2008 draft, the St. Louis Cardinals found a gifted athletic player from a
small-college in North Carolina. That player was infielder Alex Castellanos who is hitting .362/.455/.553 over his last 12 games with the Quad
Cities River Bandits. So it is not
a surprise the Cardinals went back to the same area to find another “hidden
gem.” This time, it was (Christian)
C.J. Beatty, an athletic outfielder from North Carolina A&T.
reigning two-time Athlete of the Year at the school hit .365/.460/.641 with
eight home runs and 42 RBIs this spring.
finished his college career as a .339 hitter with 31 home runs and 135 RBIs in
last week, he was kind enough to take time out to talk with me. As I talked with Beatty, I could sense
his excitement in talking baseball.
His joy of being a professional ball player was evident so much that I
could sense his smile through the phone.
Mattison: What has been your impression of pro baseball so far?
Beatty: Overwhelming but it is a
good feeling. I am finally here and
I am beginning to live my dream that I have had since I was five years old. I am enjoying every bit of it. I am taking everyday as a
challenge. That is the way I like
to attack it. I am always trying to
get better and trying to get better than my competition. If I do it this way I feel if I have the
possibility of doing more.
DM: What has surprised you the most about
Nothing has really surprised me because I have had friends that went away to
play and listening to the old-timers.
It gets difficult at times, being away from home, being away from people
that know you. Being accountable, waking up each day with the same routine, and
trying to stay mentally strong has been the most difficult thing.
DM: You mentioned being away from home. You grew up in Winston-Salem, which is not very far from Johnson City. Have your family and friends made the
trip over to see you play?
CJB: Yeah. I just got off the phone with them a
couple minutes ago and they were talking about coming to see me tonight. They are enjoying it. We didn’t really know if I would be
starting out here in Johnson City or Batavia. When I found out it would be Johnson City, there was
overwhelming joy. They are only
three hours from here. Every
opportunity to come see they are taking it.
DM: Tell me about
CJB: It was a heart-pounder. The day before the draft, it had not
really set in. I knew I was going
to get drafted; a bunch of teams had called me. Scouts had told me where I might end up
and what kind of money offers to expect.
But draft day was when it really began to set in. Friends of mine began to get
drafted. Players that I had played
against were getting called. We
were watching the rounds unfold.
Sure enough, the St. Louis Cardinals called and told me that I should
expect to go somewhere after the 20th round. So, I was glued to the computer screen
and low and behold they called “Christian Beatty” in the 26th
What other teams had been in contact with you?
had the Yankees, Diamondbacks, White Sox, and the Royals were the teams that had
showed me the most attention. But I
had a lot of questionnaires to fill out.
I think we counted up 14 letters of interest.
What did you know about the Cardinals before they drafted
The tradition of Tony La Russa, Albert Pujols, and Rick Ankiel. I know the way they develop their
homegrown talent. It was a
privilege and an honor to be selected to become a Cardinal. I got a lot more information during the
workout I attended in Belmont-Abbey, North
They told us about how they develop their players. So, before the draft, I was telling my
peers that it would be sweet to be part of that organization because they
develop their talent really well.
They send them up through the ranks and don’t hold anyone back. I told my mother, “That would be a great
deal, to be a St. Louis Cardinal.”
How did cjbeatty.com come about?
CJB: DDIC Web Designs does a lot of company
websites and they wanted to branch out into the athletic community. Since it is a local company, they chose
me to be the guinea pig. I agreed
because I wouldn’t turn having a dot-com after my name. They told me about how they would create
it and design. Luckily, I was
blessed to be part of it.
you wanted to be a switch hitter because of Pete Rose?
CJB: Yes, I was a fan
of Pete Rose.
Were you a Reds fan?
No, I was a Seattle Mariners fan. I
really like Junior (Griffey), I grew up during that era. I was always trying to imitate Ken Griffey, Jr and his swing. As I grew up, I rated Derek Jeter as my favorite ball
player. I just really like the way
he attacks the game. He always has
a smile on his face and is always hustling. He is a key guy that I would like to
meet one day.
Have you found anyone to play chess with since joining the
No. Every time I ask someone in the
clubhouse if they play, they always say, “Nah, nah, they don’t play.” I love that game because of all the
strategy. You have to stay one step
ahead of your opponent and that is what I love to do. I just love the thrill of playing
DM: How special was it to be named Athlete of the Year at North Carolina A &
CJB: It was real special. That honor was a blessing. I go out and play hard everyday and when
you do that; things will unfold throughout the season. My family and I felt blessed and we
celebrated. I thank my teammates
for the honor as well. I was
shocked when I won it the first year but to win it a second year was
amazing. My family and I enjoyed
every bit of it.
DM: How important was it to play in the Coastal Plains collegiate wood
bat league to your development?
CJB: It helped out tremendously. Just playing and getting wood bat stats
is important. I call it “the head
start” because I had an opportunity work the kinks out of my swing.
When you are not playing baseball, how do you like to spend your
CJB: I have a bunch of video games and I play
on-line and my friends play on-line.
I am really competitive.
When I am at home, my friends and I eat chips and dip and play games all
DM: What should Cardinal fans know about you that they probably don’t
CJB: I love music and that I am musically
inclined. I play the drums at my
church and I play the trumpet by ear.
Anytime, I can play the drums; I don’t pass up the opportunity.
C.J. the best of luck in his professional baseball career and I thank him for
what you’ve been missing! Scout.com subscribers have enjoyed the following as
part of our Cardinals 2009 Draft Interview Series:
Scott Bittle (4th
Alan Ahmady (11th
Ross Smith (14th
Nick McCully (7th
Robert Stock (2nd
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Mattison can be contacted at email@example.com. Follow Dustin at
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