The sounds of Javier Betancourt

Javier Betancourt of the West Michigan Whitecaps. (June 17, 2014)
Javier Betancourt of the West Michigan Whitecaps. (June 17, 2014)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The West Michigan Whitecaps’ Javier Betancourt is solid with the bat — and he’s not too bad with the ivories, either.

“Baseball is my life, basically. It’s everything for me,” Betancourt said. “Music is my other everything.”

For the past seven years, since learning to play piano in a church in Venezuela, Betancourt has combined his two loves. For him, baseball and music are not easily separated.

“I feel comfortable when I am playing the piano,” he said. “If you have a bad day, you go home and just play the piano and relax.”

He’s comfortable playing baseball, too — Betancourt is an All-Star second baseman.

“I just want to be in the lineup every day. If I have to play center field, I’ll play center field. Every day, I want to win, help my team. Don’t be the hero, but make the little things to help my team, because I just want to make it to the playoffs and win the championship,” he said. “I like the Tigers. I want to play in Comerica Park. Try to make it”

Betancourt was drafted by the Detroit Tigers at age 16 and tossed to a different culture that spoke a different language. Three years later, he speaks English well and has adjusted to a different life.

“You’ve got to smile, because when you get in a bad situation, God has the control, and just relax,” Betancourt said.

The smile he wears when he talks about baseball and music is pretty similar, and so are his reasons for playing each.

“I play baseball for God, and for the win, and for the people,” Betancourt said. “I’m playing the piano for the people, and for God.”

 

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