South Xtra: Wild Things' Beatty inspiring on and off the field

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C.J. Beatty just loves baseball.

He loves it so much that when he's not playing second base or serving as a designated hitter for the Washington Wild Things of the Frontier League, he's playing for two professional teams -- the Brisbane Bandits and the Redlands Rays -- in Australia.

He also is fully involved with the many aspects of social media through Twitter, Facebook and his own website:

While that's important to him, the charismatic Beatty gets an even bigger kick when he makes an impact to young impressionable lives by conducting offseason baseball clinics in his hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C., or talking before hundreds of people as a motivational speaker.

"I enjoy [the website], but the most important thing I like to do is reach out and give back," said Beatty, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound infielder who began his career in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. "That's the most important thing. I like to inspire others. That's what drove me to be a motivational speaker. Everybody deserves to have a dream and have a chance to live it out."

When it comes to giving something to the Wild Things, Beatty has been a rock-solid performer.

Through 73 games, he's hitting .297 and leads the team with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs. He played for the East team in last month's Frontier League All-Star Game at Consol Energy Park. In Sunday night's 7-5 loss to Windy City, Beatty's three-run triple capped a five-run sixth inning and allowed the Wild Things to tie the game against the Thunderbolts.

Not many people would think that a player standing less than 6 feet tall would be able to generate the power that Beatty has exhibited this season.

He credits his father, Chris Beatty, and a short, compact swing with his Joe Morgan-like performance at the plate.

"A long time ago, when I was 5 or 6, everyone at the Little League field used to say 'Don't try to kill it. Don't try to kill it' because you'll pull your head off [the ball]. But that was opposite [of what I could do]. My dad used to let me watch guys like Mo Vaughn growing up. He used to say 'That could be you. If you just practice that swing, that can become your swing.'"

James Howard, a teammate of Beatty at North Carolina A&T, designed the website. Beatty's cousin, James Burch, supplies the background music when the site is opened.

"The song is about me, and it's a message for me to keep pushing," Beatty said. "I wanted to let people know I'm still pushing and striving for greatness."

Howard, an Atlanta resident, was interested in designing websites and asked Beatty if he would like to have his name on one.

"[Howard] was studying graphic design," Beatty said. "He wanted to create a website from the standpoint of a professional athlete, and I was the guinea pig. He asked me if I wanted -- free of charge -- to have my name on a website. He said he just wanted to practice and use somebody because he thought I was a top prospect and might get drafted. I said to go with it."

Beatty said maintaining a website is an expensive proposition, but he and Howard have worked well together.

"It is very expensive, and it's also a blessing that I have a friend who is helping me out," he said. "When I found out the real prices for building a website, I said I need to get out of baseball and start building websites.

"James Howard does a phenomenal job. The way that he works with me I'd say his talent is priceless. He allows me a little more grace period when it comes to payments, [especially] if we're on the road."

Beatty constantly updates his Twitter account, and some photos do end up on the website. But with his baseball and motivational speaking careers, updates on the website are less frequent.

"Once a month, I'll send photos to my Web master," he said. "But it hasn't been updated recently because we're in talks to build a new website."

Every team he joins provides a reaction from new teammates.

"Every time I get with a new team, it's 'Ohhhh,,'" he said. "They'll ask how many hours it took to make that website. And I have to break the story down to them, but it's all fun. There hasn't been any negativity, but it's definitely a question and there is some joking that goes on for about a week and a half when I first get on a team."

Once the season ends, Beatty will work on his motivational speaking, offseason clinics and return to Australia to play in the sun while the snow is flying in Western Pennsylvania.

"Baseball is one of those sports that allows you to travel to a lot of places you wouldn't normally go," Beatty said. "Number one on the list [of destinations] would be Australia. It was great seeing a different culture. And you have that beautiful sunshine. It was a great atmosphere, and I can't wait to go back this offseason."

Beatty said he had an ulterior motive for getting involved with a website that has his name on it.

"One thing I learned when I was in the Cardinals organization, I talked with other players and they told me to take care of myself and keep my image clean," he said. "[They told me to] take care of yourself for life after baseball. That stuck with me because baseball isn't going to be around all the time This website is helping me to get on my two feet when baseball comes to an end."



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