Friday, April 30, 2010

Through The Eyes Of...Jimmy Scott: Greatest Pitcher You Never Heard Of

The following is part of a weekly series called "Through the Eyes Of....". In each segment, I share interviews with or stories about those that I view to be the "Good Guys."

"Through the Eyes of..." is a part of my personal crusade to present baseball in all it's beauty, splendor, and goodness, instead of through hashing and rehashing all that is broken with our National treasure.

With 334 career wins and 4268 career strikeouts, two no-hitters and three championship rings, baseball's greatest pitcher you've never heard of, Jimmy Scott, has become more than just a legend. He has become a voice for MLB players, current and retired.

At 41, Jimmy is fully aware of his own baseball mortality; he knows that though he's not yet over the hill he can certainly see the top of it.

Jimmy Scott is using his down time, while recovering from an off season shoulder injury, to climb up the chart as Baseball's Greatest Blogger, a career he hopes to continue long after he hangs up his jock for the last time.

Jimmy waxes weekly with some of baseball's greatest former players and wives of players on his popular blog, Jimmy Scott's High and Tight. His guests have included Dale Murphy, Tommy John, Scott Brosius, the late Gabrielle Schoeneweis, and Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers.

Upcoming interviews in Jimmy's on-deck circle include Steve Rogers (Expos), Donna Candiotti (ex-wife of former pitcher Tom), and Tisha DeShields (ex-wife of former infielder Delino).

Jimmy Scott was gracious enough to take some time from his busy blogging and rehab schedule to share his thoughts and career plans on this week's edition of "Through the Eyes Of....

Civ: Are you coming back to play baseball or is your career over?

Jimmy: I won't say my playing career is over until my arm is surgically removed from my body, like in one of those "Saw" movies. In fact, "Saw XXVII" should be about a Roger Clemens-type, or Jimmy Scott-type, who gets abducted and he has to eat through his rotator cuff in order to survive.

Jimmy: I think that's what Dr. Frank Jobe was going to initially do with Tommy John back in the early-'70s, but he thought better of that.

Civ: Are you going to answer my question?

Jimmy: Succinctly. Yes and no.

Civ: Then when do you think you'll be back?

Jimmy: 20-10. My rotator cuff was strained in January and still hasn't healed. It doesn't need surgery, just more rest. I'm sending it to its own spa in Arizona this fall if it doesn't heal on its own soon.

Civ: How would you come back next year?

Jimmy: Probably through the Indie leagues. Did you see Eric Gagne is pitching for Quebec in the CanAm League? I think he only hangs with the team on days he pitches then takes off back to the Great White North. He's coming back as a starter. The New Jersey Jackals wanted me this year, but I told them my arm wasn't ready. The Newark Bears contacted me.

Jimmy: I ended up voicing a commercial for them recently, but I can't even throw the ceremonial first pitch of a game, so I've kept my feet off baseball diamonds most of the summer. Think I should forget about that and come back as a hitter like Rick Ankiel?

Civ: Can you still hit?

Jimmy: Never could hit very well, so the "still" isn't worth including in your question. Next...

Civ: Why are you focusing your time on your website, Jimmy Scott's High & Tight?

Jimmy: I missed all of 2007 with a bad elbow and much of 2008. That kind of slapped me in the face with a wake up call. "Jimmy," I said aloud to myself, "you better think of something to do the day your career really ends." Come to think of it, my wife said the same thing. Maybe we said it in harmony.

Jimmy: Anyway, I started Jimmy Scott's High & Tight as a means of interviewing other players and agents and MLB wives and coaches, etc. to get a sense of their lives post-retirement. As its evolved over the past year, the issues have moved from strictly retirement to the relationships part of the game.

Jimmy: Did you know there's a statistic flying around out there stating up to 85% of baseball marriages fail after a player's career ends? I learned that and have talked to a number of wives, life coaches, a pair of psychologists, to talk it through. There's a new interview every Monday morning that gets uploaded to the site. You can listen in on our banter and also dig the music we (really, just I) mix in.

Civ: You don't just do interviews.

Jimmy: Right. I also write daily columns about various subjects, kind of "inside a baseball mind" stuff. On Monday's, I'm starting a series of columns based upon tips that former MLB catcher Brent Mayne sends out each week via email to subscribers to his Art of Catching website.

Jimmy: He wrote a book and had some interesting tips about catching. I figured I could expand on them to cover baseball and life inside baseball. We're calling it "The Mayne Line." Isn't that funny?

Civ: I guess. It's not funny ha-ha.

Jimmy: So true. I also have guest columnists on the site. I have a real baseball wife, who calls herself Cassidy Dover to protect her and her husband's identities. She writes for the site. She has a new article go up every Thursday. And former outfielder and current Phillies scout Eric Valent writes for the site every so often.

Jimmy: Desi Relaford wrote a couple of articles too but had to stop because, drum roll... He went back to school. That's right. At 37 years old, he decided to go to college. What else is a millionaire ex-ballplayer to do?

Civ: That's the next question.

Jimmy: The transition from active baseball player to ordinary civilian isn't easy. Imagine going from a job in which you are pampered all day long and, if you succeed, maybe 45,000 people cheer your name and sing your praises really loud that night.

Jimmy: Plus, you get paid a lot. It's a 24-hour a day ego-stroke. Now imagine that being gone. It's just you in a big house with a wife and some kids, none of whom think of you the way Bert from Mammaroneck on the sports radio show thinks of you.

Jimmy: This is a huge let down. That's why lots of guys go back into coaching. For the ego and also because they miss the camaraderie. Hanging with young kids is very different from hanging with a bunch of adult males calling each other unprintable names.

Civ: Is your wife Vanessa worried about the end of your career?

Jimmy: Ummm... She likes that I have the website to keep my mind and voice occupied. She doesn't like that it doesn't make any money.

Civ: Why not? Couldn't you get some big endorsement dollars to cover its costs?

Jimmy: It really doesn't cost much at all to run. Mostly time. And I kind of like have it clean of any corporate fingerprints. At least for now. But I never say never. I'll write it, but I won't verbalize it.

Civ: Last question: Has it sunk in that your playing career may be over?

Jimmy: No. But that's just denial talking. The real me knows the end is near. I'm just trying to keep it as far away as possible. I hear parking gets tougher when you're no longer a household name.

Civ: Thanks, Jimmy.

Jimmy: You're welcome, Civ. Tell your readers I said hi.

Civ: I will. Thanks, Jimmy .

Jimmy: You already said that, Civ. I'm going now. Good day, sir. TC

Todd Civin is a freelance writer for Bleacher Report and Seamheads. He can be reached at for comment or hire. He is also a supporter of A Glove of Their Own, the award-winning children's story that is capturing the heart of the nation by teaching sharing through baseball.

Visit A Glove of Their Own and purchase under donor code JNF636 The Joe Niekro Foundation. With each sale $3.00 will donated to The Foundation which is Aiding in the Research and Treatment of Aneurysm Patients and their Families.

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