New York Mets star, Benny Agbayani participated in a live chat last today on honoluluadvertiser.com. Advertiser sports writer Stacy Kaneshiro was the moderator.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Benny's here and will give an opening statement.
Benny Agbayani: Thanks for joining us.
Stacy Kaneshiro: From Mark Williams: What was your most memorable moment last year?
Benny Agbayani: Probably game 3 of the World Series when I hit that double to win the game.
Stacy Kaneshiro: From David Ho: If you were not a professional baseball player what would you be doing as an oocupation
Benny Agbayani: Probably counseling, I guess, in high schools.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Besides family, what do you miss about Hawaii? (from Caroline Kauhane)
Benny Agbayani: Just probably the food. Plate lunches. And the weather and the beach.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Are you planning to visit Maui and possibly do some signing sessions? (from Hatsue)
Benny Agbayani: I don't know. I'd like to make an appearance out there. But due to my tight schedule, I can't really promise them that.
Stacy Kaneshiro: From Reneil Magday: What do you do during the offseason to keep in shape?
Benny Agbayani: Take myself to the 24 Hour Fitness iin the mornings and in the afternoons go out to the field and hit and run.
Stacy Kaneshiro: From Roy Westlake: Have you ever thought of writing a book on your baseball skills?
Benny Agbayani: There is an autobiography that will be coming out about myself before Christmas.
Stacy Kaneshiro: What's your contract situation?
Benny Agbayani: I have a set contract my first three years with the Mets. after my third year, then I'll go to arbritration. And try to rob the bank.
Stacy Kaneshiro: What was it like to play with Rickey Henderson?
Benny Agbayani: It was awesome and it was a dream come true for myself. Meeting my childhood idol.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Henry Miner: When are your going to get the big money?
Benny Agbayani: Hopefully after this year, but I have to make sure that I have a great year. Benny Agbayani: It has to be even better than last year. I guess you get paid for how you perform on the field.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Jesse Toves asks: What's your status with the player's union?
Benny Agbayani: It is on hold for now, but hopefully I can get back into the union and my agent is working on that for me.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Can you explain about your MYTH program?
Benny Agbayani: It is just starting to kick off. Hopefully everything works well. It stands for Motivate Yourself to the Highest. And that is what I had to do in order to make it into the major leagues. It is a program for kids in Hawaii. It is to make them realize that they need to work very hard in what they are trying to succeed for. And try to ovecome all the adversities that they run into.
Stacy Kaneshiro: What was it like growing up in Hawai'i and what obstacles did you face?
Benny Agbayani: It was great growing up in Hawaii. there is no other place better growing up here. The obstacles I had to face was that I went to a high school where all the athletes from every area went to and when I went on to play professional ball I felt like I was very behind than the Mainland players. It was probably just the coaching and all the fantasy camps that the Mainland kids have over us.
Benny Agbayani: Someone asks when we are going more autograph sessions. We don't know, but the schedule in very tight.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Who is the toughest pitcher you've faced? And what made him tough?
Benny Agbayani: Greg Maddux . Because he changes different speeds, throws the ball at different angles, and he works the plate in and out.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Did you learn that the media can seriously run with things after the Regis comment?
Benny Agbayani: Yeah, I did. But I didn't let that effect my playing because I wasn't serious about what I said and I think I would have let my teammates down if I said Yankess in five.
Benny Agbayani: Someone has asked if I get paid for autograph arrangements. I get paid.
Stacy Kaneshiro: What do like best about living in New York half of the year?
Benny Agbayani: Just going to Broadway shows, getting take out food at 3 in the morning, Benny Agbayani: and just getting in your car and driving whereever you want to drive.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Who chooses the Broadway shows you watch, you or your wife?
Benny Agbayani: It is both of us.
Benny Agbayani: I was asked if i meet with other Hawaii people in New York. Yes. When I have time basically.
Stacy Kaneshiro: What's your favorite road city on the baseball schedule?
Benny Agbayani: The West coast schedule. Because I get to eat all the local food and see my family and friends.
Stacy Kaneshiro: From Bobbysox: Do you plan on buying a house in New York?
Benny Agbayani: Yeah, I will. If I do happen to sign a long-term contract with the New York Mets.
Benny Agbayani: Someone asked if you ever thought in your life that you would become famous?
Benny Agbayani: No, it was just a dream come true for myself.
Stacy Kaneshiro: How often do you call home during the season, to talk to friends or family?
Benny Agbayani: All the time. My phone bill's not that much.
Benny Agbayani: I was asked about next season. Hopefully we will have an ever better year next year and we get a chance to sign Mike Hampton.
Benny Agbayani: He's a pitcher that we need on our team to help us win this upcoming year. Benny Agbayani: I think our competition will be very tough because a lot of teams are stacking their teams up with the power they need to compete in the NL East.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Which free agnent would you like to see the Mets sign?
Benny Agbayani: Mike Hampton.
Benny Agbayani: Besides him Kevin Appier.
Benny Agbayani: I was asked how my wife handles my schedule and crazy life. I just pray to God every day that she still is my wife because it is a hard life being a baseball player's wife because all my time is spent with people who want to meet me and the card signings and the autograph signings and being away from her. But she understands a lot and one thing she wants me to make sure I realize I always give her some quality time.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Does your wife still travel with you on road trips?
