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Orioles players past and present speak at Hagerstown banquet

Luke Scott and Scott McGregor share love of Christ, baseball stories

Luke Scott and Scott McGregor share love of Christ, baseball stories

June 17, 2008|By ANDREW MASON

HAGERSTOWN -- Baltimore Orioles outfielder Luke Scott points skyward every time he gets a hit.

No wonder things are looking up in Baltimore this season.

Scott, a born-again Christian in his first year with the upstart Orioles, is batting .281 and tied for the team lead in home runs with 11.

He spent his team's night off Monday in Hagerstown, joining former Orioles pitching great Scott McGregor as the featured speakers at the Hagerstown Area Church Softball League's annual banquet at Tri-State Fellowship.

McGregor, an ordained Pentecostal minister who has spoken at the banquet several times, didn't have to twist Scott's arm to accompany him.

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"We're supposed to give testimony and glory to God whenever we have the opportunity," Scott said in an interview shortly before Monday's program began. "One day when I go to meet God, he's going to ask me what I did with what he gave me on Earth. 'Did you just use it for yourself or did you share it?'"

Scott and McGregor shared their love for Christ as well as some baseball stories with the audience Monday.

"When I point to the sky, I remember that God is our heavenly father," Scott said. "And just like any father, he wants to have a close relationship with his children and be involved in our lives.

"God has given me the gift of playing baseball, and I'm sure he wants to enjoy that with me. ... When I get a hit or hit a homer, I'm like, 'Hey, man, I enjoyed it. Thank you, Lord. I'm here because of you. Without you, this wouldn't be possible.'"

McGregor said he became a born-again Christian on June 15, 1979, during a season in which the Orioles lost the World Series to Pittsburgh in seven games.

"I was 0-3 when I gave my heart to Jesus that year," McGregor said. "I ended up 13-6 and pitched the final game of the World Series. We lost that game, the seventh game. I pitched eight innings, gave up that (decisive home run to the Pirates' Willie Stargell) and I found out that day how to take care of the media if you really don't want to talk to them.

"Just tell them about Jesus.

"They said, 'Doesn't this ruin your life, your career?' And I'm like, 'Are you kidding me? I got saved in June.' ... They looked at me like, 'You got to be kidding me.' They walked away and left me alone."

The Orioles haven't had a winning season since 1997 and were predicted by many to be the worst team in baseball this season. But right now they are 34-34, and they've come from behind in 19 of those 34 wins.

McGregor described it as the same kind of "Orioles Magic" used by the Baltimore teams in 1979 and 1983 - the Orioles' last two World Series seasons.

"The present Orioles are grabbing a hold of it and doing it," said McGregor, who was the winning pitcher in the last game of the 1983 Series. "There's no deficit that's too big for them to come back. They have the same faces we had."

Scott, in his fourth season in the big leagues, came to the Orioles from the Houston Astros in the offseason as part of the Miguel Tejada trade. He said his time in Baltimore has been much better than his days in Houston, where he didn't get the playing time he felt he deserved.

"There was no communication, I never knew where I stood, people didn't respect what I believed in," Scott said. "Now I'm here, where I have a manager who's a Christian and coaches who are Christian people who are running the team using Godly principles - honor, respect, integrity, character, things that the Bible talks about.

"I feel right at home here."

The Orioles open a three-game interleague series with the Astros tonight in Baltimore.

"I'm looking forward to it," Scott said.

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