Benjamin Christensen may be baseball’s biggest fan, and he’s got the tattoos to prove it.
Anybody who permanently inks the mascots of every Major League Baseball team on his torso is a contender. Tattoos aside, he has an impressive baseball resume that includes almost three months in the MLB Fan Cave, he writes a daily blog about his obsession with baseball and the baseball hats he collects (he had 319 as of August 22), he interacts with professional ball players on Twitter, he has been a bat boy for the Bakersfield Blaze, with his big-black beard he resembles San Francisco Giants Closer Brian Wilson, and he has watched a game in almost every been to almost every MLB stadium.
Christensen, 30, has been in and out of Eugene since 2007, working as a bartender at Max’s Tavern, attending sports events, and earning three undergraduate degrees from the University of Oregon. Since graduating Christensen has been working at Just Sports in Portland. Christensen has recently decided to move to Florida to be closer to his girlfriend, but EDN caught up with him before he left, to his brain about his obsession.
EDN: You love baseball. Why aren’t you playing in the minors?
BC: When I was in high school I was also working as a bat boy for the Bakersfield Blaze. I was 16 years old. When the team was on the road I was aloud to use the field with a couple friends in the area to practice. We needed to stay in shape and stay conditioned. Some of us juniors and seniors were coming out, and it was pretty fun. The way the stadium is built, the sun sets at center field. It was later in the afternoon. I was at bat, and it was hard to see. My friend was pitching and curled one and I couldn’t see it and it hit me right in the middle of the face. It was perfectly thrown and it hit me dead center on the nose.That thing just shattered my nose. My upper lip and I could feel all my teeth hurting for some reason. There was a heavy amount of blood that was pouring out of my face. Aside from the injury. The thing I realized was my calm collectiveness in the batters box was just gone. Taking a baseball in the arm or leg is manageable. Taking a 90 mile an hour fast ball to the nose—your never going to forget that.
You have a tattoo of every MLB team on your body. We all know tattoos are permanent. Any regrets?
The only thing I will say I regret is there is one small segment of Mariner Moose—the cast just wasn’t drawn on. The tattoo artist was working with a picture where Bernie and Bonnie Brewer were covering up Mariner Moose’s cast on his right leg. The cast wasn’t put on and I Didn’t notice until the tattoo was done.
Any plans in the future for more baseball tattoos?
I’m starting to get minor league teams on my legs.. I got a Eugene Emeralds tattoo on June 20. I used their new alternate logo which is a Sasquatch swinging a tree like a baseball bat, but on my tattoo Sasquatch is swinging Sluggo like baseball bat.
I’m also thinking about getting The Simpsons 1992 Softball League Champions Tattooed that includes Wade Boggs, Jose Conseco, and Ken Griffey Junior.
You’ve been blogging daily about baseball and New Era caps for almost eight months now. Is it it getting easier? Harder?
It’s definitely getting harder. It got to the point, on June 16, where I literally just got done with the post and had to walk away from it. I need to to find better stories to right about, and put better stories together.
You travel to a lot of baseball games. How are you able to afford it?
Last year I was able to pull it off because when I worked for the MLB Fancave I made $6,000 a month. Rent was covered too. The only thing we had to do was buy food. When I got fired essentially I dropped a 1000 dollars on the MLB logo on my chest. I had literally nothing but time on my hands until school started. None of the classes I needed were until January. With all the money I had on my my hands I was able to hit 27 of the 30 ballparks. I hit quite a few minor league games too. This year I went to opening day in Oakland. I had never been to opening day for a Major League Team. And my girlfriend lives right next to marlins stadium.
What stadium has the best hot dogs?
Fenway park. It has nothing to do with the hotdog itself. It’s like a slice of texas toast, like a thicker slice of bread, but it’s white bread. It pops open like a hot dog. I’ve never seen them at the store, only at the stadium, and they’re only $5, which is actually quite reasonable.
Any other ballpark food our readers should know about?
The best food at a ballgame is the meat parfait at Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers). It looks like an ice cream parfait, but it has pulled pork mashed potatoes, gravy, and chives. And the boomstick, which is a two-and-a-half-foot-long hot dog at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
You’ve been living in Portland. Have you been able to go to a Portland Hops game?
That’s the funny thing. I haven’t been to a Hops game. I applied for a job with them (Hops) back in May and this is a little before the season started. Five to six days before the season started they called me and offered me a job as an usher. It would’ve been part-time. I wouldn’t have time for it. Every night they’ve played I’ve been working. I only live like three miles from the stadium. This is on top of working for three fantasy baseball websites I work for but don’t get paid for.
New Era invited you to a collectors appreciation party. What was that like?
All it was was a fan appreciation event. I literally woke up one morning and my buddy John Beare (a fellow hat collector) sent me a text and asked me if I got an email from New Era. I popped up my email and I received an email invite from their marketing team. I thought it was bullshit at first. I got into Buffalo (where New Era is headquartered) and we went to Niagara Falls, they took us on a tour of Buffalo, and we went out to dinner. We got a few beers and shot the breeze all night. We (the hat collectors) all hit it off really well. We all had something in common, collecting hats. But we all did it for different reasons. We went to the factory, and got to see how all the hats were made. It was a really interesting process to see how they were made. Everybody that we talked to were really happy to be working there. Some people had worked there for 15 years. It was interesting to see an American company manufacturing in America. We also Toured the corporate office in downtown Buffalo, and got to go shopping on their dime.
I’m still trying to get a job in the realm of baseball.
To follow Christensen on Twitter: @Shakabrodie
To follow his blog go to: “Hats and Tats: A Lifestyle”