Get To Know: Benjamin Christensen
My loyalty for the Oakland Athletics was forged when I came into this world in February of 1983 in Livermore, California as the last of three boys to David and Stephanie Christensen. Despite clearly lacking in the tattoo and facial hair department, I became a devout loyalist to the game during Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. That night is my first recollection of the professional game, and most notably the first time I saw Gary Carter and his amazing smile. Since we were living in Stockton at the time, it was an easy drive to the Coliseum or Candlestick Park for games, but like my oldest brother Matt, I found my attachment for the A’s after watching Mark McGwire go deep against the Baltimore Orioles during a game in 1987. Needless to say, the power stroke got me hooked.
We moved to Bakersfield in 1989 where I stayed until I was 17 years old. When I was six, I got to play Little League for the first time. No longer in the shadows of my brothers Adam and Matt, it was my turn to take the field. Every game I played all out like Carter and Pete Rose. Every game I played as if it were my last, but with a giant grin on my face. In 1999, I got a job with the Bakersfield Blaze when they were affiliated with the San Francisco Giants. I started out as a ball shagger during batting practice, but I was soon moved to bat boy for the rest of the season, and then brought back the following year.
During my high school years, I had started to hone in my skills as a writer. My big break came when I was 15 and landed an interview with Duke/Detroit Pistons teammates Grant Hill and Christian Laettner for an article I was writing for the Centennial High School newspaper. I moved to, and finished high school in Vancouver, Washington, where my writing flourished, but my baseball career ended. During junior college, I wrote for the school paper, The Independent, for two years as a sports writer, columnist and news writer. One of the biggest stories I broke was the possibility of the Montreal Expos moving to Portland, Oregon, a campaign which I also supported until its eventual collapse when the team moved to Washington, D.C. after the 2004 season.
Back in 2007, I moved to beautiful Eugene, Oregon to work on, and finish, my two B.S. degrees news/editorial and magazine journalism as well as a minor in English at the University of Oregon. My free time is usually spent at a tattoo parlor, Eugene Emeralds or U of O baseball game, or at work at Max’s Tavern, the inspiration for Moe’s Tavern on The Simpsons.
Being chosen as a Top 9 finalist for the MLB Fan Cave is more than a dream come true. While I have gotten notoriety for my gnarly beard, long hair and awesome tattoos, those three things alone are not deserving of a spot in the MLB Fan Cave. It’s all the work prior to this moment that I want everyone to know and understand as I have EARNED the right to be here. Baseball is my muse, the one thing in life that I would do anything to help support, to help promote and to help teach to the fans. I think Canadian rocker Bryan Adams said it best on the “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” soundtrack, “Everything I do, I do it for you.” Good luck trying to get that song out of your head.
Follow Ben on Twitter at @Shakabrodie.