Baltimore Orioles slugger Luke Scott(notes) stopped by baseball's winter meetings Tuesday and, after some harmless chatter about his team's offseason dealings, stated with conviction that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
Oh, yes, he did. Scott's opinion about the president's birthplace — while certainly not unique — was a stunning climax to a friendly and frank 20-minute Answer Man session that spanned his enthusiasm for baseball, hunting, firearms, personal responsibility and smaller government.
"[Obama] was not born here," Scott asserted to Answer Man in the session's last segment. "That's my belief. I was born here. If someone accuses me of not being born here, I can go — within 10 minutes — to my filing cabinet and I can pick up my real birth certificate and I can go, 'See? Look! Here it is. Here it is.' The man has dodged everything. He dodges questions, he doesn't answer anything."
[Related: Basketball champ insults Obama's game]
Scott's controversial comments are gaining steam in the online world (read the full text of them here), his Wikipedia page has already been updated with the comments and teammate Adam Jones(notes) has Tweeted a preemptive show of support ("Luke Scott Luke Scott Luke Scott Luke Scott you still my boy"). The Orioles have also released a statement distancing themselves from Scott's remarks.
Scott used to come to the ballpark packing heat. Now sporting an offseason beard but no noticeable firearm, Scott came out guns blazing, figuratively, in Orlando.
* * *
David Brown: So, whatcha' doin' here?
Luke Scott: I live about an hour away and I had come down here to meet my agent and shoot the breeze after he's done here. Then we'll go have some dinner and relax.
DB: What do you think about what's going on with the Orioles' moves and potential moves?
LS: I haven't paid any attention to baseball until recently. I've been getting text messages and seeing what's going on and it looks good. I mean, it looks really good. It looks like the Orioles are really trying to make moves to compete in this division — which is essential.
LS: I played against him when I was in the National League. You just read his numbers and he's a high strikeout guy, but I really don't care about strikeouts if a guy is going to hit 30-45 home runs and provide some protection.
DB: Is this a typical offseason beard for you?
LS: Yep. Whenever I go into cold weather, I grow my beard out because it helps keep my face warm. I just got back from Michigan. I went hunting and killed some nice deer up there and brought the meat back home.
DB: What did you get?
(Scott reaches into an envelope.)
LS: Actually, I brought pictures. ... A 238-inch, non-typical; a 208-inch typical.
(Manager Buck Showalter interjects.)
Buck: You shot what? Let's see. ... That's beautiful.
LS: [Motions to photographs]. Check that out, buddy. We went to the Legends Ranch in Viking, Mich.
DB: Ever meet Ted Nugent?
LS: I'd love to meet Ted Nugent.
Buck: What did you shoot [the deer] with?
LS: Seven Mag. Dusted him with a Seven Mag.
(After saying goodbye, Buck leaves the room.)
DB: So, your expression lighted up upon me mentioning Ted Nugent.
LS: I'm a big fan of Ted Nugent because he's a "keep it real" type of guy. He respects wildlife, he loves to hunt. I look at Ted Nugent and ... he's an American. He has the core beliefs of what it means to be an American in his heart. He lives by those beliefs and those principles. It's the same beliefs that our forefathers, who fought for our country, have. I'd be real interested in meeting him one day.
DB: Well, he's up in Michigan. Do you go there often?
LS: This was my first time at this place. A friend of mine had gone there, years ago, and he set it up for us to go there and do some hunting.
DB: What's the most exotic place that you've ever been hunting?
LS: Hunting? I haven't been to any exotic places hunting. I mean, I've been to Texas. I've been to Pennsylvania, I've been to Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma. I've hunted white tail, wild pigs — things like that — and red stag. I do want to hunt red stag — either in New Zealand or Scotland would be ideal, because that's where they're originally from.
DB: And they still hunt them in Scotland?
LS: I don't know if they do. I really don't. See, I'm Scottish; my heritage, my last name is Scott [laughs]. However, on my shield and family code of arms is the red stag. I actually got a picture of them.
(Back to the envelope!)
LS: I took red stag at a ranch in Pennsylvania. ... This was earlier. This was two days after the season was over. Here he is, red stag. The stag mount is going over my fireplace with an actual claymore — we're getting a claymore sword. We'll put that up there with the battle ax and a shield.
DB: How many times have you seen "Braveheart"?
LS: Many. It's a great movie, one of my all-time favorites.
DB: Do you make your own beef jerky like Ted Nugent?
LS: I have made it. I've made my own deer jerky. It's good and very good for you. Actually, venison is 80 percent leaner than beef. Wild game — especially venison at this place — the only thing they feed them in this place is protein and hay and they have their natural stuff. They have a little corn in the winter to put some fat on them. The quality of meat is night and day.
DB: Are there just too many deer?
