One of my favorite players in the game, Marco Scutaro, had what could be career ending back surgery on Friday. He may end his career as a San Francisco Giant but he, unlike Barry Zito or Tim Hudson, will always have a special place in my heart.
The news of his likely career-ending back surgery made me want take a look back on his career, do somewhat of a tribute if you will.
Marco Scutaro is one of my all-time favorite players EVER. No other player who has gone to the Giants has ever kept my full support.
However, Scutaro’s path to the Giants and to being named MVP of the 2012 National League Championship Series was not an easy one.
Signed as an amateur free agent by the Cleveland Indians in 1994, Scutaro was then traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in a seven-player in 2000, still having never made it to the show.
Scutaro was selected off of waivers by the New York Mets in 2002 where he made his major league debut at age 26. Over the course of two seasons, Scutaro played in a total of 75 big league games. He still held “rookie status.”
It was October 2003 when I was first introduced to the unknown infielder, as he had been placed on waivers yet again, when was picked up by the Oakland Athletics.
In his first season getting actual playing time, he played in 137 games in 2004, Scutaro hit .273 with seven home runs and 43 RBI. Those numbers remained consistent during his time in Oakland and over the course of his four-year tenure with the A’s, Scutaro hit .262 with 28 home runs and 162 RBI.
Those numbers are quite decent for a guy who was already 28 and who was almost 32 when he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2007. He was so much more than just his numbers, however, and this was long before his “famous” days of being a clutch player for San Francisco.
Scutaro was clutch, always, PERIOD.
Scutaro was once just as clutch a member of the Oakland Athletics as he was as a Giant. Even moreso, actually.
He hit a 3-run walk-off home run off of the great Mariano Rivera in April 2007 at the Oakland Coliseum. He was one of just five players to accomplish that feat off of the greatest closer the game’s ever seen. Yes, he was THAT clutch.
He was the heart of the team back then, at least to the Oakland fans who would religiously chant “Marco, SCUTARO!” as if playing Marco Polo in the swimming pool (yes, that chant originated in Oakland, I was there).
Unfortunately, like many players, he was not treated well by the Athletics. Scutaro was the utility man. He mainly played in place of the oft-injured and now out of baseball Bobby Crosby.
Crosby had been Rookie of the Year and was a supposed superstar in the making, so no matter how clutch Scutaro was (which was almost everytime he took the field,) as soon as Crosby had recovered from his most recent injury Crosby would be back in the A’s lineup whether he deserved the spot or not.
Crosby’s average during his seven seasons in Oakland? .238 Still the four years they played together Crosby always got preference. When Scutaro was traded to the Blue Jays I was almost happy because he wouldn’t have to keep being put second time and time again.
Scutaro left the Blue Jays via free agency in 2009, signing with the Boston Red Sox. In January of 2012 he was traded to the Colorado Rockies. I remember that spring training vividly.
All the years he had been gone from Oakland, the Oakland fans didn’t get to see him play often and even when he returned as a member of the Red Sox or the Blue Jays the chant lived on but only in Oakland.
That spring training in 2012 he was new to the Rockies and many of us A’s fans went to a couple of the Rockies’ spring training games. Scutaro was finally back at spring training in Arizona as opposed to Florida. We were doing our chant as always and the Rockies’ fans didn’t quite understand what was going on, so we taught it to them.
It wasn’t exactly useful in Colorado as Scutaro was traded mid-season to the team I despise most, San Francisco.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m very happy for Marco and all the success he had in San Francisco. He was able to make a name for himself, become the 2012 NLCS MVP and win a World Championship ring.
It was the one place, however, where the Oakland fans’ chant was heard. It’s nothing against the team or their true fans – it was all those people who call themselves “Bay Area fans.”
My personal opinion on these types of fans is that they can just jump ship from team to team depending upon who is winning which makes them not really a fan of either team. That, however, is a discussion for another day.
Today, with this post, I honor the CLUTCH career of “Marco SCUTARO” who is THE most clutch player I’ve ever seen play the game as well as one of the more modest and friendly players aeound.
Now that he has undergone this back surgery, a fusion procedure performed by Dr. Michael Wang in Miami on Friday to alleviate the troublesome area at level L-2/L-3 of his spine, it looks as though the 39-year-old’s playing days are likely over.
A comeback has not been ruled out according to Giants’ GM Brian Sabean but it is unlikely given Scutaro’s age and the severity of the injury.
“This is the type of thing, it’s four-to-six months before we can know if baseball is possible,” Sabean said. “I don’t want to speak for the doctor or the procedure but you’d have to aee how he responds to the surgery and that’s months away.”
So basically, unless there is a miracle, Marco Scutaro will be anouncing his retirement in the near future. He’ll end his career a .277 hitter with 77 home runs, 509 RBIs with 269 doubles and 21 triples.
I wish him all the best and am grateful for the joy he brought to the fans during his four years in Oakland.