Despite an almost two decade long losing streak, the Pittsburgh Pirates serve a greater purpose than just winning athletic recognition, says Douglas Battista.
Douglas Battista grew up a Pirates fan; today, little has changed. Here, Community Blog Online catches up with the busy Human Resources Executive to see how his love of baseball has helped him stay true to his roots.
Community Blog Online: Good morning, Douglas Battista. Thank you for taking this time with us today. We appreciate the opportunity to speak with positive role models like you, to remind our readers the importance of appreciating the experiences of youth.
Douglas Battista: Thank you.
Community Blog Online: Let’s begin, shall we? You grew up going to Pittsburgh Pirate games with your dad, right?
Douglas Battista: Yes, we have gone to opening day every year since I was a teenager.
Community Blog Online: So you’ve seen them high and you’ve seen them low…
Douglas Battista: That’s right. I remember back when the Pirates were competitive – the late 1980s and early 1990s. They were on a roll, winning games and making big names.
Community Blog Online: That was the time Barry Bonds played for the Pirates, right?
Douglas Battista: Yes. In fact, Bonds is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game by some.
Community Blog Online: But the Pirates haven’t done that great since that era. You remain a fan nevertheless…
Douglas Battista: Absolutely! They will always be my home team.
Community Blog Online: In baseball, there are many ups and downs. Can you give us an example of how the Pirates were able to turn a negative experience in to something positive?
Douglas Battista: In 1989, the Pirates were the first team in MLB history to score ten runs in the very first inning, only to lose the game to their archrival, the Phillies. Anyway, the game’s broadcaster, Jim Rooker, made a comment that if the team lost, he would walk the entire way home from Philadelphia.
Community Blog Online: And did he?
Douglas Battista: Yes he did, and he did it for charity and raised quite a bit of money.
Community Blog Online: That’s fantastic.
Douglas Battista: Indeed it is, and the Pirates intentionally do good things, too.
Community Blog Online: Such as…?
Douglas Battista: They are often involved in community activities. In fact, the Pirates host an annual event geared at families which helps children learn about the game, and in turn, the importance of staying fit, active and healthy.
Community Blog Online: A valuable offering, especially since childhood obesity is at an all-time high.
Douglas Battista: Yes, quite true. The team also honors those who have an impact. Each year the Pirates recognize half a dozen “Community Champions.” They do this during a special pregame ceremony on their home field.
Community Blog Online: Are there any other areas where the Pirates are making an impact?
Douglas Battista: They are a team dedicated to breaking social and economic barriers. In 2008, the Pirates signed the first ever players from India. This is important because it opened the country’s eyes to the fact that anyone can play the game, regardless of where they are from or if they are different from the norm.
Community Blog Online: It is evident that you have a great deal of respect for the team.
Douglas Battista: I do. I look at it like this – the Pirates have shown me that no matter what I chose to do in life, as long as I do it with a clear conscience and to the best of my ability, then I can never lose. I thank them for showing me, and the rest of the world, how important it is to stay true to who you are and continue to believe in yourself despite any setbacks that may try to block your path.