LS: Oh, yeah. Deer populations are extremely high. Legally, you're only supposed to take two [deer] in most states. Deer are like rabbits. Each doe is going to produce two fawns a year. There's no natural predators, except for coyotes. Except when you get out West, you'll have wolves and bear. But they're still not going to keep up with the population. And there's so much food — there's cropland everywhere around this country — [and] acorns. They have plenty of food in most places.
Like what happened in Wisconsin, [deer] got overpopulated and disease spread and [snaps fingers] they had to wipe out the whole population. It's good because it provides a lot of food for a lot of people. Not to mention that it's a lot of fun [to hunt].
DB: Is there a movement to allow hunters more deer?
LS: There should be, but in Maryland they do stupid things. They brought in coyotes. Now, what's going to happen is, they don't just eat deer. They eat everything else.
DB: Like family pets?
LS: Yeah. People's pets are going to turn up missing like in California — you remember Jessica Simpson, her dog got snatched up by a coyote.
LS: And they're very wily and they adapt to any type of environment. In most places in this country, if you see a coyote, you're supposed to shoot him. They eat people's pets. They're good to have as part of the natural food chain, but they proliferate. And there's no predators for them. People hunt them, but not like they should.
DB: It's not a game animal.
LS: There's just not much interest. You don't eat 'em. I like to hunt them just hunt them. Take their skin and get pelts made. It's pretty neat.
DB: What's the most powerful gun you've ever used?
LS: The most powerful gun I've ever used? I killed those two deer with a 7 mm Magnum — which is a really nice weapon. It's very powerful. I killed that red stag with a 4570, which is another heavy hitter. I've got a gun to kill elephants — a 458. I got a Weatherby Magnum — which is pretty much an anti-aircraft gun [laughs].
It's an exaggeration, but [the Weatherby] is for shooting big game at long ranges, like when you go to Wyoming or Utah and you have 500, 600-yard shots and you've got to cut wind with a heavier bullet, well, a 7 mag isn't going to do it. You either go to a .338-378 or a 338; Something that's going to work better.
DB: Is there any side of you that sees, politically, the point of people who are into gun control? Or do you worry that if we let [the government] take a little bit, they'll take it all?
LS: First of all, the reason the Second Amendment was put into place was to keep the government from controlling the people. History will tell you everything. Just look at anywhere else in the world. Look at Russia, look at Eastern Europe, look at South America. Gun control means control. It means control for the government and the government starts controlling the people.
I've spent time in Venezuela. I played down there. I've seen what happens with the people down there. People are in the streets throwing rocks and they're getting mowed down with machine guns. It has nothing to do with crime. Crime is actually less in places where people own guns. Washington, D.C., is a case in point. It has the strictest gun laws, but who has the highest crime rate in the country? Washington, D.C.
(Editor's note: D.C. was 16th in violent crime in 2009, according to this.)
LS: The law is made for law-abiding citizens. The guy who you don't have to worry about robbing you, the guy who pays his taxes, the guy who has a job, the guy who's not interested in hurting people. He's not the rapist, he's not the killer. He's the one who's going to follow the law. Now, the law can say you can't have a gun, but the thug, gangster, rapist and criminal — the thief — they're not going to obey the law anyway. It doesn't even apply.
Basically, what you've done is, you've told the man who pays his bills and minds his own business, who's trying to protect his family and provide for his family, if you take away his gun [and] you give him a golf club or a baseball bat, or a knife, and if the criminal has a gun, he's going to win that battle 10 out of 10 times.
The real issue behind these people who are gun grabbers, the truth is — based on fact — the reason why is, they want control. They want control of the people. That's what socialism is and communism.
DB: So how's Obama doing?
LS: Obama ... hmm ... Obama does not represent America. Nor does he represent anything what our forefathers stood for. This country is basically built on an attitude. It's a way of life. It's not because you're born here. It's not that you're supposed to take from those who have and give to those who haven't. That kills a country. It killed Russia.
I have friends of mine who are in the ministry who [work] in churches in Russia. If they can describe [the country] in one [phrase], it's "messed up beyond repair."
That's what communism does. Cuba, Venezuela. People are trying to escape these lands like a plague. What would make a human being swim 90 miles in shark-infested waters on a raft made of tires and planks? To leave their culture, their family, their language, their way of life. Everything they've ever known. What would make someone do that?
You don't see people in America doing that. There's no one here in America swimming the Pacific Ocean — or the Atlantic, or the Caribbean — to leave this place. The reason why is because of the freedom. Freedom for a man to mark out his own destiny. It's not, "Hey, you have so much." Hey, that person worked for that. That's not to be taken and given to someone who didn't put in the time, the effort, and do his part.
Obama, he doesn't represent that. He represents, "Hey, everyone. Give me votes and I'll give you stuff." And there's even people on TV who [are asked], "Hey, who you voting for?"
"I'm voting for Obama."
"So I can get more free stuff."
