Hello, and thanks for stopping by IBL fans. My name is Ben Pincus and I’m from Treasure Island, Florida (yes, it is a real place), and in less than 3 months I will be pitching in the inaugural season of the Israel Baseball League. I am unbelievably excited about this opportunity as well as the chance to share it with all of you.
First, a little about me. I am 23 years old and this May I will graduate from the University of North Florida with a degree in Communications. I am currently living in New York City finishing up my last credit as an internship with CBS Sports. I have played baseball since the age of five, and have excelled at almost every level. I love all sports, but baseball is very special to me and my family. My father is a fanatic and my brother and I both played baseball in college. Even my mother knows more about the game than most teammates I have had. Needless to say, baseball was a huge part of my life growing up. During high school I was on some kind of trip almost every weekend for tournaments and camps. It may sound like a lot, but I loved every minute of it. Plus, it paid off.
During high school I was named to the All-State team during my junior and senior seasons. After I graduated I was given a scholarship to pitch at Tennessee Technological University, a mid-major Division I school in Cookeville, Tennessee. Never heard of Cookeville, do not worry, most people haven’t. After two years I decided that it was not the place for me and transferred to UNF. I enjoyed incredible team success in two years there including an overall record of 82–37, a #2 national ranking and a trip to the 2005 Division II College World Series national championship game. A year later, I participated in UNF’s first season of Division I baseball. I guess I have a thing for being part of inaugural seasons.
As I said, I had quite a bit of team success while at UNF. Personal successes however, were few and far between. After having a knee surgery the summer of my transfer I did not tell my coaches for fear of being held back and not having the chance to earn the playing time I wanted. Because of this, among other things, I was in constant pain and was never able to play to the best of my ability. Fast forward six months, it’s the middle of the season and we were playing the University of Iowa. My shoulder had been bothering me but I wrote it off as, for me, this was normal. In the sixth inning I attempted to throw a curveball that went about 45 feet and bounced past the catcher. As I ran to cover home I realized that I could not lift my arm up to run and if I tried the pain I felt was indescribable. Long story short I tore my rotator cuff and labrum and the doctors had to shave down my bone so everything would fit the way it is supposed to. Again, I attempted to come back from surgery, but it was clear that my college baseball career was over.
Now that my sob story is over lets talk about the present. 13 months had passed since surgery and with my shoulder feeling fine; I was missing playing the game. Then, my brother informed me about the IBL tryout in Miami, and I immediately started training. At the tryout I threw like I was used to throwing, pain-free and with the ability to put the ball where I wanted. At the conclusion of the tryout, I was lucky enough to be offered a contract. I will never forget going over to my father and brother, both of whom made the four-hour drive with me, and saying “I just got offered a contract to play professional baseball.” I couldn’t be more thrilled to have this chance. Being Jewish and a baseball fan, to play the sport I love in a place that means so much to me, it is a dream come true that a year ago I could never have imagined. I still do not know what to expect when I get to Israel, but you can bet I’m ready. Hopefully all of you are too.
Any comments you have or questions you would like answered I will be more than happy to respond to all of them. I look forward to talking with everyone soon.