[JPL] Batista's new pitch is slow jazz

Jackson, Bobby Bobby.Jackson at ideastream.org
Thu Dec 13 11:45:55 EST 2007


Unthinkable blasphemy!!!!!
.....and in Jim Wilke's backyard too!

:)

Bobby Jackson

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Batista's new pitch is slow jazz
12/12/2007 4:02 PM ET
By Doug Miller / MLB.com

Miguel Batista has always been just a little bit different from the
average
baseball player.
Aside from his long pitching career in the Major Leagues, which peaked
in
2001 when he won a World Series ring with the Arizona Diamondbacks,
there
are plenty of off-the-field activities for Batista to keep himself busy.

Batista, now with the Seattle Mariners, considers himself a bit of a
philosopher and likes to throw around quotes from Gandhi and Einstein.
There's his writing, which includes published volumes of poetry and a
painstakingly researched crime novel called "The Avenger of Blood." And
then
there's his music.

Batista played Native American flute on a Navajo recording when he was
with
the Diamondbacks, and since he's been in Seattle, he's been taking
lessons
at the University of Washington to perfect his favorite instrument --
the
soprano saxophone.

When asked to name the inspiration behind taking up such a difficult
instrument, Batista smiles and answers without hesitation. "That's
easy," he
says. "Kenny G."

Batista recalls a sold-out show by the long-locked, Seattle-bred,
soft-jazz
sax seducer in his hometown of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It was
a
high point for Batista as far as live music experiences go.

"I believe his music is different from how people characterize it,"
Batista
says.

"It's a step up from jazz. A lot of people criticize him because they
say a
lot of his music is not even jazz, but I think that means he's created
his
own type of music, which I think is great. He has been one of the
greatest
musicians of the last few years. He's packed theaters in places where
people
don't even speak the language."

In his quest to match skills with his hero, Batista went to his new
teacher
with one goal. "I just want to learn how to play for me," he says. "The
teacher even asked me, 'You're a Major League Baseball player and you
want
to play the sax?' And it was easy for me to answer him. I said I just
want
to play it for me."

"I like almost every kind of music as long as it's pretty, but for me,
the
attraction to the soprano sax is that it's a very romantic instrument,"
Batista adds.

"It's an instrument where you can play a song in almost every key. And
that's what I like about it. You don't have much of a limit. It's one of
the
harder saxes to learn how to play because of how much air you need to
put
into it, but it's worth the challenge."

With that in mind, Batista says he bought an electronic soprano sax that
he
can plug his headphone into so he doesn't bother his teammates while
he's
practicing on the plane or in the clubhouse.

"I can't put it down," he says. "I love it."

He also loves the lessons the Navajos taught him, especially the notion
that
you can play an instrument like native flute according to how you feel
that
day and that it's a method of expression rather than a simple physical
product of mathematical formulas of note and chord combinations.

"Their music is different," he says. "It's more melody and high-spirit
kind
of songs. It's music that you play with a different type of
inspiration."

Batista's musical muse hits him all the time, he says. An idea for a
song is
never far away, which is why his saxophone is never far away these days.

"Every musician and composer knows that inspiration comes at a moment in
time, and if you don't have pen and paper ready or your instrument right
there, you might lose it," he says. "People who have this passion for
music,
we keep our instruments close. If it comes, you need to write it down
and
you need to play it and then get the feeling of it."

Batista says he will try to master the soprano sax so he can continue
his
musical odyssey. And Batista also says he hopes his favorite sax man
from
Seattle will come out to Safeco Field one of these nights.

"We would love for Kenny G. to play the National Anthem here," Batista
says.

"That would be a great thing. I bet it would become like Whitney
Houston.
He'd play the National Anthem and it would become a hit."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or
its
clubs.
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