That's not what makes this country great. That's what tears down a people, tears down nations. Hence, the problem we're having in this country, where we're experiencing unemployment. We're experiencing all of these negative things that are happening in our land as a direct result of that type of attitude — of too much government involvement, of moral decay, and of people lacking honor and integrity.
Eighty years ago, 50 years ago, a man would walk up to another man and go in for loan. He'd extend his hand, he'd shake it and he'd look at the man and he'd say, "I'll pay this back." He would do it. You couldn't even ... to even mention that [scenario] today ... is that a cartoon fantasy? That's how far we are removed.
DB: Word was bond.
LS: Yeah. We had a bond. That type of attitude has disappeared as a whole. Now, it's OK for me to cheat, to steal, to step on somebody, to cheat somebody, to do something to make someone [else] fall, so I can get ahead in life. And people accept that and they go home and they sleep at night. Whereas, the former attitude of America was, "I'm going to work my tail off, and if it doesn't work out for me ... "
You know, I didn't have the same opportunity growing up, as some people. I also had more opportunity than others. Whatever is given to that person, whatever you do with it is what makes the difference. And that's what has happened in this country: People want the same result, but they don't want to pay the same price. They want equality, but not by earning it — they want it given to them.
It's a recipe for disaster and it will kill the entire nation.
DB: Are you planning on running for office in 15 years or so?
LS: If I ran for office, I would be loved and hated. Because, I've always been this way as a person. I believe what I believe in for a reason. Compromise is not in my blueprint. It's not in my DNA. We've had poor leadership in this country, poor leadership in Congress and positions of authority. People are willing to compromise their beliefs, compromise for votes. I'll say something to somebody to get their vote, but if I have to compromise what I believe in, there's no honor in that. There's no integrity. That's not a leader.
Leaders are people who you follow because they believe in honor, integrity, accountability, responsibility, and they believe in these things. You know what? Their life reflects it through their actions. They're not going to do anything to get ahead. Hey, if I get ahead, it's going to be good for me, personally, but at the cost of what?
DB: You must miss talking to Berkman.
LS: Lance? Lance is awesome. He's what I call "A fellow American." He's a good man.
DB: You don't think that Obama wasn't born in the United States, do you?
LS: He was not born here.
LS: That's my belief. I was born here. If someone accuses me of not being born here, I can go — within 10 minutes — to my filing cabinet and I can pick up my real birth certificate and I can go, "See? Look! Here it is. Here it is." The man has dodged everything. He dodges questions, he doesn't answer anything. And why? Because he's hiding something.
You know what? People who have bad intentions, people that are deceivers or are not of honor and integrity — that's how they act. I've seen it in every — it doesn't matter what level. It can be in politics, it can be in business, it can be in sports, it can be in the construction field. Doesn't matter. It's all the same attitude. It's the same thing.
People who tell the truth, they're very easy to ... their actions prove it. Something as simple providing a birth certificate. Come on. If you're born here, there's plenty of documents. But you know what? There's no documentation of him. No legal documentation of him. There's been lie after lie after lie exposed, but people put it under the carpet. Hence, the problem we have in this country.
LS: There needs to be accountability for the truth. I don't care if you're the president of the United States, you need to be held accountable. If you're involved in treacherous acts, or you're saying things that are against, or are selling out our country, you should be brought to trial.
I mean, no one's above the law. There's a lot of people that fought for their country and that's not something to be taken lightly. They gave their life, everything they had, they gave their lives, to give us what we have. That's why I'm so passionate about my beliefs -- because someone died. They gave their life, their blood was spilled, so I had an opportunity to chase a dream and play baseball for a living.
For me, that's not something, "Oh, thank you." No. "THANK YOU." Let me honor you for that by actions by sticking up for what you fought for and passing it on to the next generation and doing my part.
DB: What kind of slugging percentage would you like to finish with this year?
LS: [Laughs]. Let's just start with ... anything over .600 would be nice [laughs]. I'll take it.
DB: Thanks, Luke.
LS: You're welcome.
Throughout the winter meetings, follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave
Previous Answer Men (and Woman):
* * *
2009 • Shane Victorino • Carlos Pena • Jay Bruce • Joe Nathan • Joe Maddon • Joakim Soria • Joey Votto • Tom Glavine • Adrian and Edgar Gonzalez • Chris Volstad • Paul Konerko • Edwin Jackson • Mark DeRosa • Tim Lincecum • Dave Righetti • Pedro Martinez • Denard Span • Cal Ripken
* * *
2008 • Hunter Pence • Justin Morneau • David Wright • Erin Andrews • Andy Van Slyke • Derek Jeter • Bob Uecker • Bert Blyleven • Torii Hunter • Joba Chamberlain • Larry Bowa • Zack Greinke • Kerry Wood • Huston Street • Josh Hamilton • Milton Bradley • CC Sabathia • Mike Mussina • Jason Bay • Cole Hamels • Ron Santo • Francisco Rodriguez • Ryan Dempster