Cup of coffee
After 1,013 games, 3,303 at-bats, 942 hits, and stops in Ft. Wayne, Lake Elsinore, Portland, Mobile, Scranton, Pawtucket and Des Moines, Bobby Scales is finally in the big leagues.
Scales, 31, was called up Monday to take Carlos Zambrano’s spot on the Cubs’ 25-man roster after the pitcher was placed on the 15-day disabled list. The Cubs don’t need a starter until Friday, and Randy Wells was expected to be called up from Triple-A Iowa at that time.
Scales’ days in the big leagues may be limited. He’s going to make the most of it.
“I’m happy he’s here for a couple reasons,” Lou Piniella said. “The biggest is because this man has endured for a long, long time in the Minor Leagues. He’s getting an opportunity here after 10, 11 years. It’s a really, really nice story. He’s earned it. He came to camp and worked hard. He contributed.”
Scales was batting .303 at Iowa with three homers and 10 RBIs in 21 games. He can play second, short, third, wherever the Cubs need him.
“He’s the kind of guy you root for,” Cubs player development director Oneri Fleita said. “He’s paid his dues, he’s rode the buses, he’s made all the 4 o’clock wake up calls in the [Pacific Coast League] and grinded it out and never said never. He’s a great example to all the kids out there. When you get an opportunity, make somebody rip your jersey off before you quit.”
Why did he stay with it this long?
“A lot of different things,” Scales said. “From the baseball side of it, just a belief I could play. It may sound hokey but I knew in the depths of my soul that I could play this game. I felt I could help a big league team win games in whatever capacity that a manager saw fit to use me. I knew that. That’s part of it and the support I got from my family. My wife, my mom and dad have been unbelievable.
“There’s a lot of people doing a lot worse than Minor League baseball players,” he said. “It’s tough sometimes to make ends meet. It’s harder on your family because you’re gone a lot, and there’s not money to fly home on off days. I just had the belief I could play here.”
— Carrie Muskat