I wrote this for www.footballnation.com today and it was published a short time ago. Of course I feel like shit since the news of his injury broke this afternoon, but either way, most of you know the story. Wrote this for the "non-Steelers fans" out there.
As I write this, I have no idea as to whether or not running back Baron Batch will make the 53-man roster for the Pittsburgh Steelers. A seventh-round pick out of Texas Tech, Batch has been creating quite a name for himself in Steelers’ training camp. His blocking and quick first step have elicited “oohs and aahs” from the black and gold faithful at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa.
If Batch makes the team, it would be as the third or fourth-string back. If Batch doesn’t make the team, it won’t be the worst thing in the world for him. Unlike many players in the National Football League who need football, the game of football needs Batch. What makes a 5-foot-10, 210-pound kid from Midland, Texas, so special? As we are seeing on the field, there’s a lot. Off the field, Batch is even better.
This past week, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sports Columnist Gene Collier did a very nice piece on Batch. From his time as a youngster playing tag on the roof of his trailer (yes, on the roof!) to his amazing blog, Batch is mature well beyond his 23 years. He lost his mother as a teenager to multiple sclerosis and his father had long since abandoned he and his four siblings. Lots of young men like Batch would need football like a baby needs a bottle, but not Batch.
Did you click on the link to his blog? He designed it himself and the music that greeted you is directly from his ipod. He’ll be the first to tell you he hasn’t had a lot of time to write lately with training camp going on, but he’s tried. A little writer’s block recently has stymied him. His life is an open book whether it’s through his writing or his widely popular Twitter account.
He recently tweeted that Steelers’ QB Charlie Batch was his father. The test results were revealed on “Maury.” While this is not true, the elder Batch obviously likes the kid playfully responding with his own tweets.
Batch has also started his own non-profit organization called “Operation Hope,” where he and his colleagues take photos in places like Haiti to show the dire situations that are occurring there following the devastating earthquake. The photos are posted on-line and can be purchased with the proceeds going to Haitian children who need to attend school. Batch was hoping to sell a handful and make a few bucks to get the program off the ground. He’s already sold over 100 at as much as $150 a pop.
I’ve had the opportunity to interview several Steelers’ players on our podcasts for steeleraddicts.com and I can tell you I came away from my interview with Baron Batch impressed. He is incredibly humble, respectful and aware of his future. Whether that future includes football is not certain, but that’s just fine with Batch.