Lifelong friends reunite in Guardians' clubhouse

August 19th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Mandy Bell’s Guardians Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Xzavion Curry couldn’t get the smile off his face. 

Major League debut days are my favorite. So quickly can this big league role turn into a job for players that it’s refreshing to see young, beaming faces walk through the clubhouse for the first time. Luckily for me, I’ve been able to watch this 14 times so far this season.

But this one was different. Curry’s smile stretched even farther than anyone else’s thus far. The group of local media huddled around him on Monday night to talk about his first experience in the big leagues. A few lockers down sat outfielder Will Benson. That’s when I remembered a conversation I had with him in Arizona in March at Minor League Spring Training camp.

Curry was catching me and Paul Hoynes from up on his entire journey: From getting drafted in 2019 while being injured, recovering and then missing the 2020 season due to COVID-19. We talked for a while before he brought up the fact that the biggest reason he was so excited to join this organization was that his best friend since he was 7 years old had been drafted by Cleveland three years before that.

“You know when you have that one friend that you really grew up with and you have kind of like the same goals and aspirations?” Curry said at the time.

That was Benson for him.

They played rec ball together as kids. They live together in the offseason in Atlanta and still act as if they’re kids, playing Wiffle ball against each other outside or playing video games. And for the last few years, they’ve navigated Cleveland’s farm system together, too.

Benson had been in the Majors a few weeks prior to Curry’s callup. When Curry was asked to join the group to make a spot start in a doubleheader against the Tigers, the two couldn’t hide their giddiness to be in a big league clubhouse together.

“It's amazing,” Curry said on Monday. “That's another blessing that I don't even know how to describe. We played on the same team when we were 7 years old and he was behind me in center field today when I made my Major League debut. That's literally nothing but God's plan, and we can't thank Him enough.”