By now, most of us sports fans (and some who don’t consider themselves fans) are well aware of Brett Baty and his Major League Baseball debut with the New York Mets Aug. 17.
But in case you’re not, Baty, in his first at-bat, hit a two-run homer in the second inning while wearing No. 22 and flashed the “I love you” hand signal to his family — dad Clint, mom Leslie and older sister Lauren — and others close to him who were sitting in the players section steps before he touched home plate. His two-run homer helped the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 9-7.
Baty, who was the Mets’ No. 2 prospect, got his call after playing six games for the Syracuse Mets because injuries to Luis Guillorme and Eduardo Escobar put them on the injured list. New York had already beaten Atlanta two weeks earlier, taking four of the five contests for a seven-game lead. But the Braves took games one and two played this week. The 9-7 Mets win with third baseman Baty in the line-up helped the Mets avoid the sweep and keep a narrow 3.5-game lead with seven weeks left in the regular season. Needless to say, teams are preparing to make a final push to the postseason.
That’s why Baty’s call to the majors was a big deal for baseball fans.
Here’s why it’s a big deal for Highland Lakes residents.
The Batys lived in Marble Falls when I first returned to the area in 2005. At that time, Lauren was a member of the class of 2014, which produced some outstanding female athletes who couldn’t wait to wear the basketball purple and gold. When that class got to high school, they helped the Lady Mustangs advance to the playoffs, a streak the class of 2004 had started. Many of us knew the athletes who were coming and looked forward to watching them develop and play.
Brett was younger than Lauren, graduating from Lake Travis High School in 2019. I’m not sure how many of us knew when the Batys lived in Marble Falls that Brett, who was a player in the Marble Falls Youth Baseball and Softball Association, had the intangibles to play a professional sport. But I can write with certainty that his dad, who was the Mustangs head basketball coach, is brilliant at the Xs and Os and finds ways to help his players be successful.
Before he became the Mustangs head basketball coach, he was an assistant for former head coach Larry Berkman and an assistant baseball coach for former head coach Ronnie Scearce. The belief was that Baty would take the head coaching job from one of those two men, who had been on the Marble Falls staff since the 1980s, when they retired. Berkman was first.
People who know where the Batys live will say they remember Clint and Brett spending lots and lots of time on baseball. The two played catch and worked on other fundamentals of the sport. By then, the Batys had left Marble Falls with Clint being named an assistant basketball coach at Lake Travis and later became the head coach, a job he’s had for about a decade.
Meanwhile, Leslie served Marble Falls ISD as the executive director of elementary education and retired in December 2021.
So seeing the Batys and other familiar faces sitting in the Mets family and friends section share in Brett’s moment was huge for Highland Lakes residents. Not only because it’s great to see a player’s dream come true but also because athletes like Brett will say he got a lot of help to make it happen.
That’s why the clip of his home run and his family’s reaction have touched the hearts of so many, whether they know the Batys or not.
Shortly after he was drafted and signed his professional contract in 2019, Leslie made Brett promise that he’d always sign autographs for children, that he’d remember where he came from and who he represents. Brett hasn’t forgotten his promise.
So celebrate central Texas! Take in the moment and leap to your feet with the Batys!
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