Ben Zobrist is the starting second baseman on the Tampa Bay Rays. He made the 2009 American League All-Star team with a batting average of .297, 27 home runs, and 91 runs batted in.

That season, he was voted MVP of the Rays by the Tampa Bay sector of the Baseball Writers and finished 8th in American League MVP voting. “Zorilla,” the nickname given to him by his manager Joe Maddon, is very involved with his Christian faith and is a true class act.

Here is my interview with Mr. Zobrist—


Brad Wolff: Reading about you and meeting you tells me that you are a nice person. How do you plan on maintaining being a child’s role models as you get older?
Ben Zobrist: I model my life after my Lord and Master Jesus Christ and his life. He has called me into God’s family and I am a representative for him so I just try to be obedient to what He asks me to do. When I do what I want, it is natural for me to ignore autograph seekers, but God wants me to share my testimony card with them and be loving. That power and initiative comes from him.
BW: What was it like once you found yourself on the field with the best players in the game?
BZ: I was pretty nervous at first because I wasn’t sure if I belonged there. I mean, these were players I grew up watching and I never thought I would actually be playing with them. Over time though, you realize that you can play with them and they are just normal guys trying to do their best just like anyone else in their skill. God has blessed us all with different talents and abilities.
BW: If you weren’t an athlete, what would your occupation be?
BZ: I don’t know. I really like the game, so I might be some sort of coach in it or possibly a teacher. I also could see myself being a minister and trying to help people live their lives as God has called them to.

BW: What is the funniest thing that has ever happened in your locker room?

BZ: That is a really tough question. I don’t have a good answer for this, but I always laugh at my teammates for little things they say and do. Recently, one of our coaches came out and was dancing to a rap song and I was cracking up about that one.  I tried to get it on camera but didn’t get a good shot of it.
BW: What is the hardest part of being a baseball player?
BZ: Everything you do is measured by stats and it is difficult to keep your identity as a person out of the game. It can swallow you whole if you let yourself be engulfed by your statistics.
BW: Who are the hardest pitchers for you to hit?
BZ: Josh Beckett [Red Sox], Roy Halladay [Phillies], Felix Hernandez [Mariners], Jon Lester [Red Sox], Josh Johnson [Marlins].


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