Benny Agbayani: She travels every time I travel on a road trip and that's her job. She's Benny Agbayani's number one fan.
Benny Agbayani: I was asked if we plan a family. Yes, eventually I will because I want my kid to experience every moment of my major league career so that someday they can be in my shoes.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Do fans come up to you on the Mainland and tell you that they're from Hawaii?
Benny Agbayani: Yeah, always. and i like to greet them with a great aloha because it it nice to see people come up from Hawaii, especially when I'm so far from home. And it brings a smile to my face when I see people from hawaii come up there.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Do you ride the subways in New York? If so do people recognize you?
Benny Agbayani: Yeah, I ride the subways sometimes. and a lot of people do recognize me, but they just leave me alone and let me enjoy the ride to wherever I have to go.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Steelers asks: What pitcher do you fear the most?
Benny Agbayani: Probably Roger Clemens.
Benny Agbayani: I was asked about the bat throwing incident. I thought it was a bad decisio by Roger Clemens how he reacted to that situation. And I know when I watched the replay and he kept on saying he thought the bat was the ball -- Benny Agbayani: playing as long as he has i thought he could distinguish a bat and a ball.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Do you feel your college career prepared you enoughfor pro ball?
Benny Agbayani: I think i twas the stepping stone for my pro ball career and I left everything up to my college coach, Boy Eldridge, to prepare me for pro ball because he was the one that told me if I wanted to go play on, he would help me get to where I wanted to get.
Stacy Kaneshiro: How did you like Howard Stern?
Benny Agbayani: It was fun. Just being in there and meeting him. He's a very crazy guy.
Stacy Kaneshiro: How do you feel about the tapes that were stolen over the weekend?
Benny Agbayani: I can't comment on that because my agency will be commenting the situation. And that's Beverly Hills Sports council.
Stacy Kaneshiro: How does your wife feel about groupies?
Benny Agbayani: She can point out all the groupies and she don't really care. She just kind of laughs at it because she sees how these women just throw themselves at athletes, but she knows I'm always coming home to her.
Benny Agbayani: I was asked how Hawaii can grow more athletes of your calibre.
Benny Agbayani: I think with all the athletes we have here in Hawaii with all of that talent, I think we would grow more if we had fantasy camps here in Hawaii and I think Lenny Sakata and Sid Fernandez, Onan Masaoka, Mike Fetters and all the minor league players trying to get to the major leagues can help out the kids in Hawaii.
Stacy Kaneshiro: What if UH gave you a football scholarship out ot St. Louis, do you think you still would be playing baseball?
Benny Agbayani: I think I would have played football because that was my first love and one of my coaches coaches at UH, Ron Lee, and that would have made it Benny Agbayani: much easier for myself, but they didn't give me a scholarship. So I guess it was kind of a blessing in disguise that I played for Hawaii Pacific University.
Benny Agbayani: I was asked if i would like to coach someday.
Benny Agbayani: I think if I had to coach, I might have to ask my wife. Because she told me Benny Agbayani: she didn't want me to coach unless my kids were playing. And I think if I had to succeed someone, it would have to be someone I really liked.
Stacy Kaneshiro: wt8411131 asks: What happened to the base running situation in the World Seires and should the Mets have bunted more during the Series?
Benny Agbayani: That's a situation where you know everyone makes mistakes and that was a big mistake for us. The bunting -- everything is managed by Bobby Valentine so that is a question you might want to ask him because he controls our team.
Stacy Kaneshiro: What do you think about the Waipio athletic complex?
Benny Agbayani: I think that is going to be a very great thing that is going to happen Benny Agbayani: on that side of the island because the baseball and the sports are very strong on that side and it brings a lot of people closer because there is going to be a lot of sports going on at all times
Stacy Kaneshiro: We'll be taking a couple of more questions before Benny has to sign off.
Benny Agbayani: I was asked what would I consider a fair contract.
Benny Agbayani: I think that is a question that my agent Danny Horwits will have to work out with our general manager, Steve Phillips. And I put all my trust into my agent because I know he is going to get me the best contract that I deserve.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Radiopam asks: Are you happy that Rick Reed will be back?
Benny Agbayani: Yes, Pam. And it is great to have him back because he was one of our Benny Agbayani: important pitchers last year and one of those that we wanted to make sure he Benny Agbayani: signs back with us.
Stacy Kaneshiro: allkinstuff asks: Who do you think is the next player to be called up from the minors?
Benny Agbayani: I really don't know because I'm not the one who makes the decisions on which Hawaii player is going to make it to the major leagues. But I just send my best to all the kids who are trying to make it there.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Spri asks: Do you think you'll be traded to the Expos?
Benny Agbayani: No. My agent has cleared it with Steve Phillips that it was just a rumor.
Stacy Kaneshiro: One more question for Benny.
Stacy Kaneshiro: What's your advice for kids who want to be big leaguers like you?
Benny Agbayani: My advice would be make sure you can handle a lot of adversity and you have a strong mind and a big heart to become a major league baseball players.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Benny will give a closing statement.
Benny Agbayani: I just want to thank all the people who were on today. And no matter what kind of fan you are I just want you to be always a Benny Agbayani fan. Aloha.
Stacy Kaneshiro: Thanks, Benny.
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