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Little League Buddies Share Dream With Dash

Dan Collins/Winston-Salem Journal

Two local Little League teammates who followed their common aspirations in different directions have reunited this season with the Winston-Salem Dash in time for Thursday’s night’s home opener against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, scheduled for 7 p.m. at BB&T Ballpark.

The two, designated-hitter Chris Jacobs and outfielder C.J. Beatty, are minor-league veterans in their mid-20s now, making the long odds of any Class A player making the major leagues all that much longer. Even so, they’re reaffirming at least the title, if not the romantic content, of the classic soul hit by Peaches and Herb.

The two old buddies are Reunited and It Feels So Good.

“We’ve been playing Little League baseball together since we were like six years old,’’ Jacobs said. “We played in high school together. We were both on high school conference all-star teams and all that stuff. It’s just crazy how things come back around full circle.

“Our families are all real close. They’ll probably all be sitting together at games, just cheering as loud as possible.

“It’s just going to make it a very, very fun experience.’’

Beatty said he learned that Jacobs had joined him and the organization of the parent Chicago White Sox while checking his Twitter feed during breakfast.

“Somebody that follows major league baseball said the White Sox signed a big prospect from the Dodgers, Christopher Jacobs,’’ Beatty recalled. “I dropped that bowl of cereal, and I was like, `Oh my God.’

“I called him immediately. I said `Bro you with me?’ And then the rest is history.’’

The history the two already share is deep and rich. They first played together in the South Little League in Winston-Salem. They were both stars at Glenn High School. They both learned much of what they know about the game from Dale Ijames, the former coach at Glenn High School, where the baseball field bears his name.

Though Ijames retired as Glenn’s baseball coach in 2004, he continued to teach the finer points of the game through his work with the Kernersville Bulldogs of the Carolina-Virginia Collegiate League and individual workouts.

“We joke all the time and say that he’s one of our founding fathers of baseball,’’ Beatty said. “We definitely work out with him in the off-season, and before we left for spring training we had a couple of opportunities to work out with him and help our swings out.’’

Their paths to a shared dream of playing baseball in the major leagues split after high school. Beatty, born Sept. 28, 1988, graduated from high school in 2006 and played three seasons at North Carolina A&T before signing with the St. Louis Cardinals as a 26th-round pick in the 2009 draft. Jacobs, born Nov. 25, 1988, signed a month after graduating from Glenn in 2007 as a 17th-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But whereas Jacobs played seven seasons in the Dodgers organization before signing with the White Sox as a free agent in December, Beatty’s road home was more circuitous. Released by the Cardinals after two seasons, Beatty spent the better part of the next four seasons playing with six different teams in four Independent Leagues, the North American Baseball League, the American Association, the Australian Baseball League and the Frontier League.

Because Independent League teams are not directly associated with major league organization, they’re seen as a last-ditch chance to keep a professional baseball career alive. So Beatty was relieved and happy to sign with the White Sox as a free agent last August. And he was ecstatic to be assigned to his hometown team, the Winston-Salem Dash.

Not only did he know the town, but so many in the town knew him. During offseason months he has worked in local government as what he described as an assistant to the assistant of Mayor Allen Joines.

“Man it is a dream come true,’’ Beatty said. “I remember driving up and down that highway going to work in the offseason and just looking over and saying `I just wish I could play in this stadium.’

“I kind of thought that opportunity was gone.’’

Jacobs, a 6-5, 255-pound right-handed hitter, is expected to contribute more on the field. He has been a regular in the lineup, routinely batting sixth in the order as a designated hitter. He had five hits in his first 13 at-bats, for a .385 average.

“Chris is an older guy,’’ Manager Tim Esmay of the Dash said. “He gets the game. In just talking with him, it’s nice to listen to a guy when the game has slowed down in his mind.

“He kind of knows what he needs to do.’’

Beatty, a 5-10, 190-pound switch-hitter who can play multiple positions, is valuable even while playing on a part-time basis. Although he played in just one of the Dash’s first five games, he continued to keep the clubhouse and dugout loose with his upbeat, vivacious nature.

