Jose, five feet away, agrees that reality far exceeds his dreams. "And my dreams," he says, "were pretty good."
This spring Bengie has reported to camp 22 pounds lighter. This has nothing to do with his testosterone levels and everything to do with his tostones levels. "They're fried plantains," he says, laughing. "It's very tough to stay fit on my mom's cooking, man. But I haven't been back to Puerto Rico in two years."
So Gladys and Benjamin come to the mainland once a summer to see their three sons, who have proved this much: The family that plays together stays together.
Bengie and his wife, Bibi, have two daughters. "Could you put their names in?" he pleads, tapping your notebook. "Kyshly and Kelssy. And could you put in your article that their daddy says, 'God bless you'?" ?
? For a collection of Steve Rushin's columns, go to SI.com/writers.