Itching for the Big Leagues

YOUR Boise Hawks have had a great season here with the Cubs organization but what lies ahead is what may be on the minds of fans. Many of the boys have already started to tweet pictures of their bags packed and ready as well as talking about getting home. Where will YOUR Boise Hawks be this fall and winter or even next year? I plan to keep in touch and let you all know what lies ahead for YOUR Boise Hawks but for now I want to see what these guys are waiting for most at home.

For Tayler Scott, from South Africa, it is the food. He has been lucky enough to have his family here to support him this season but he misses the food in South Africa. “Won’t be home until December, but looking forward to the food and I’ll probably go eat first thing!” His go to food here is chicken but at home he enjoys the seafood most.

Eddie Orozco, from California, is all about family, family first all of the time. “Looking forward to seeing all of my loved ones number one. My bed. California. First thing I’m going to do off the plane is go to In n Out on my way home to see everyone. No fall ball for me just gotta show up to spring training.” Orozco loves baseball and what he does on and off of the field, but missing his family and missing out on his niece growing up is the hard part.

Rock Shoulders, from Florida, also misses family time. “I am looking forward to seeing my family the most so the first thing I’m going to do is take my dad and mom out to dinner.” He has also planned a few beach trips and possibly a cruise with his close friends.

Trey Martin, from Georgia, can’t wait to get back to family and food. “Eating Zaxby’s, Atlanta’s Best Wings. Seeing family and friends. The first thing is to beat my little brother in FIFA and I will be in the instructional Arizona League this fall.”

Fall ball or no fall ball these guys will be back whether it is here in Boise or with another team. I will keep you all updated from my blog throughout the offseason if you would like updates visit highheelsandhighlights.wordpress.com.

Thank you all for a great season and I look forward to keeping in touch!

-Courtney

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YOUR 2012 BOISE HAWK AWARD WINNERS

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At Saturday night’s game we announced the MVP, Cy Young and Community Players of the Year. We ended up having 2 MVP’s, Daniel Vogelbach and Stephen Bruno, Cy Young, Tayler Scott, and 2 Community Players of the Year, Michael Heesch and Eddie Orozco.

Bruno and Vogelbach were fortunate enough to have their father’s here to share in the moment receiving their awards and were both happy to accept them. Bruno’s father, Steve Bruno, said that he feels very privileged for the opportunity that the Cubs have given his son.

Scott had one of the best season’s anyone could ask for and was also lucky to have his parents here to see him receive his award. He is a young player from South Africa who moved to the states, alone, when he was just 16 years old. His mother and father have been here to support him throughout most of the season. “It felt great winning it my first year with the Cubs. Couldn’t ask for a better season and I’m grateful and excited to have won the Cy Young this year.”

Elizabeth Griffin and I had the opportunity to award a Community Player of the Year award but we weren’t able to pick just one. We had 2 guys who were always willing to go on appearances, offered to do autographs and read for the KeyBank Reading Tree events. Not only were they willing to make the appearance but they did it with smiles on their face and positive attitudes. It was always apparent that they wanted to be working with the children and talking with fans! Michael Heesch and Eddie Orozco stole the hearts of many, especially one little boy, Phoenix, who I liked to call their “biggest fan” at the KeyBank Reading Tree events.

“It’s an honor to receive an award for the off the field aspect of this game because we are in a position, as players, to go out and positively influence the lives of others as well as give back to the community that is supporting us. This award shows the positive influence of my family and UCR on my life to go out and give back to the others and the community and it’s something that I really enjoy to do.” Orozco has a 7 ½ month niece at home he is anxious to get back to as well as his mother, brother, 2 sisters, a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law.

Tonight is the start of the best-of-three Northwest League East Divisional Series. We take on the Yakima Bears in hopes of winning the first series and moving forward to the final championship!

“Bayete”

I sat down for an interview with Tayler Scott, a raw and rare phenomenon from South Africa who started out kicking soccer balls and playing rugby. Baseball is not the typical sport for kids growing up in South Africa, and there has never been a South African to make it to the major leagues, so what is Tayler Scott doing here?

When the players first arrived I had them fill out a short questionnaire just to get a grip on who they are behind the ball and glove. On Scott’s sheet I noticed the word “bayete,” I wondered where exactly the word came from and what it meant. Scott said that one of his family’s close friends in South Africa married a traditional African woman and that he loves ”the tribe she is from. The Zulu tribe. And so he tells me stories of what the warriors did during war and before war. And so the chief before would shout ungakunani. Which means how strong are you. And the warriors would reply bayete. Which means bring on the enemy.” Scott then proceeded to tell me that his father has “ungakunani” tattooed on his arm, while Scott has “bayete” tattooed on his, just another reminder that they are always under the same moon.

Scott got started in baseball when he was about 10 years old. His dad was reading a local paper and came across an ad for baseball. Scott wasn’t looking for a career, just something to keep him busy and out of trouble between his other sport seasons. It didn’t take long for Scott to realize how special the sport was to him. “When I was about 13 or 14, my dad saw that I was better than the kids my age. And by that time I really liked baseball and my dad said if you want to play baseball you have to go to America. So when I was 16 we found a high school in Arizona”

At a young age Scott was on his own. His parents were not able to move along with him and could only stay for a couple months at a time. “They would commute between South Africa and Arizona. When my mom was here my dad would be in South Africa then they would switch off every couple months” His parents are currently in South Africa.

While Scott says the transition was different, he also says that he is used to it now. He is sure it was more difficult on them being apart from each other and as far as he goes, they still visit every couple of months. “In the off season I go home. So it’s not too long that I don’t see them.”

Although Scott misses his home in South Africa, he says that being here is what motivates him to do well. He wants to be the first South African to make it to the major leagues. A big motivation comes from knowing what his parents sacrificed for him to be where he is today and also “knowing that baseball keeps me in America. America is where I want to be.”

I asked Scott what the biggest difference was as far as baseball in South Africa and baseball in America was when he first arrived here and as we all might assume, there are a lot of differences, baseball is a small thing in South Africa, it is not, shall I say, “America’s (South Africa’s) Sport.” In South Africa baseball is more of “a social sport, something fun to do every Sunday. The biggest differences were the amount of baseball played here, the amount of kids that play here, and the skill level, and coaching.” Not exactly the 7 month, 162 game seasons we look forward to here in America.

Scott had much of the same reaction when asked about comparing pro ball to high school ball. “There is no comparison.” Scott didn’t get the jump from high school to college; he was drafted out of high school and is now in his second season with the Cubs. Scott says “Pro ball is exactly how I expected it. The speed of the game increases. The skill level. Every player here was one of the best players on their team in high school or college. Now everyone is kind of the same skill wise. You can’t make mistakes like you did in high school because these hitters will take advantage of it. It’s just so much more exciting.”

With Scott coming from South Africa I wondered if there were stereotypes he had to overcome. I wondered if people doubted Scott for being from an area not known for the sport. Scott said “there will always be people that have their doubts because I haven’t really been playing baseball for that long and because no South African has ever made it to the major leagues. But a lot of people have high hope and are wishing me the best to become the first.” So for scouts, coaches and critics alike, “Bayete,” bring on the enemy.