“And C.J., man what a personality?’’ Esmay said. “He’s going to help us. He’s going to help us get through the days and help us with the ability to laugh at ourselves and have fun and all those things that you need to have – especially in the dog days when they start to hit you a little bit. You can see he can bring you up.

“So we’re excited to have him.’’

Which is maybe an iota as excited as Jacobs and Beatty are to be teammates playing for their hometown team.

“I’m lucky enough to be playing in my hometown around my parents and everyone who watched me grow up and play,’’ Jacobs said. “And now they wilI have the pleasure – they call it a pleasure – to come out and watch me play.’

Beatty selected as Australian Baseball League All-Star

interview

SYDNEY, 8 December – The Australian Baseball League and Baseball Australia proudly announce the rosters for the 2014 Australia Baseball League All-Star Game, presented by Levi’s®. The game, which pits the World All-Stars against Team Australia, takes place in Melbourne on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 7:40pm.

 

 

“I am truly blessed to get another opportunity to play amongst the best. I have worked hard to get to this point and I will work even harder to go to the next”, Beatty said.  CJ Beatty was 1 of 10 players selected to represent the Brisbane Bandits. Beatty is a Chicago White Sox Prospect from Winston Salem, NC and currently the starting third baseman for the Bandits. “This is like a checkpoint in my Aussie career. I wanted to make this list before the season started now its complete. Next thing is to continue to play hard and compete for a playoff spot.”

 

The 2014 ABL All-Star Game will be broadcast live in Australia and New Zealand on ESPN and on delay to over 70 million households in the US through MLB Network. It will also be seen in over 30 Asia countries on Fox Sports Asia, showcasing Australian baseball talent to a truly global audience.

 

 

Mine Bat Company Signs Beatty

 

minelogowhite

 

Mine Wood Bats is very excited to announce the signing of Chicago White Sox Prospect CJ Beatty.

“We here at MINE are extremely thrilled to bring CJ on board Team MINE. CJ has a lot of things going for him and is exactly the type of player we want representing MINE on and off the field. When the best get together, possibilities are limitless” -Joe Marchant (Director of Marketing and Sales)

Beatty was signed by the White Sox on August 11th 2014 and reported to the High-A affiliate Winston-Salem Dash . In 2009 Beatty was drafted out of North Carolina A&T by The St. Louis Cardinals. After his release in 2011, Beatty spent the next 4 seasons playing Independant baseball before he received “The Big Call”.

“MINE Bats sent me a bat to try at batting practice and the rest is history. The wind was blowing in and I was able to still power the ball over the fence. My bat speed increased and the ball jumped off my bat. I knew right then and there MINE Bats is all I wanted to swing” -CJ Beatty

Go check out www.minebats.com today to place your order. MINE Bats have all sizes of bats for every level of competition.

Dash’s Beatty reveling in his second chance

Dash's Beatty reveling in his second chance

LAUREN CARROLL/JOURNAL

After four seasons in the independent leagues, C.J. Beatty was signed by the Chicago White Sox and assigned to Winston-Salem.

 

BY BRANT WILKERSONNEW
Winston-Salem Journal

About 20 minutes after the Winston-Salem Dash wrapped up a victory Thursday night, nearly every player had retreated to the clubhouse to prepare for a long overnight bus ride to Wilmington, Del.

C.J. Beatty was the exception.

A former star at Glenn High School and N.C. A&T, Beatty stayed long after security guards began clearing the stadium — to sign autographs, shake hands and pose for photos, anything he could do to bask in the moment.

Beatty, a 25-year old outfielder, signed with the Chicago White Sox on Monday and was assigned to Winston-Salem. That ended his run of nearly four seasons playing in independent leagues and gave him another chance to make it in affiliated baseball.

Beatty spent two years with the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization after being drafted in the 26th round in 2009. He was released after hitting .257 in 2010 in stints with Quad Cities (Iowa) and Palm Beach (Fla.), the Cardinals’ advanced-Class A affiliate.

