In the Locker Room with Sean Cohen and Ben Whitener

This week, the Review sat down with baseball players sophomore Ben Whitener and junior Sean Cohen to discuss conference wins, “Off-Day Athletes,” walk-up songs and America.

Phoebe Hammer, Sports Editor

How do you think the season is going so far?

Ben Whitener: We finished 9–7 in conference, which is the best we’ve ever done. We also played a pretty tough out-of-league schedule, which is a huge improvement.

Sean Cohen: We won a lot of games against a lot of tough teams. It seems like [in] all the close games, we’ve pulled out with a win. It’s great to be on a team that knows how to finish.

How many games do you play?

BW: Typically we play about 40 games per season, with 16 conference games.

SC: [On weekends] we have two double-headers and then another one during the week, usually on Wednesday. It’s a grueling schedule.

What other things do you guys have going on besides baseball?

SC: Well, a few of us started up our own clothing company, called “Off-Day Athletes.” It’s designed to show that the Division III athlete is a very unique person that hasn’t been shown well through media. We have our first tank top out now, and we’d like to see that grow. We also play a lot of cornhole. That’s what we do on our off-days. I feel like I’m really part of the Midwest now.

How do you find time to play 40 games and also do well in school?

BW: It’s a struggle, but we find that we do better in school during the spring season than in the fall. Baseball is a good structure to your life. You can expect to be doing it at the same time every day.

SC: It definitely helps me manage my time better. You feel part of a program: going to class, doing work, having practice. You can’t go out on the weekend so you can study.

Tell me a little bit about team dynamics. I know you have a lot of first-years.

SC: We have more team unity than we’ve ever had. Our freshmen, for lack of a better word, sucked in the beginning of the year, but now we have such a great dynamic. There are a large portion that will still be considered freshmen for a while, but we all really get along.

BW: The freshmen class makes up half of the team. In the fall, they were a bunch of loose cannons, but I think everyone has really stepped up. I’m proud to have them on my team.

SC: We look out for them.

Any team traditions or obsessions?

BW: The team has a very strong patriotic sentiment, and there are three things that define that sentiment: “God Bless America”, the national anthem, and “Wagon Wheel.”

SC: Specifically in the national anthem, “the rockets’ red glare.” When that comes on, it really gets our team going.

Speaking of music, what are your walk-up songs when you go up to bat?

SC: “Kryptonite” by the Purple Ribbon All-Stars.

BW: “The Only Way I Know” by Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church.

SC: The best walk up-song is [senior] Eric Knight’s. It’s “Milkshake” [by Kelis].

Sean, you’re finishing your last year at Oberlin under the 3–2 engineering program. What do you want to leave the team with?

SC: I’ll be leaving this year, transferring to Columbia to study environmental engineering. One of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made was decide to leave here and leave baseball. Obviously, I’d like to leave the team with a championship and really make a statement. But what I’d really like is to leave the team with a different culture than what I came in with, which was freaking out if we lost and having no unity. I think we really have that and I’m excited to see the team jump forward with it.