It took 11 years of professional baseball, including the past five years at the Triple-A level, but 31-year-old Bobby Scales finally became a Major Leaguer on May 5 when he started at second base for the Cubs. Scales, who plans to continue working as a substitute high school teacher in the offseason, recently answered some questions from MLBPLAYERS.com.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You were drafted in 1999 but didn't make your Major League debut until this season. How gratifying is it to wear a big league uniform now for the first time?
Scales: It's great fun. It's awesome. I really don't have words to truly express it. It's everything that I've worked for. It's what I get up for at five in the morning during the offseason and work my tail off for. It's right in front of you. Now I'm just trying to play well so I can stay.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What is your role with this Cubs club?
Scales: I'm just trying to do the same things that got me to where I am now. That's pretty much it. I'm trying to take this thing day by day. I know I'm here to do a job and whatever happens tomorrow will happen. I will deal with that when it happens.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What is it like to play in more than 1,000 games in the Minor Leagues?
Scales: To be honest I didn't even know it was that much. I never counted. Looking at games played or at-bats are things I don't pay too much attention to. You just go play the game and do what you can each day. Hopefully it works out for the best.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Is that time in the minors a blur or are so many of the details still vivid?
Scales: You don't forget at all. It's not just like that for me; it's like that for a lot of guys. You know the hard work you put in. You know the things you had to do to get here. You know about all the hard work and time you put in. I'm just happy to be here and to try and contribute in any way that I can.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How important was it for you to improve your play in the field the last couple of years?
Scales: I have to credit two coaches in Tony Franklin and Bobby Dickerson. Tony early on had to do a lot of the heavy lifting. My defense was one of those things where I was just not as good as you think you are.
MLBPLAYERS.com: During the offseason, you work as a teacher. How did that job come about?
Scales: I had a friend who told me that his older brother used to play ball and, during the offseason, he would substitute teach. It's not something that's too taxing but something that's very enjoyable at the same time. You just go in, do your job, and by four o'clock you're back on the baseball field working your tail off. You still have your evening ahead of you. It was something that helped with the bills, and it was something that I enjoyed.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How long have you been substitute teaching?
Scales: I've been doing it since 2000. I mainly sub at high schools. Usually I'm teaching calculus or P.E. I will do whatever they need of me though. It's mainly teaching at the high school that I went to growing up.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What was the feeling walking back into that school for the first time not as a student?
Scales: The first time was weird. I'm not going to lie about that. Honestly, the first couple of years were weird. Once you get a little bit older you get over it though.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Are you going back to teaching this offseason?
Scales: As of right now, I'm planning on going back and doing some substitute teaching this year. With me, I like to keep busy. Teaching there is a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to it, but I am enjoying the here and now for sure.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.