Although Beatty was having a solid summer with the Frontier League’s Washington (Pa..) Wild Things — a .305 batting average, 18 home runs and 66 RBIs — he had resigned himself to the fact that a call from a major-league organization probably wouldn’t be coming this season.

That left him with a decision about his future in baseball looming.

“Getting up there in age in terms of getting picked up again, I was closing in on that number, and the light at the end of the tunnel started getting smaller and smaller,” Beatty said. “I was just focused on winning an independent championship, and I wasn’t looking forward to getting picked up, and I was just going to play my game.

“It was a great opportunity, but to say I was coming home to Winston-Salem? Oh man, that was good.”

Early in the season, Beatty said that the stress of trying to get back into affiliated ball was weighing so heavily on him that his game suffered — his batting average dipped to .240 before he changed his approach.

Instead of worrying about whether scouts were watching, he decided to focus on being a better teammate and competing every day.

“I wasn’t chasing stats anymore, I said, ‘You know what, I’m just about to have fun,’ because when you’re chasing stats every single time, you lose your love of the game,” Beatty said.

The call from the White Sox came Monday, an off day for the Wild Things. Beatty was in the shower when Manager Bob Bozzuto poked his head in and told Beatty he might want to come by his office. When Bozzuto told him that he had been offered a contract, Beatty said he didn’t believe it.

“At first, I asked him, ‘Is this a joke?’ I thought it was a joke,” Beatty said. “He looked at me with a serious face and said, ‘This isn’t a joke, this is real.’”

Beatty hopped in his car and made the five-hour drive south Monday afternoon. As word spread, he said, he heard from old friends who promised to stop by BB&T Ballpark. In all, he said more than 100 people came out to see him during this week’s three-game Dash home stand.

That’s why, as bat boys cleaned the dugout next to him, Beatty was still standing at the rail taking it in Thursday night.

“If it wasn’t for the security guards wanting me to leave, I’d be out here until sun up signing autographs and putting smiles on kids’ faces. I like inspiring the youth just to continue to push,” he said.

Since 2009, Beatty has been on the speaking circuit, encouraging people to believe in themselves and commit to goals. Now, he has another story to back up his message.

“I was just like, ‘I don’t think it’s going to happen.’” Beatty said. “But it taught me something; it’s not over until the fat lady sings, and I guess the fat lady hasn’t sung yet.”

Beatty Signs With Chicago White Sox Organization

Washington, PA-The Washington Wild Things are pleased to announce that the Chicago White Sox organization has purchased the contract of two-time All-Star outfielder CJ Beatty. The Winston Salem native will play in front of his hometown fans as he was assigned to the Winston Salem Dash, the high Class A short-season affiliate of the White Sox.

Before his departure from Washington, Beatty ranked amongst the top Frontier League hitters in homeruns (18) and RBI (57). With the Washington Wild Things, who are currently locked in a three-way tie for the East Division crown (46-29), he is second on the team in batting average (.275) and hit 13 doubles with 57 RBI. Beatty has also been the only player to appear in all 75 games so far this season.

Beatty, who spent most of his first season with Washington at second base, was awarded the postseason All-Star second baseman award last September. The former 10th round draft pick by the St. Louis Cardinals from the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft, put up staggering numbers for the Things in 2013, slugging 18 homeruns, hitting a team-high 26 doubles with 66 RBIs and scoring 65 runs.

In two seasons in the Cardinals’ system and two more in the independent circuit with the Fort Worth Cats of the North American Baseball League and Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association, Beatty had a career batting average of .284 and added 70 extra-base hits and 30 stolen bases to his independent baseball resume.

Beatty, a man usually full of words and uplifting motivational speeches had five simple words for his second chance in the big leagues, “It’s a dream come true,” he grinned as he packed up his car and headed for home.

Wild Things’ Beatty a man of his words

By Chris Dugan
Sports Editor
dugan@observer-reporter.comimage-12

Former Wild Things manager Bart Zeller made the comment one summer evening last year that it was probably going to take only a few innings for him to regret giving C.J. Beatty a night off from playing the field and having him sit in the dugout with the coaching staff as the team’s designated hitter for a game.

