Six years into his professional career, Scot Drucker knows all about second chances and the fourth estate. A 28-year-old right-hander who spent the season with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens, Drucker sports a record of 40-22, 4.45 in 196 appearances since being drafted out of the University of Tennessee. He touched on his career, and the media, earlier this summer.
On getting a second chance: “[Detroit] is my second organization. I was drafted in ‘04 by the Oakland A’s, had surgery in ‘07, and then got released and picked up by the Tigers, in ‘08. When that happens, you wonder about your future. Age is a big factor in this game and you also don’t know how you’re going to come back from an injury.
“Nowadays it’s really hard to get a job, just like how in the real world it’s hard to get a job. In baseball, it has definitely gotten tough. In independent ball leagues you get guys like Keith Foulke and Armando Benitez, who were pretty good players in the big leagues, looking for jobs, so it was really hard figuring out what I wanted to do. I went through the whole surgery rehab and felt that I was strong enough to come back and play, so that‘s what I did.”
On the media: “Guys keep up with what is written. There are always copies of Baseball America around the clubhouse. Some guys become mental midgets, which kind of hurts them, but we do keep up with it. We like to see how friends and colleagues are doing, and it’s also good to see some good publicity about you. Of course, you want to try to avoid the bad pub, but it’s your performance on the field that usually affects that, so you just have to get better on the field if that happens.
“There isn’t really all that much media in minor league clubhouses, but we do get some coverage in Toledo. We have a few jokesters on the team too, who ask [reporters] for credentials to make sure they’re in the right place. But usually we have a pretty good camaraderie with the media. As long as they respect our job, we respect their job and are more than happy to do interviews. The online part of it has helped the game, too. It helps to showcase a lot of players, at least compared to when I was growing up.”
On dealing with less-than-flattering commentary: “Everybody is different the way they take things like that. Maybe the wording is a little off, like when we say a quote and it comes out a little differently in the paper, but you take it with a grain of salt. It’s said that any publicity is good publicity, but it’s still tough to read sometimes. You just have to brush it off and move on. Either you don’t read it or you read it and get better."
On what should be written about his recent performances: “Oh gosh. It would say that the month of June, into mid-July, was atrocious and how does this guy still have a job? It could also say that he kept grinding away at it and threw a good game yesterday, and he just needs to get back on a good scoreless streak. But as long as they’re fair with what they write, I’m fine with it. They have a job to do, just like I do.”