The Baltimore Orioles outfielder had a quick flashback when he walked through the gate to take the field at Halfway Little League. One of the Boys of Summer remembered what it was like to be a boy in summer.
“I had no cares in the world,” Scott said about his formative baseball years. “I was just playing baseball to have fun.”
Even with all the expertise Scott has gained from years of playing baseball, the idea of enjoying the game topped the list when he spoke to about 90 youth baseball players on the first day of the Orioles in the Outfield Baseball Camp at Martin L. Snook Park.
“This is an opportunity to come out and share my knowledge and experience in life,” Scott said. “It's a chance to get out and give back.”
Scott delivered a short message to the campers before opening the session to questions. After the talk, campers were separated into three age groups and took the fields in the Halfway complex for a little competition while Scott roamed around to watch and offer pointers to the players. The stay ended with an autograph session.
“I'm here to talk about the game we play and love so much,” Scott said to the campers. “It's a fun game to play, but it is also frustrating. I was in your shoes many years ago, dreaming about playing in the majors, the lights and the big stadiums. I have seen players who do that and not know how to get there.
“It's a tough road filled with obstacles. The higher you go, the better the talent gets. What separates players is work ethic. It's how hard you work that makes the difference.”
Scott told the campers that baseball isn't a game where “you roll out the balls and bats at 6:30 and just start playing games.” There is early preparation that goes into playing the game, like hitting, working on muscle memory, eating right, taking care of your body and watching film.
“Getting to that level is satisfying and a lot of fun,” he said. “Baseball is a chess match between you and a pitcher. We are our worst (enemies) because we battle our minds.”
Scott opened the program to the campers for a wide array of questions, starting with, “Do you remember me? I was at the game when you beat the Nationals 8-3.”
“There are always interesting questions,” Scott said. “You never know with kids and what things they will say.”
One camper asked Scott when he hit his first home run … in Little League.
“I never hit any in Little League,” Scott admitted. “I hit my first when I was 13. When I turned 14, things started to change and I got a lot of pop.”
The camp runs through Wednesday. Former Orioles pitcher Scott McGregor is scheduled to spend today instructing the campers, along with some members of the Hagerstown Suns.
Even in instruction, Scott wanted to make sure the players learned one main thing they should never forget.
“To have fun,” he said. “Do you want to get better? Yes, but it should always be fun.”