Posted at 9:25 AM on April 13, 2006
by David Zingler
Tony Batista may be the most unconventional player in the major leagues. It’s not just his strikingly bizarre face-the-pitcher batting stance either. In his long and winding career, Batista has endured a skull fracture (incurred after a violent minor league collision), mid-season release, the final season of Expos baseball and a year in Japan. He did all that while compiling 216 major league homeruns and appearing in two All Star games.
Right now however, he sounds like a man that is just happy to be back in familiar territory, “There’s a big difference (between Japan and the US)” Batista commented. “The way they play over there -- they make a lot of noise. Here they are little different about that, more professional.”
Although he was brought to Minnesota to supply power, smacking baseballs into the blue seats of the Metrodome takes a backseat to what he believes is his true mission. “My faith is my life,” the Dominican native said. “You have to continue to look for Jesus Christ. I know he is the one that has been blessing me. I am going to continue to look for him and be at peace and show it to the people.”
Deeply religious since childhood, the 32-year-old says that he has acted as a quasi missionary during his well-traveled career. “God uses me,” he calmly explained. “Everywhere I go, I talk about him and the power he has.”
“I try to talk about my God, Jesus Christ, and my faith,” the veteran third baseman continued. “(I try to show that by) the way I handle situations and the way I praise his name and the way he blesses me. I always try to give a Bible to (my teammates) and I think they like it -- God helps them like it.”
Being around Batista, who counts former teammate Melvin Mora as one his converts, you get the feeling that he is truly a man at peace. He seems genuine, sincere and even a little innocent, which probably helps ease the tension that such overt religious expression can sometimes create.
So, while the Twins fans and front office will ultimately judge Batista’s time in Minnesota by his homerun and RBI totals, you get the feeling that he has other goals in mind. “I am here…to talk about God’s word and the power he has for each one of us,” he confidently stated. “That’s what I am doing.”
Tony is a nice guy. When he played here in toronto he would alway be out there before games signing stuff at the dome. Hes high on relegion because i remenber he donated something like 40 percent of his pay to charaties and churches. Too bad he was released by the twins, but i can see why it had to be done.