Thursday, January 12, 2012

Adios Luke

Yesterday, free agent DH/LF Luke Scott signed a one year deal, with an option for 2013, with the Tampa Bay Rays.

After a disappointing 2011 that included season-ending shoulder surgery in July, the Orioles declined to offer him salary arbitration. I was on board with that decision since the arbitration process would've netted him a raise from $6.4 million he made in 2011. And I don't think Luke's health and track record should have earned him something in the $8 million range in 2012. 

From what I understood, it seemed like the Orioles and Luke were going try to work out a deal to bring him back to Baltimore at a reduced salary, but it seems like those talks never got very far. 

I was slightly disappointed to hear that Luke had signed with another team. When Luke was good, he was really good, as proven by his 2010 MVO (Most Valuable Oriole) season. And his relationship with Felix Pie was entertaining to watch over the past three seasons. 

LUUUUKE had also been one of the best, most consistent signers on the Orioles over the past four years, as evidenced by this glut of Luke autographs I obtained over his time in Baltimore. It actually got to the point where I no longer pursued his autograph, since I didn't want to get in the way of other fans getting something signed. It is very rare for me to turn down an autograph, so this is really a testament to his signing regularity. 

However, Luke was a controversial figure at times and gave a few inflammatory interviews to national news sites during his time in Baltimore. He was a very opinionated guy, especially regarding gun rights and religion, and wasn't afraid to share his beliefs with anyone that would listen.

Here is Luke telling the Topps photographer about his beliefs...

Luke certainly had his ups and downs in Baltimore, but since I'm an autograph collector, one of the chief ways I judge a player is how often he signs for the fans. And I don't honestly think that I saw anyone sign more than Luke over the past four seasons. Heck, I'm still waiting to see Markakis voluntarily sign once at Camden Yards.

Good luck in Tampa, Luke. I know that your bilingual skills will serve you well in Florida. I'd just prefer you be on one of your cold streaks the 18 times you play the O's.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

At Fanfest in 2010 they had booths set up where you could pay $5 to have your photograph taken with a player. As I walked past, I noticed there were only about 20 people in line for Luke, so I jumped in there and paid my five bucks to meet him. Since he's such a tough guy, I asked him if we could do "angry faces" instead of smiling and he agreed, after considering the idea for a couple of seconds. It turned out the be an awesome photo, and I've got it on display in my basement bar today.

Hopefully he'll be welcomed back to the Yard with a hail of LUUUUUUKE when the Rays are here in May.