October 4th, 2013

Postseason predictions and analysis

Big Papi!The #Postseason is under way, and there is a real possibility of a dream World Series for me. The Red Sox are my No. 1 team and the Braves are my 2 team. I’m rooting for that to happen.

Obviously I spent my childhood being a diehard Red Sox fan. My Dad grew up in Massachusetts. As I grew older and developed an appreciation, I loved Chipper Jones. He played ball with the Durham Bulls right down the road from me, so we all loved him from that area. It’s Braves Country, too, in Carolina.

Either way I would be happy. It wouldn’t be that disappointed, gutted feeling after the World Series, whoever lost. I don’t know. That would be a weird feeling. I’ve never experienced something like that where I’ve rooted for two teams. It would be great for baseball. The old Boston Braves vs. the Boston Red Sox. I’d root for Boston, but I wouldn’t be rooting for them cold-hearted like, “Kill the Braves!” Honestly, the Braves fans have been great to me, and the organization…they’ve probably been the one baseball team that’s just been absolutely great to me, let me kind of hang out there and do stuff with them.

A lot is going to happen along the way, and Friday is the first day of four Postseason games at once this month so here we go with my thoughts:

BRAVES VS. DODGERS

The Braves have a tough draw. To pull the Dodgers in the NLDS, that’s pretty tough. But I think they can do it. Hopefully they didn’t peak in the middle of the season when they went on that long streak. Clayton Kershaw was nuts this year, and he already put the Braves in a hole by winning Game 1 in Atlanta.

I’m hoping Braves. As long as they can get their bats going. I was watching the other night at Turner Field, we were there. The bats weren’t exactly there. We’ll see if they turn it on. Craig Kimbrel is going to be a big thing. Anytime in the postseason, you need a good closer to get you out of games. He had 50 saves this season. We’ll see if he gets over that hump.

It’s tough to call the Braves underdogs. There’s a lot of hype around the Dodgers, you can see that. Yasiel Puig, Kershaw…there’s hype there. But I wouldn’t discount the Braves. Matt Kemp’s out for the Postseason, and that’ll be a tough bat to replace.

CARDINALS VS. PIRATES

I got the chance to see World Series Game 1 a couple years back when they were playing the Rangers in St. Louis, and the fans there are pretty crazy, they are very passionate. I do think Pittsburgh, they’ve got a little fire under them, this being the first time they’ve been there in forever.

It was funny, many would call it a hockey town. And the chants they were doing in the Wild Card Game with Johnny Cueto, the Reds pitcher, those were hockey chants. You could tell they were really getting under his skin. The Cardinals have home field and dominated Game 1 behind Adam Wainwright, but we’ll see if the Pirates can get that edge to them. It won’t be a boring series, that’s for sure.

NL PENNANT WINNER

I’m rooting for the Braves. Baseball is a heartfelt game. It’s a game where the heart plays into it. I’ll pick the Braves with that. They may be the underdogs, which I still hesitate to say. I think they’ve got it in them.

RED SOX VS. RAYS

I see the Sox taking this one. I think the Rays are great. I got a chance to see them in Tampa Bay and they did well. They’ve got good pitching with David Price…Alex Cobb threw a great game at Cleveland. ..and they’ve got Chris Archer, a young guy who’s really great and he’s from my hometown. So they should be good. But I just think the Sox have it in them this year. They’ve got that spark. You kind of see a little magic like you kind of saw in ’04 with the team. I don’t know if that’s just me, but I think they’ve got it in them this year.

They’ve got the pitching, they’ve got an out-of-nowhere who has just been filthy this year. He’s a man. And Big Papi’s swinging the stick, Shane Victorino’s been a huge spark, especially with Jacoby Ellsbury being out for that stretch. We’ve got the guys.

I’ve been asked if I might grow a beard since I’m rooting for the Sox. It might take me a while. That Duck Dynasty type? Jonny Gomes’ beard — that’s what it is. As a matter of fact, I think I saw Jase tweet that it’s hard not to pull for the Red Sox when they’ve got those beards going on. I love it. It’s kind of that same feeling. You had guys like Kevin Millar and the ’04 team like a family. This team with their beards, it’s just a good team, like that one.

ATHLETICS VS. TIGERS

Moneyball system works again. I think I’ve got the A’s. I know the Tigers got to the World Series last year and they won the American League Central again, but Oakland has home-field advantage in this AL Division Series. Justin Verlander, he hasn’t been as hot this year as he has in years past. I just think Oakland has it. I’m not as familiar with either team, but when you hear about the A’s, those are the kinds of teams that will surprise you.

AL PENNANT WINNER

I think Boston is going to the Series this year, I really do. The ALCS always worried me when we played the Yankees. Even though we finally won in ’04, you think about that ’03 ALCS and what could happen. Whoever we play in the ALCS, I think it’ll be a big test.

Another big story recently was Robinson Cano asking for over $300 million from the Yankees, so I’ll add my two cents on that one. If anybody’s going to get that number, I’m glad to see it would be a guy like Cano. As a Red Sox fan, there are obviously guys you hate on the Yankees team. I was never a big A-Rod fan, especially after all that mess he’s been in. I just don’t like it at all. But you’ve got guys like Robinson and Derek Jeter. You have to respect them. Mariano Rivera. You don’t have to root for them, but you have to respect them.

