Ridin’ the Pine is Just Fine

Marta Garcia-Gutierrez Baez

We see it all the time. Athletes holding the clipboard or chasing down foul balls. These players rarely make it into the game even though they were stars in high school. In professional sports, third-string quarterbacks and utility infielders often make a pretty good living. Bench players are sometimes given lucrative deals even though they may only play a few games each year. At the University of Tampa, most players who see little action on the playing field are usually not on scholarships, and most reserve players are not playing the game for financial reasons. The Minaret talked with Tampa backup second baseman Brenton Cianci to see what keeps athletes motivated even when they are not getting much playing time.

MJ: It’s obviously difficult to get much time playing behind Ryan Kennedy. What has it been like playing with him the past two years? BC: To watch him and Roberto Mena prepare for games has been great and kept me motivated to get better. I know that if they get hurt, god forbid they do, I’ll be ready to go in and hopefully I’ll get a shot next year. MJ: Did you expect to get more playing time after having so much success in high school? BC: Coach made it clear I would get some at-bats at the JV level, but I knew I wouldn’t get much playing time (on Varsity) and it’s not that big of a deal. Just being on the team and watching these guys play has been amazing. I came from Georgia so I had no idea how good a team we had and being ranked first in the nation has been great.

MJ: What keeps you motivated to continue playing the game after seeing limited action in your first two seasons? BC: Winning the national championship was so rewarding last year. The chemistry we had last year was amazing and the opportunity to win another national championship keeps me motivated.

MJ: What’s your experience been on and off the field at UT? BC: This school is great. I have some family that lives in Tampa and they come watch me play every home game. It’s nice that they come and support me whether I play or not.

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