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Weighty moment: Scales smacks MLB hit after 11 years in minors

Big League Stew

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With a depleted Cubs lineup being outdueled 6-2 by Tim Lincecum(notes) and the Giants, it ended up that Tuesday wasn't exactly the best of days to play hooky down at the Friendly Confines.

Still, the afternoon excursion to Wrigley Field proved completely worth it, if only to see 31-year-old Cubs rookie Bobby Scales(notes) make his Major League debut after 11 seasons of riding buses in the minors.

And when Scales lined a fifth-inning pitch off Lincecum — the NL's reigning Cy Young winner — down the left field line for his first major league hit (video) after 3,303 at-bats for eight different minor league teams over four different organizations?

Well, it was just an honor to be able to stand with the rest of the crowd and applaud a man who helps define perseverance, faith and hard work and was later called a "kid" by manager Lou Piniella.

As a modern-day Crash Davis, Scales works as a substitute teacher at his old high school in Georgia to help make ends meet during the offseason. He's held other odd jobs, like working in a jewelry store, and said after Tuesday's game that it's all been worth it.

"No matter what happens the rest of the way, they can't take (the hit) away from me," Scales told reporters after going 1-for-4 and also turning in a great defensive play at second base. "I earned it and I got it, and I am just fortunate to have it."

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But that doesn't mean that Scales didn't go through a lot of self doubt during those 11 years. Here's what he told our old pal Nick Friedell in a good interview over on ESPN Chicago:

"I'm not going to sit here and lie to you. There's no question you have doubts. You do different things, you play different places, and you're like, 'Man, am I ever gonna make it? Am I gonna make it? Is somebody gonna give me a shot?" Yeah, you doubt it, but at the end of the day, it goes back to, 'Do you really believe?' If you really believe then you put those doubts in the back of your mind and you just keep grinding."

Scales' story is already making lots of headlines across the country (especially in Iowa, where he was playing for the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate) and even the Giants recognized the significance of the moment. As soon as the Scales' first-hit ball came back into the infield, it was thrown toward the Cubs dugout for safe-keeping — and then immediately returned by a well-intentioned fan when it inadvertently sailed into the crowd.

Of course, the reality of baseball means that Scales moment in the spotlight could be short lived. The Cubs will need a starter on their roster on Friday to replaced the injured Carlos Zambrano(notes) and it could well be Scales who is sent back down to Iowa.

And if that happens?

"It is what it is, man," Scales told Friedell. "I can't worry about that. I'm playing today — and that's all you can worry about. I can't control anything else."

But no matter how long he sticks with the big league club, I'm glad I was there to see Scales' moment. It's why players keep playing the game — and it's why we keep watching it.

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