By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
BALTIMORE, Md.—There is something that sets designated hitter, Luke Scott, apart from the other players on the Baltimore Orioles. His passion for the game is uncontainable; shining from every inch of the huge grin he flashes the crowd as he rounds the bases. His friendly demeanor portrays a down-to-earth, genuinely nice guy as opposed to a conceited celebrity. But Scott will be the first one to tell you that it’s his relationship with Christ that fills him up and drives him forward each and every day.
But even with unspeakable joy deep inside, Scott can’t help but agonize over this year’s pitiful season with the O’s, trailing the league at 25 wins and 57 losses a week before the mid-season All Star Game. Sitting at his dining room table, dropping his head in his hands, he admits, “This has been the season from hell.”
Scott said he’s been doing spiritual battle like never before, but, by leaning on the Rock, he’s staying the course. He knows his struggle is not just with an opposing team, but with the “powers and principalities of this world.”
“Satan is attacking me at my heart’s desire—baseball,” he said.
Scott said he feels it when he steps up to the plate and is continually praying, asking for God’s help. He acknowledges that there is a clear parallel between his spiritual walk and his game, citing more “clarity” on the field and less oppressive warfare during those breakthrough periods.
Scott was instrumental in reviving the team for a short-lived rally this spring when he hit a grand slam against the Mariners, bringing the team up from a 4-0 Mariner lead. The “O’s” went on to win that game and he hit three more homers within the week.
He goes through periods of success and challenges, however, and believes there’s no question as to the reason for the satanic attacks.
“I’m bold. I think that’s why he comes at me so hard. He knows I freely talk about my faith and God, who He is and what He’s done, without hesitation,” Scott says.
The powerful athlete, who has been referred to by radio commentators as the strongest man on the team, is disciplined in all areas of his life. He eats healthy, avoids sugar, filters his water, takes supplements and rides his bike to Camden Yards. He’s got a “work hard to get what you want” ethic.
Physical discipline and ethics carry over into his spiritual life—and visa-versa.
Scott continually prays, journals, memorizes scripture, takes his Bible to “work” and speaks Scripture over himself. “The Bible talks about the temple—God anointed the hands of the workers.” Scott relates that to God’s anointing over his body and soul.
He takes a beating for his passionate stand for Christ, for his vow to remain abstinent until marriage and for his propensity to “tell it like it is.”
“Right is right and wrong is wrong,” he states. He shares that philosophy with youth groups he has the opportunity to address. “Fame, wealth and power should never come at the cost of integrity honor and character. You can…write a check to get what you want, but having a good name can’t be bought.”
Scott also freely shares his struggles and victories. One of his most poignant memories was not close to the harbor in Baltimore, however, but instead on the South American continent.
Scott travelled to Venezuela more than five years ago. He played there to improve his game, but it was also, he feels, because God had a mission for him. God blessed Scott in an incredible way during his first season in 2005 playing for the Navegantes del Magallanes. He came late to the team, fresh from the World Series with the Astros, and had to leave early to prepare for the upcoming 2006 season. During this short season, however, he played like never before, hitting 12 home runs at his first 88 at bats—breaking a record and earning the nickname “el monstruo de cuadrangular” which translates to “The Home Run Monster.”
“It was the best time I ever had in my life,” Scott said. He not only took joy in the game; he also took every opportunity to talk about Jesus on television, on the radio and to people in the crowd. “There’s nothing like it when God takes your passions and your talents and uses it for His glory. It’s the greatest sense of fulfillment. That’s when it’s the best!”
On a more personal level, Scott had the opportunity to be an example to other players as he stood firm on his convictions, passing up opportunities to party and even beautiful Venezuelan girls waiting for him at his hotel. He admits it was only with God’s strength he was able to resist.
“I took a lot of heat,” he acknowledged.
Scott’s return visit to Venezuela in 2007 did not yield such successful results on the field, but he continued to publicly glorify God in the good and bad.
“My performance was miserable,” he said. “(But) God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and I love Him.”
From his initial climb to success in Single-A teams in 2003 to his current status in the Major Leagues, Scott has found comfort in the fact that God has a plan and is his biggest fan.
One of his hardest challenges was moving from high A ball with the Cleveland Indians to Double-A then being demoted back again. He was having a great run in 2003, finishing the season with 20 home runs and 81 RBIs. He even won the home run derby. But the following year he was traded to the Houston Astros who sent him back to Salem, the High A league where he had been an all-star.
“It was a tough mountain to overcome. I spoke the right things, prayed, and really sought after God…and His anointing came on me in my games.”
Almost three months later he moved to Round Rock, Houston’s Double-A league in North Carolina where he excelled, hitting 19 homeruns and scoring 62 RBIs—added to eight homeruns and 35 RBIs at Salem brought him to a total of 27 homeruns and 97 RBIs ending with a .298 batting average. Nolan Ryan, who owned the Round Rock team, vouched for Scott and the homerun monster moved to the Astros 40 man roster.
Scott continues to ride a roller coaster of victories and struggles. His most recent challenge came on June 30 when he pulled a hamstring rounding the bases of a homerun and was sent to the Oriole’s spring training camp at Sarasota, Fla., for recovery. He said he doesn’t understand, but knows God has a plan for all things.
He is praying that God makes up the time for him. Last year he was on the disabled list from May 11 to 24. When he returned, he hit six homers and 15 RBIs in four games—less than a week. “He gave me a month worth of numbers just like that. I don’t put limits on him. I just choose to get out of His way.”
God truly gave Luke Scott his numbers back. A week after coming off of the disabled list, Scott had five home runs and seven RBI’s and was batting .452. So far this month he has a .391 average. He is red hot.