MINNEAPOLIS Joe Benson went to Venezuela this winter with the intent of playing baseball for Tigres de Aragua in the offseason. He ended up getting much more than he bargained for.
Benson, a 23-year-old outfielder in the Minnesota Twins organization, was robbed at gunpoint when the taxicab he was in hit a boulder and crashed. As the Spanish-speaking cab driver was making a call from his cell phone, three gunmen approached Benson. They took everything he had except for a bag that contained some baseball spikes and a few T-shirts.
"When you don't speak the language, there's not much you can do," Benson said. "You can't really beg for your life. You can't ask them not to pull the trigger. You can't beg for mercy. I kind of sat there in silence, let everything happen."
The cab driver was also robbed, losing his belongings. It could have been much worse for both men, however.
"It wasn't a set-up. He wasn't in on it," Benson said of the cab driver. "He lost everything he had. The Nat...