 

That’s because Beatty likes to talk.

 

And talk.

 

And then talk some more.

 

All that talking, however, is finally starting to pay off for the outgoing Beatty. These days, Beatty is supplementing his salary as an outfielder with the Wild Things by, you guessed it, talking.

 

Instead of irritating coaches in the dugout, Beatty is inspiring students, businessmen and even law enforcement officers with his words. The 25-year-old from Winston-Salem, N.C., is an aspiring motivational speaker who in the last 16 months has launched his own website, posts weekly motivational videos on YouTube and has had more than 50 speaking engagements.

 

Beatty said his foray into motivational speaking started when he was in Australia playing baseball two winters ago. He had too much free time and not enough people to talk with. He started thinking about what he would do when his baseball career ended.

 

“I still want to pursue baseball, but I don’t want to be one of those guys who don’t have a plan after baseball,” said Beatty, who is in his second season with the Wild Things after playing two years in the St. Louis Cardinals’ system.

 

Beatty said he had been invited many times to talk to youth baseball teams in North Carolina, but never considered making a living by doing public speaking.

 

“People were telling me that I was pretty good at that,” he said. “My grandmother used to say, ‘If a lot of people are saying it, then it must be true.’ So I talked it over with my mother, and she suggested I try motivational speaking. I didn’t know any motivational speakers or if you could make a living doing it. But I figured that if I start at age 24, then maybe when I’m in my 30s, I could have something going for myself.”

 

So Beatty, who has a verified Twitter account, launched www.cjbeatty.com in April of 2013, began posting weekly videos called “Motivational Nuggets” on YouTube each Wednesday at 7 a.m. – they attract thousands of viewers – and made motivational speaking a full-time job. Last offseason, he was a guest speaker at more than 50 schools and had one or two other speaking engagements each week. He delivered speeches at Wake Forest, Virginia and Campbell universities. He hopes to speak to students at Pitt this fall.

 

The highlight of Beatty’s young career was when he filled in as the keynote speaker for 300 narcotics officers from the East Coast at an event in Charleston, S.C. The originally scheduled speaker was Duane “Dog” Chapman, of TV’s “Dog the Bounty Hunter.” Chapman had to cancel and was replaced by Beatty, who might have preferred facing a pitcher throwing a 94 mph fastball than a room full of law enforcement officers. Beatty, however, to use a baseball term, hit it out of park.

 

“That was the most nervous time of my life,” Beatty said, “but that speech is what burst me into speaking to the corporate world.”

 

Beatty says he tailors his speeches to fit his audience.

 

“If I’m talking to elementary school students, I talk about having a dream and sticking with it. Don’t let others dictate your dream,” Beatty said. “When I talk to the high schoolers, I talk about decisions, right friends versus wrong friends, drugs and alcohol.

 

“I always ask the client what topic he wants me to talk about. Some say mental toughness or work ethic. If I go to a church, I might be asked to talk about faith. If I go to a business, I might discuss leadership.

 

“I also might talk about legacy,” he continued. “In the business world, you often run into people who believe they can’t keep up with their dream. They might say, ‘C.J., my dream was to play in the NFL or do this or that, but I’m 50 years old.’ What should be important to those people is their legacy. How are their children, grandchildren, friends going to remember them? Do they want to be remembered for being a person who quit? Or do they want to be a person who always tried to improve in life?”

 

Beatty might try providing some extra motivation for his teammates this week. The Wild Things are in first place in the Frontier League’s East Division, but only one game ahead of Evansville and two in front of third-place Southern Illinois. Washington begins a six-game road trip tonight at Schaumburg, which is one game out of first place in the West Division.

 

Beatty has been a big reason for Washington’s success. He is second in the league in home runs (17) and sixth in RBI (51).

 

“I use baseball in my speeches because most people can relate to sports and how much preparation you have to put into your sport,” Beatty said. “You need the same work ethic at your job. An employer wants a championship staff. And a job is like a baseball game. You can be on top of the world one day because you made so much money in sales. Then, it can all change in an instant. So how do you get back on top? How do you mount a comeback?”