Battier takes BP at Marlins Park

MIAMI — A pitcher when he was younger, Shane Battier said he gave up baseball because he couldn’t hit a curveball.

Shane Battier of the Miami Heat takes BP at Marlins Park.

Opting for basketball certainly wasn’t a bad fallback play, as he has the distinction of winning titles at Duke and now with the Miami Heat.

Battier turned his attention to basketball, and after 11 seasons in the NBA, he finally experienced winning a championship. The veteran forward played a key role on the Miami Heat’s title team.

A guest of the Marlins on Saturday, Battier took some swings at Marlins Park. Facing Miami first base coach Gary Thurman, he connected on a couple of balls that reached the warning track in left field.

Battier also threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Chris Bosh also was at the ballpark, but he did not take part in any pregame festivities.

Marlins Park, Battier says, is a beautiful place to play. As an athlete, he added playing in a new building can be uplifting for a player.

“I think it often makes a difference,” he said. “You see that with other teams, when they go into a new building, and you feel like you’re in a professional outfit and you feel like ‘yeah, we’re with the big boys, and if we’re with the big boys then let’s play like the big boys.’ It’s a beautiful park, it really is. It’s my first time here today, so I’m excited to watch a game here.”

A number of Marlins attended Heat playoff games. Battier recalls seeing Giancarlo Stanton at AmericanAirlines Arena.

In high school, Stanton played basketball. Could Stanton have played hoops if he gave it his full attention?

“Yeah,” Battier said. “That guy is pretty athletic. I think he’d be all right.”

Joe Frisaro

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