Q&A with Kris Benson

InsidePitchMagazine.com caught up with Kris Benson for a Q&A session to talk about how his transition from a small market team to a large market team has gone, what it like going from the ace of the Pirates' staff to a member of the Mets' rotation, and much more.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: It's been over a full calendar year since you came to the Mets, how has your transition been going from a small market team to New York City?

Kris Benson: Well, it has really been night and day. In Pittsburgh, we didn't have the exposure we do now, and the Mets are more well-known around the country. The Mets have a very big fan base, and it makes it real fun to go play on the road. Just from top to bottom I really enjoy the city, and I like knowing that the Mets have the financial ability to go out there and sign players.

Inside Pitch: What has been the toughest part of your transition?

Benson: To tell you the truth, there hasn't been a hard part of it. I actually made the transition fairly easily and quickly, and the tough part was really only finding a place to live (laughing). Everything else has been so smooth and easy, and pretty much since my first week I have fit in nicely.

Inside Pitch: When you look at last year's team compared to this year's team, what do you feel are the main differences in the two?

Benson: I think above everything is just that there is more energy in the clubhouse. Last year was tough because of all the injuries and everything, and sometimes we were all down and out and that translated to our record. Everybody here now realizes that we have a chance to be a playoff team right now, and everybody is in good spirits. We all know we are right in the mix, and were going to go out there and make a run for it.

Inside Pitch: What is that like for you, finally pitching in a pennant race?

Benson: Well, it is really something I am not used to, so it is definitely exciting. After nine years in professional baseball, I finally have the chance to play on a playoff caliber team. It is something I have been waiting for since I got drafted, so it's great to get my feet wet and be in that playoff atmosphere. I like the energy in the stadium, and the pressure to win all your starts so you give the team a chance to get into the playoffs. Instead of always finishing under .500, it's really like night and day.

Inside Pitch: You were the ace of the Pittsburgh staff, what is it like pitching on the same staff as guys like Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, and Victor Zambrano?

Benson: It has been great for me. In Pittsburgh I was definitely the older guy on the staff, and it was pretty much doing things on your own as far as learning the game. It's great here because I can learn from a guy like Pedro who is a World Champion, or a guy like Glavine who has over 250 wins, and have been in the playoff trenches. I like to just sit there and watch those guys, and learn how to win, and they pass that knowledge on to me. You try to learn as much as you can from them, and so far I have been able to do that.

Inside Pitch: I know you are a low-key guy, and she is the opposite. How has she taken to New York City?

Benson: She really loves it, and I couldn't be happier for her. She has made the transition over here also, and is getting all kinds of opportunities. She's been doing a lot of traveling now, so we do see each other a little bit less, but it is what she wanted. She wanted to be here before we knew we were coming here. New York is the perfect place for her, and the perfect place for me. So it definitely worked out great for both of us.

Inside Pitch: There was word that Pittsburgh Manager Lloyd McLendon said that you weren't working hard in Pittsburgh, and said some things about you after you left. Was that all media hype, or was that something that you really had to deal with? And if so, have the two of you made amends?

Benson: That wholes situation was more media driven than media hype. As far as he and I go, I never bothered to clarify anything. It was basically one writer who was trying to hype it up. The comments themself really didn't bother or matter to me. I have a very good repoir with most of the writers in Pittsburgh, but sometimes you run into these writers who just want to start stuff. But it made me even happier to be here, and it was time for myself and Pittsburgh to move on.

Inside Pitch: Would you consider this to be one of your better years?

Benson: Yeah I would say it is one of the better years that I have had. I had a pretty good year right before my elbow surgery, but that was really only in the first half. But as far as an entire year goes, this would definitely have to be the best one, except for that fluke thing in April. It has been great, and I feel better than I ever have.

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: It's been over a full calendar year since you came to the Mets, how has your transition been going from a small market team to New York City?
\r\n
\r\nKris Benson: Well, it has really been night and day. In Pittsburgh, we didn't have the exposure we do now, and the Mets are more well-known around the country. The Mets have a very big fan base, and it makes it real fun to go play on the road. Just from top to bottom I really enjoy the city, and I like knowing that the Mets have the financial ability to go out there and sign players.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What has been the toughest part of your transition?
\r\n
\r\nBenson: To tell you the truth, there hasn't been a hard part of it. I actually made the transition fairly easily and quickly, and the tough part was really only finding a place to live (laughing). Everything else has been so smooth and easy, and pretty much since my first week I have fit in nicely.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: When you look at last year's team compared to this year's team, what do you feel are the main differences in the two?
\r\n
\r\nBenson: I think above everything is just that there is more energy in the clubhouse. Last year was tough because of all the injuries and everything, and sometimes we were all down and out and that translated to our record. Everybody here now realizes that we have a chance to be a playoff team right now, and everybody is in good spirits. We all know we are right in the mix, and were going to go out there and make a run for it.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What is that like for you, finally pitching in a pennant race?
\r\n
\r\nBenson: Well, it is really something I am not used to, so it is definitely exciting. After nine years in professional baseball, I finally have the chance to play on a playoff caliber team. It is something I have been waiting for since I got drafted, so it's great to get my feet wet and be in that playoff atmosphere. I like the energy in the stadium, and the pressure to win all your starts so you give the team a chance to get into the playoffs. Instead of always finishing under .500, it's really like night and day.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You were the ace of the Pittsburgh staff, what is it like pitching on the same staff as guys like Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, and Victor Zambrano?
\r\n
\r\nBenson: It has been great for me. In Pittsburgh I was definitely the older guy on the staff, and it was pretty much doing things on your own as far as learning the game. It's great here because I can learn from a guy like Pedro who is a World Champion, or a guy like Glavine who has over 250 wins, and have been in the playoff trenches. I like to just sit there and watch those guys, and learn how to win, and they pass that knowledge on to me. You try to learn as much as you can from them, and so far I have been able to do that.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: I know you are a low-key guy, and she is the opposite. How has she taken to New York City?
\r\n
\r\nBenson: She really loves it, and I couldn't be happier for her. She has made the transition over here also, and is getting all kinds of opportunities. She's been doing a lot of traveling now, so we do see each other a little bit less, but it is what she wanted. She wanted to be here before we knew we were coming here. New York is the perfect place for her, and the perfect place for me. So it definitely worked out great for both of us.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: There was word that Pittsburgh Manager Lloyd McLendon said that you weren't working hard in Pittsburgh, and said some things about you after you left. Was that all media hype, or was that something that you really had to deal with? And if so, have the two of you made amends?
\r\n
\r\nBenson: That wholes situation was more media driven than media hype. As far as he and I go, I never bothered to clarify anything. It was basically one writer who was trying to hype it up. The comments themself really didn't bother or matter to me. I have a very good repoir with most of the writers in Pittsburgh, but sometimes you run into these writers who just want to start stuff. But it made me even happier to be here, and it was time for myself and Pittsburgh to move on.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Would you consider this to be one of your better years?
\r\n
\r\nBenson: Yeah I would say it is one of the better years that I have had. I had a pretty good year right before my elbow surgery, but that was really only in the first half. But as far as an entire year goes, this would definitely have to be the best one, except for that fluke thing in April. It has been great, and I feel better than I ever have.
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