in high school. I tried to wear it in Mankato, but someone had it so I switched to 9. When I got to Quad Cities I got 21 back, but then got promoted to Fort Meyers. 21 was gone, and Deeds was wearing 9, so I took 2.