It’s time to talk about Baseball

Welcome to my new baseball blog! I think blogging will be just a cooler way, a more detailed way, of letting fans know what I’m up to — letting them know my thoughts, my opinions on things, different things like that. Twitter is cool for just little snippets, Facebook is little snippets. But this is a way for fans to really get to know me, and get to know what I’m up to on the road, whether it’s ballparks, or concerts or whatever. It should be a cool thing. They’ll see a different side of me, too. They see the music side of me all the time on the stage. Now they’ll kind of get to know my baseball side.

2011 World Series Game 1

2011 World Series Game 1 in St. Louis

When I was growing up, I had two loves in life, and that was music and baseball. My Dad kind of fostered my love for baseball. He played in college at a small community college in North Carolina. He kind of raised me with a ball in my hand pitching. I grew up on the mound ever since, all the way through my senior year in high school. It taught me a lot. You learned your life lessons out there. I had a ball out there. Playing with the guys, throwing it around. I looked forward to practice — that’s how much I love it. A lot of people, they’re happy when practice gets canceled. I looked forward to going to practice and game days. I just had an extreme love for the sport from a young age.

I was more of your finesse pitcher. I wasn’t a flamethrower. I topped out around 80 miles per hour. But I had a pretty mean slider and a pretty mean curveball that would keep you off balance. I relied pretty heavily on them, too. That was me. You would have thought otherwise since I took a year off my whole junior year, but my senior year was my best year of pitching in my life growing up. I still throw it around a little bit. I get out there with the boys, and we go out to intramural fields at North Carolina State and throw it around some. But between touring and school, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for baseball in the middle, except for watching it, of course.

My junior year I was out in LA for the show. It would have been my first year on varsity. I pitched the varsity summer ball league before I went out to LA, and I threw the game of my life before I went to LA. So I guess this was God’s way of saying goodbye to baseball — “He gave me a good gift and now I’m done.” But luckily I got to go back my senior year.

Being out there in Hollywood, it was tough missing the season and stuff. I remember there was one day in particular. Me and my Dad, we hadn’t played in a while. He had to stay in North Carolina to work, and I was just like, “Hey when you come out to LA this week for the show, bring the gloves and let’s throw it around.” We were in a cement parking lot out back from Interscope Studios where we were recording our songs. He and I were just throwing it around, trying not to hit cars. All of a sudden I see this car pull up. I thought, “Well, who in the world is just parked right in the middle of our game, while we are throwing?” And he got out, and my Dad and I looked at each other and it was The Boss. Bruce Springsteen walked out. We were throwing, and he’s just parking right there, and he goes and picks up Jimmy Iovene and they drive off. We’re like, “Well, that’s a pretty cool throwing experience.” Getting to see Bruce Springsteen in the middle of a throwing session. I don’t even know if he saw me. He was on a mission. For me, it was an ohmygod moment.

I’m a Media Communication major at State, and the whole school-and-tour schedule is working great. We actually kind of got this model from Brad Paisley. We were on the road with him all last year, and we kept the same schedule. Monday through Wednesday we were home, and Thursday through Sunday we toured. We figured if we were going to do a headlining tour, we might as well keep that same model of touring instead of just sitting on my butt at home when I’m in college. So I’m at NC State Monday to Wednesday, go to all the games, football, baseball and basketball, as long as they fall in between those days, and then we hit the road Thursday through Sunday.

The great thing about the tour bus, they have every channel you need to watch games. So MLB Network and all the games are always on. There’s no shortage of baseball. Being away from the game, it’s nice to be able to watch it. I try to stay around the game as much as I can. I go to all the NC State baseball games. They went to Omaha this year, and they have potentially the No. 1 Draft pick in 2014 in Carlos Rodon, a filthy left-hander. I’ve gotten to know him and toss around with him some. I try to still go back to high school games some. I don’t get the chance to go there a lot being in college now, but if I can make a game, I head back out there. So I try and keep myself around the game.

Do I wish I could walk-on the team? In a perfect world, yes. But honestly, their coach, Elliott Avent, we were talking one time as I’ve gotten to know him. He said, “Scotty, you’ve got a D-1 slider, but a D-5 fastball.” I said, “I know.” I wasn’t a flamethrower but I had a pretty sick slider.

The ballpark tour has been great, and you can see photos on my site and join Team Scotty for a chance to win a cabin on the Duck Commander Cruise. We initially just started this trying to help kids, started it out in Nashville to help the Nashville RBI program. That’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, a Major League Baseball community initiative that has made a big difference in helping underserved kids and making baseball available to more people. For me, it just kind of springboarded into a bigger thing with MLB, and doing the park tour. Getting to go out there, seeing all the parks for me was cool, seeing how parks are different. But helping out kids was the main part. Getting to meet them, hearing their stories, hearing how some went to the RBI World Series in Chicago, it was cool, just getting to help out.

Here are some of the videos from the ballpark tour:

The Braves game was pretty awesome. When I got to meet the kids on the field, and then after that, after the check presentation, they let me do a little postgame concert kind of thing. It was like I legitimately got to put two of my loves together, my loves for baseball and music, I got to do them both in one day.

So welcome again to my blog and please pass the word around and leave comments here whenever you want!