Baron Vaun Batch is not your typical professional athlete in the National Football League. Batch’s hobbies off the field consist of photography, cooking, blogging, drawing, painting, and more. Batch’s art was recently featured in the Lubbock Art Festival in Texas.
When you create a piece of art, it takes time, patience, and perseverance to make it your own. It starts as something small but then turns into something big. The same can be said about Baron Batch. His life itself can be considered a piece of art with endless lessons. The story I am about to tell about number 20 of the Pittsburgh Steelers no way does justice of what Batch has came from which was not having much of anything to becoming the figure he is today by having faith. A work of art.
Born in 1987 from Odessa Texas, Batch grew up in a three bedroom trailer house 30 miles south of town in the middle of nowhere. Batch was the third born of five children that his mother, Joyce Batch, gave birth and took care of while Batch’s father skipped out on a big portion of his family’s life.
Joyce Batch loved to garden. It was a hobby of hers, but also more of a necessity. She gardened to provide food for the Batch family, while at night they would sleep on the floor in front of a space heater to keep from being cold.
As years went on, Batch’s mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Joyce Batch eventually was placed in a wheel chair. One day when Baron came home from school, his house was empty. With a simple message written on the wall in lipstick saying “I love you.” Batch’s mother was placed in a facility and passed away in 2003.
The Batch family had to move on. With the oldest being 15 years old (Bridgette), all five children lived in a trailer house by themselves and still made it to school every day.
After Baron’s mother passed away, he became more angry than he already was as a child. Two days later he was back at school. Baron joined the football team and played four years at Midland High School. Football was Baron’s only escape from his lifestyle.
Baron became a high recruit and was given a full scholarship to Texas Tech. Batch turned down offers from Northwestern, Duke, and New Mexico State.
Batch impressed Texas Tech coaches and earned playing time in his freshman season. After seven weeks of the season passed, with a snap of a finger, Batch’s season was over. October 18, 2006, Texas Tech was holding practice. Batch was competing for more playing time. The running backs were rotating and a young Batch wanted to show the coaches what he was capable of. When knowing what the next play call was, Batch sprinted onto the field to substitute in for his competition. However, Batch was not told to rotate in. He went behind the coaches and stole a rep from his teammate. The quarterback changed the play at the offensive line. Batch’s assignment now was to pass protect. When the ball was snapped, Batch collided with a linebacker but another player rolled onto his ankle causing it to break.
A process that required seven surgeries, a blood clot that almost took his life, and a big realization. A priest came in to see Batch while reading him his last rights. Batch remembered what his mother would tell him. “Have faith.” Those words were spoken into Batch’s soul. When it looked like Baron Batch’s athletic career was over, the infection in his ankle went away along with the swelling. He returned to the Red Raiders.
He finished playing in 45 career games, while ranking eighth on Tech’s career rushing yardage list (2,501). He ranks ninth in career all-purpose yardage list (3,612) and is tied for eighth place on Texas Tech’s career touchdowns list (32). Batch had three straight seasons with at least 1,000 all-purpose yards for the Red Raiders.
In 2011, Baron Batch was drafted by the Steelers with the 232nd overall pick in the 7th round. When training camp started, Batch was in competition with third down back Mewelde Moore for his job. Early on, it seemed that Batch would win the competition. Batch impressed with his ability to pass protect. He held his own against every man he faced in the backs vs backers drill including a former defensive MVP, James Harrison.
On August 11, while camp coming to a close, so did Batch’s rookie season. Baron Batch tore his ACL in practice and was placed on injured reserve. Again Batch could hear his mother saying to him: have faith. In 20 weeks, Batch was running again.
Coming back from a surgically repaired ACL, Baron Batch was not a force offensively in 2012. He had just 80 combined all-purpose yards and one touchdown. On November 20, he was released by the Steelers when the team had some quarterback injury issues and was placed on the practice squad for three weeks. Another team tried to sign Batch onto their active roster but the Steelers quickly chose to place Batch back on the 53-man roster before that could happen.
Batch did however become a force on special teams in 2012. He made 4 solo tackles for the special teams squad and ended up playing in 12 games.
Heading into the 2013 season, Baron Batch is one of the many players fighting for a roster spot. His talents on special teams is considered to be an advantage over running backs Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer who many believe will fight for the last spot on the running backs depth chart. In his second season back from ACL surgery, Batch is expected to do much more. His job is on the line.
Much like everything else, I expect Baron Batch to overcome this obstacle. His Steelers career could be just like everything else he does in life, a work of art. He will attack his opportunity with perseverance. After studying his story these past several days and getting all of these details in, I believe Baron Batch is a true blessing to not just the National Football League but to society. He shows that having faith can create greener pastures in the future. Thanks Baron.
Watch More on Baron’s amazing story on NFL.com –> http://www.nfl.com/videos/pittsburgh-steelers/0ap2000000111386/Batch-s-incredible-journey
Check out Baron’s website –> www.baronbatch.com