Batista announces release of novel

Batista announces release of novel

PHOENIX -- While the rest of his teammates continued to celebrate their 2001 World Series victory, Miguel Batista was riding around Phoenix with a police officer doing research for a book he planned to write.

It was the first step in a process that led to Friday afternoon at Chase Field, when Batista held a news conference to announce the release of "The Avenger of Blood," a crime novel that is based in Phoenix.

"Hopefully, people will stop asking me when it's going to be done," Batista said with a smile. "It is done now."

The book's main character is Thomas Santiago, a 14-year-old boy who is accused of committing a series of shocking murders. Batista spent 5 1/2 years researching and writing the book, spending countless hours talking with lawyers, judges and undercover police officers.

Batista joined the D-Backs prior to the 2001 season and departed as a free agent following 2003. He was reacquired this past offseason in a trade with the Blue Jays. And though he's played with seven different organizations, it's clear where his heart is.

"People from every corner of this city helped me to get this book done," he said. "There couldn't be a better place. Maybe someday people will understand how much I love this city, how much I love this state."

Teammates Luis Gonzalez and Craig Counsell along with manager Bob Melvin attended the press conference to show their support for Batista.

"I think Miguel is an incredibly talented man," Counsell said. "I just have a lot of respect for someone that is that talented. He's off the beaten path compared to most baseball players, but that's why we love him. It's fun to be here on a day that he's celebrating his success."

"Do you have a lot of pictures in this book?" Gonzalez shouted from the back of the room during the press conference. "When does the book on tape come out?"

Jokes aside, the book does have some pictures, as well as detailed maps of the city. In fact, through research, Batista developed a deep knowledge of the history of Phoenix and the state of Arizona that is reflected in the book.

This is not the first literary work by Batista. He also authored "Feelings in Black and White," a compilation of his poems that sold well in his native Dominican Republic. He has already started to gather information on another book as part of a contract he signed with Trafford Publishing.

While his heart may be in Phoenix, Batista's address may change next year, as he will be a free agent at season's end. While this weekend has been mostly looked at as a way for fans to say good-bye to Gonzalez and Counsell, who both will likely not be back next year, Melvin said he would like to see Batista get the same treatment, and said so during the press conference.

"Miguel Batista has been a big part of this organization, and he's going to get his due this weekend, too, if I have anything to say about it," Melvin said. "We want to thank you, Miguel, for what you've meant to this organization, as well."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.