Gators' Ben Jr. stands above peers

Gators' Ben Jr. stands above peers

MEMPHIS -- Tommy Ben Jr. ("T.J." to his teammates) is used to receiving stares and attention.

The Central Florida Gators (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) first baseman is a big kid -- a real big kid, at 6-foot-4.

One might think that someone as big as T.J., whose father is the team's defensive coach, would play football or basketball, where size -- especially at such a young age -- could make him stand out more than he already does.

Instead, Ben loves baseball, and sometimes because of his size, it's easy to forget he's just a kid playing a kid's game.

At a tournament last year, manager Mark Roberts walked into his hotel room in Myrtle Beach, S.C., to the sight of Roberts' son and Ben watching "SpongeBob SquarePants."

"It was like a light-switch moment," Roberts said. "He's big -- he wears a size-18 shoe -- but he's still just a kid."