Scotty James Brings Joy To Tarp Skunks Games
Randy Anderson was behind the wheel of his truck for the Memorial Day parade in Jamestown last month. In the bed of the pickup was Whiffy, the Jamestown Tarp Skunks’ mascot. Walking behind the vehicle were the players on the city’s entry in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.
Riding shotgun was Scotty James.
In terms of parade-route response, there was no doubt who was the most popular.
“Whiffy got a lot of cheers, the players got a lot of polite applause, but nobody, NOBODY, got more recognition than Scotty James,” said Anderson, the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame president and board member of Jamestown Community Baseball LLC. “It was like riding with Queen Elizabeth. Scotty’s got his hand out the window (waving at the people lining the streets) and somebody would call his name and he’d say, ‘What’s up?’
“We got to the end of the parade and the players (asked), ‘Does everybody in this town know Scotty?'”
The answer to that is?
The Tarp Skunks suffered a 6-5 loss to Elmira on Saturday night, but as the players quietly walked across the concourse to the clubhouse after the game, pitching coach Barry Powell couldn’t help but smile.
Scotty, who serves as the team’s clubhouse attendant.
Powell, who has been in baseball for more than four decades, recalled the same parade that Anderson mentioned above.
“Every 20 feet, it was ‘Scotty, Scotty,'” said Powell, his grin growing wider by the second. “He could be out there with the Pope and somebody would say, ‘Hey, I know that’s Scotty, but who’s the other guy?'”
Anderson said the reason that Scotty is so beloved comes down to a very simple personality trait.
“He’s got such a kind heart and everybody knows he’s got a kind heart,” said Anderson, a retired elementary teacher in the Jamestown Public School System. “He never does anything because it’s ‘good for Scotty.” He’s concerned about other people all the time. (He’s always asking), “‘How can I help? How can I make this team better? What can I do? That’s Scotty. That’s a credit to him and the upbringing he received.”
To further illustrate his point, Anderson pointed to the between-inning mascot race Saturday night that included Whiffy (who was dressed as a skunk, of course), and Scotty and the Elmira ball boy (who were dressed as hot dogs). The trio took off from the left field fence and ran, in foul territory, to an area parallel to the far end of the third-base dugout.
The order of finish was:
The Tarp Skunks players could have cared less that their beloved “clubbie” finished third, though. As Scotty neared the dugout, they poured onto the field to “wave” him home.
“That’s how much we care about him,” said catcher Johnny Kampes, who is in his second season with the Tarp Skunks. “We have as much fun as he does when he’s doing stuff like that. We root for him and he roots for us, and he’s got our back every day.
“He does way more for us than probably anything we could pay him.”
Jamestown manager Jordan Basile has known Scotty for more than 20 years, dating back to when the former played for the Jamestown Travelers, a team for 13-year-olds coached by the late George Barone.
“I can’t say enough about him,” Basile said. “He’s the first guy in the clubhouse every day, taking care of the locker room, bringing water out. And then there are days when Coach Powell and I aren’t on our game and Scotty will pick up the slack for us and get the guys motivated when they aren’t as motivated. Scotty does a little bit of everything. I can’t thank him enough for what he does.”
And then there are times when Scotty does something, well, “just because.”
Anderson saw it first-hand on Saturday after the mascot race was completed.
“Scotty went around to the merchandise store, bought a miniature tarp skunk and went back and gave it to the kid from Elmira,” Anderson said. “I watched it happen. Scotty is a good sport on top of (everything else).”
He also likes to make a “joyful noise,” now and again with a little help from his Tarp Skunks friends.
In the middle of the seventh inning Saturday night, Scotty grabbed a microphone, stood not far from the Tarp Skunks’ dugout and, with the help of several players, sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
“Scotty’s not going to win ‘America’s Got Talent,'” Anderson said, “but nobody sings with more gusto.”
Nobody who knows Scotty is surprised.
“You have to have fun in baseball,” Scotty said between his various postgame jobs Saturday night. “I love Coach Powell and Coach Basile.”
The feeling is obviously mutual.