CJ Beatty says paparazzi welcome at Bandits games
DON'T get Brisbane Bandits third baseman CJ Beatty wrong - he wears his sunglasses at night so he doesn't go blind from the paparazzi - and not to hide from them.
The larger-than-life Beatty loves attention, and he's received plenty of that in his second stint playing baseball in the Queensland capital this summer.
The Chicago White Sox prospect had many cameras going off at Holloway Field against the Japanese Amateur Baseball Association (JABA) All Stars team on Wednesday night, after producing an RBI and a home run in his team's spirited 7-5 defeat.
The previous night a three-run final-inning rally wasn't enough, with the hosts losing 5-4.
The Bandits can take heart though after testing the very best of Japan's industrial league - a level below Nippon Professional Baseball in the baseball-mad country.
But all eyes were on Beatty on Wednesday night.
And that's the way the 26-year-old, nicknamed 'Hollywood' and 'Cool Breeze', likes it.
"Cool Breeze was something I got while playing for the Windsor Royals (in Brisbane), then I came here to the Bandits and they were like 'Hollywood!' so I went with it," he told APN.
"I used to always wear sunglasses at night time and be like 'hey man, the paparazzi might be out with their camera flashes so I've got to be ready'.
"It (the RBI followed by the homer) was something that felt real good. Unfortunately we lost, but I just wanted to end on a good note offensively.
"So I'm feeling pretty good when we play again after we're done with the bye (the Bandits have a bye this weekend in the ABL).
"I was over-thrilled to be able to be in the moment, to be in another country Australia and to be playing against another country in Japan, it was a dream come true."
In fact, Beatty has been living a dream ever since Bandits CEO Mark Ready rang him to come Down Under for his second stint in Brisbane playing off-season 'winter ball'.
"When Mark Ready contacted me to let me know that I had another opportunity to come back out, I told them 'look, my bags are packed. If I've got to run over water to get there I will try'," Beatty said.
"This is like my second homecoming, coming back to Brisbane, and I love the area.
"Playing in the ABL is very prideful. You want to play for your city, and playing for Brisbane is something that grew on me the first time I was here.
"I said 'not only do I want to come here and get better as a baseball player - I want to come here and give the fans of Brisbane something that they've been longing for'.
"We've been towards the lower part of the ladder, but this is going to be the year that we're going to climb up the ranks."
Beatty is so committed to ending the pain of long-suffering Bandits fans - who are sick of their team finishing last - he'll even accept being tried at first base like he was in game two against the JABA All Stars.
And when he got pulled for slow base running against the Melbourne Aces by Bandits coach Dave Nilsson last month, he simply took that in his stride, and came out the following night and ran like his life depended on it.
That is because Beatty - as much as he loves all the attention - wants team success first.
"We're over here on a mission - not only individually trying to get better, we believe in the hype in what we want to do for the city of Brisbane," Beatty said.
"It's different when you just come over as individuals, but when you come over and you have a joint situation that you're trying to produce, we all believe in the hype and the dream.
"We're all on the same page - we want to bring the finals to Brisbane, so let's do it."
Beatty, who played High-A level at the White Sox organisation this year, believes Nilsson - an Australian baseball legend - is the man that can help his team achieve that dream.
"He played at the level (the Major League) we all want to get at, so of course we want to ask questions and learn whatever little inspirational things off him," Beatty said.
"You know he's still got that competitive edge when he doesn't have to speak - you can just see it in his eyes.
"He's very intense.
"He sees the bigger picture, and he always says he's playing for February, and he wants to make sure all of his horses will be ready, and all his guns will be fresh come February."
Nilsson is raising the bar so high, he walked away extremely disappointed after the game-one loss to the JABA All Stars, where three basic errors led to three runs going to the opposition..
That despite it being during an exhibition series against quality opposition where no ABL competition points were up for grabs, and where Beatty was not the only player tried in a different defensive position.
"Defensively we were really poor," Nilsson said after the 5-4 defeat.
"From my point of view it was a disappointing night. Not a good night at all.
"The errors we made, it doesn't matter who you're playing against."
Driving Beatty in his quest to live out Nilsson's February vision is the following motto ...
"Never pray for challenges equal to your strength, but pray for strength equal to your challenges".
Beatty explains it in a simple manner.
"Sometimes a lot of people like to pray for their challenges to be dumbed down, instead of saying 'hold up, let me become better so I can step up to the challenge'," he said.
"So instead of wishing the challenge was easy, you wish you were better.
"That's one thing that I take and I say 'hey, I'm going to be a better person. Regardless of where I'm playing I'm going to get better'."
And that may well keep up the welcome interest from the paparazzi, and especially Beatty's adoring Bandits fans.