In the 1993 cult classic The Sandlot, Benny ‘The Jet’ Rodriquez plays the dominant, yet benevolent, baseball stud. The Jet was played by teenybopper Mike Vitar, who also made preteen girls and even a few boys a bit excited in the second installment of the Mighty Ducks franchise. Mr. Vitar, now age 30, could have gone in one of three directions: Hollywood Regular/Borderline star, Everyday blue-collar Joe, or completely stoned waste of space certain to be incarcerated, found dead in a Porto potty, or both.
Fortunately, Mr. Vitar is happily married and still living in the Los Angeles area. Of the three he has become an everyday Joe, as a firefighter on the LAFD. I’m happy for Benny the Jet. He decided he wanted a low-key life and he has chosen a worthy profession. He doesn’t need to pawn a Babe Ruth autographed ball for heroin and I asked him a few questions about his years since The Sandlot:
HUXTIBLE: Have you kept in touch with any of the Sandlot crew?
BENNY THE JET: Well Hamilton Porter was a great catcher and we still play catch sometimes. Scottie Smalls is still my buddy and we like to get baked and build Erector sets together. Unfortunately YA-YA is a complete douchebag and doesn’t return calls after he banged out my sister in ’97.
HUXTIBLE: How come you chose firefighting as a career?
BENNY THE JET: Well, a few years after The Sandlot was made they built a Super Walmart over the sandlot and we no longer had a place to play. Then, I thought maybe I’d stick with hockey but coach Gordon Bombay was preoccupied with Adam Banks from the Hawks and didn’t give two shits about me. So one day I decided I’d just become a firefighter because I can outrun fire just like I outran Hercules the St. Bernard.
HUXTIBLE: Will you ever return to Hollywood?
BENNY THE JET: I was on a movie set recently actually. A smoke detector went off from some special effects for the new Terminator movie so I showed up. It’s great to still be in the business.