Through the ups and the downs. The triumphs and the setbacks. The trials and tribulations. What makes a person keep going? What’s it worth to keep trying? Talent is a factor but does will and an internal drive to succeed outweigh talent on any given day?
And what is a comeback made of?
As humans, our innate nature is to be drawn to a good comeback story, even if the person falls short of their dream, it is entertaining and captivating no matter what to watch a person try for something they want in such a gritty and passionate way.
This offseason, I had the chance to head out to Ventura Beach, CA where many players signed to PSI Sports Agency (ie: in current MLB relevance terms, Aaron Judge + more) put in their #nooffseason grind starting in January. There are baseball players of all varieties of ages, experience levels and goals. Those that are new to the grind seemed to be a bit shell shocked with the amount of physical and mental prep work needed prior to heading off to camp to pursue their child dreams. Many of them visted the “puke wall” a few times in full out survivalist mode. So with all the youth mixed in with some veteran experience, how would a 2 year removed MLB player fit in to the mix?
>>Insert Luke Scott here<<
Scott, has been known in his career to be a controversial player. His free speaking ways, fearless manor and a variety of media misunderstandings have left the former slugger removed from MLB for the past 2 years. But could a comeback be brewing? Scott, 39, has spent the last 2 years getting his body to a healthy and strong place and crafting his mind to a focused and understanding level of thinking. Scott may not be for everyone…actually, correction on that, Scott IS NOT for everyone (who is nowadays?); however, Scott’s brand new swing just MIGHT be for someone out there.
“A swing so smooth, that when locked in, you just can’t miss. Inside and up, outside corner, high and tight…doesn’t matter, there is no where a pitcher can hide.”
Before going out to Ventura, to check out this “magical swing”, I was a bit skeptical. Being someone who has fairly in depth knowledge on the game of baseball and the physical mechanics necessary to succeed as a hitter or a pitcher, I couldn’t see how someone who has had some shoulder issues, is 39 and hasn’t seen live pitching could possible consider a comeback other than the fact that they were hanging on to a redemption dream.
However, then I saw it. Not even saw it, I felt it. For me when I am watching someone take cuts in the cage or off live pitching, there is this euphoric feeling that happens just as the batter goes into motion while reading a pitch. I normally know within the first ounce of movement whether or not they are going to do any damage to this pitch. Watching Scott bat, I was a bit shocked. He did it. He unlocked a swing to the likes of Barry Bonds. Yeah he is older. Yeah is a bit controversial. But Scott can hit. Come to find out, he HAD tested it with live pitching in the Dominican over the winter and was turning on 95mph fast balls like they were nothing. Each swing, smoother and more resilient than the next. This swing truly has it all.
So what is so great about this supposed “magical Barry Bonds” type of swing? It is so broad and versatile that it allows the hitter to put the bat on the ball at any point in time in the zone. It catches up to anything while yielding and protecting the body on inside pitches better than any swing I have ever seen. It’s absolutely lethal when executed correctly. High. Low. In. Out. Curve. Break. Slide….doesn’t matter. In addition to the swing, Scott is the healthiest he has been in years, physically and mentally. He has stayed in shape, increased cardio, lives an extremely meticulous and clean lifestyle and has spent time reflecting on his career and wishing this was a tool he had at his prime.
The real question is, with being healthy and of sound mine, is there any team out there that would be willing to take the chance? If I am a GM, my first concern would be how he would interact with the current youth movement in MLB, but after seeing the mentorship, jovial attitude and true desire to work with and help the young players stand on their 2 feet and learn the ropes of this game to us that is ultimately still a job to them, I can say that those concerns would subside quickly. It may be later in life, but who puts a time frame on anything? Scott is ready, willing and able to play and could provide some leadership in a young clubhouse in need of some structure. There is no one that I know that is willing to put in more time and work, not for themselves, but for the ultimate good of the team.
I honestly went into this article, expecting to write it about comeback desires not always being the best thing for you and how it is important for athletes to find a new passion to focus on later in their career. However, Scott is the exception. If signed to the right team, even a low deal minor league shot, or incentive laden contract, the reward of Scott’s later in career revelations could truly pay off. There is always the chance that they might not, but with the amount of players still seeking high dollar deals and the extreme and long time coming change in the MLB market, it’s worth the shot for what could potentially be a year for Scott to unload his new swing and provide a team with some left handed power hitting and some veteran experience.
Its anyone’s game at this point. For now, Scott, along with several other unsigned players are in Bradenton, FL showing their commitment to the game and that they are ready to play ball in the 2018 season. If some are willing to take lower end deals to get out there, then what’s the harm? I probably spend more money on beer over the course of the season at stadiums. This is a turning point in baseball. Will they give these players a shot? I guess only time…and spring training will tell.
My personal vote? Let them make us into believers because everyone loves a comeback.
Show Me The Comeback