SportsCenter:AM viewers usually see Randy Scott at the anchor desk of the 7-10 a.m. ET program, but this week his location has been a little more tropical than the Bristol, Connecticut campus of ESPN.
On a five-day swing across Florida, Scott has been reporting on Major League Baseball Spring Training. He’s been doing live segments with some of the game’s biggest names, not only talking baseball but also helping viewers get to know the players and managers away from the field.
The swing continues today (chasing rainbows and Thor) and Friday.
For Scott, the opportunity came knocking a few weeks ago when he got a call from Heath Henry, coordinating producer of SportsCenter:AM.
“He said something like ‘How do you feel about going back to your roots?’” Scott said. “And I laughed and said ‘How far back are we going?’ And he said ‘Well, you covered spring training when you worked in Florida right?’”
A former local sports anchor in Fort Myers, Fla., Scott jumped at the chance to return to Florida with ESPN.
“I remember being on the local level 11 years ago for my first spring training and being jealous of the ESPN guys when they rolled through,” he said. “They could come in, get the best players, get the best access, have all the technological toys like multiple cameras, and I was just hoping that one day I’d be in a position to do something like that.”
During the week, the access presented by the host teams has created some fun times for Scott.
On Monday with the Washington Nationals, Scott was getting a tour of the team’s new facilities from outfielder Bryce Harper, who also was seeing much of it for the first time. “There was a moment when we went into the hydrotherapy room when we almost said “Oh that’s cool” in unison when we were looking at the underwater treadmill,” Scott said.
On Tuesday with the Baltimore Orioles, center fielder Adam Jones was going to prepare breakfast but first received a phone call.
“He said ‘Oh, it’s the kids, I gotta take this,’” Scott said. “They talked for a couple of minutes and he said ‘You guys want to say hi?’ and then I’m FaceTiming with them. And his oldest one asked ‘Are we gonna be on TV?’ and he let us put some of that on TV since he was already mic’d up.
“That behind the curtain access presents the sort of thing where you learn about those guys as guys and not just as ballplayers,” he said.
This week, Scott has also been with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Thursday he is with the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and he concludes the week on Friday from Red Sox camp in Fort Myers.
This time, though, he’ll be the one with all the technological toys, multiple cameras and access.