Wilson Batista: An Understated Danger

Each player has his own respective skills. Some are gifted with a strong arm, others have perfect timing with a bat, and then there are the few who possess innate speed and agility. A member of the latter group can be found in Capital City Stadium sporting a Bombers‘ jersey emblazoned with the number six. Wilson Batista, a six-foot shortstop, has racked up twenty-nine runs and fourteen stolen bases.

Signed at age eighteen as a free agent, Batista was spotted playing in the Dominican Republic. He competed at least part of last season in the Brooklyn Club with the majority of his current teammates. Batista's speed, coupled with his keen judgment for stealing bases, has made him a decisive advantage for the Bombers. The point has not gone unnoticed. Third baseman Shawn Bowman says, "He'll steal bases. He'll get a base hit when you need it. He creates plays; he creates runs. He's a great player."

The appreciation expressed by his teammates is mirrored in the approval of his manager, Jack Lind. Lind praises Batista, saying that having a player like that "changes the complexity of the game. He's got good speed. He's not only fast, but he's a good base runner." When asked about his abilities, stealing bases in particular, Batista humbly replies that "it's a God-given talent." Sprinting between the bases, avoiding the watchful eye of the opposing pitcher, has become his trademark. Running at a dangerous angle, the speed with which this man rounds the bases has helped garner his twenty-six run statistic. Swiftness, however, is not what stands out in his own mind when Wilson reflects on his talents.

Instead of naming his obvious forte, Batista considers the bat to be one of his greatest strengths, .279, and also favors his defensive game. He plays aggressively, diving and jumping for whatever comes his way, but leads his team in errors, 12. Any mistakes committed seem to be par for the course, as he has played in twenty-eight of the thirty-one games. Batista is the primary shortstop for the Bombers, but has shared his position with teammate Jesus Linares in five games. Echoing the sentiments of fellow players, Batista feels that "this team can go all the way."

Wilson started playing what would later turn out to be his career, when he was thirteen years old. As a child he looked up to Tony Fernandez because " he played really hard; he wasn't a corrupt player." Today Alex Rodriguez inspires him. Batista enjoys everything about his sport because "(he) love(s) the game." He says it's the only thing he ever wanted to do and the only sport he ever enjoyed. His existing situation, therefore, is rather perfect, as he has little free time to do anything besides baseball. For a seven o'clock game, his typical day consists of getting up at one in the afternoon, preparing lunch, and then getting mentally ready for the game. He cites his current hobbies as "sleep, sleep, sleep."

Although happy with his decision to come and play baseball in the United States, Batista admits that he misses his mother and family the most. The transition has been hard, but his teammates have helped considerably. In particular, one Anderson Garcia, to whom Wilson pays a high compliment, "He cooks like my mom." At least he doesn't miss the food. As a player who speaks mostly Spanish, Wilson says that it has been hard, but "the manager here has helped (him) a lot."

Wilson Batista is lauded as "the type of player every manager wants on his team" by teammate Shawn Bowman. He makes his mark in ways more quiet than a crack of the bat, but just as effective. He intimidates with his silence, soothing the opposition into a false sense of security. A sense soon lost when they turn their backs and find him gone. Unlike most, who are either incapable or unwilling to take the chance, Batista relishes the opportunity to steal bases and seizes it whenever possible. He's the snake in the grass, just waiting for his chance. He's the one they have to watch out for.

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