“Life gives you three bad hops a day,” former baseball player told a Mount Saint Mary’s University class Dec. 2.
Greg Smith, special assistant to the general manager for major league scouting for the Texas Rangers, is no stranger to bad hops and adjusting to them. Smith spent most of his life playing baseball and half of it moving up and down within the major leagues.
“As early as I can remember I’ve had a passion for the major leagues,” Smith, who was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the second round of the 1985 MLB amateur draft, said. Smith knew he had potential when at 10 years old his coach was hitting baseballs harder to him than to the rest of the team.
“I asked my dad if the coach was mad at me,” Smith said. “Dad told me that coach thought I was the only player on the team that could play in the major leagues.”
Smith continued to play baseball through high school and would receive a full ride to the University of Arizona. After being drafted by the Cubs in 1985, he played eight years in the minor leagues and a combined three years in the major leagues for the Cubs and Los Angeles Dodger’s as an infielder.
“Your whole life you try to go higher until you reach the major leagues,” Smith said. “You feel accomplished by you start to wonder, what now? Do I belong here?”
After 11 years of playing, Smith received a bad hop in his life. As a result of repeatedly being sent back down to the minor leagues, Smith retired from baseball in 1995. He began working various jobs but always felt a passion for baseball.
In 1997, baseball would become a part of Smith’s life again. He would become a scout for the Kansas City Royals, covering the Pacific Northwest between 1997 and 2006.
According to Smith, scouting is very different from playing. “You have to have an accurate evaluation at the drop of a hat and know what makes a guy tick.”
Smith would go on to scout for the Cleveland Indians and the Texas Rangers until 2012 when he would become special assistant to the general manager for major league scouting for the Texas Rangers.
“I’m blessed to do what I love and be a part of baseball again,” Smith said. “This job and life is all about faith. I live by the Golden Rule and believe good things come to people that do too.”
Smith attributes success to receiving three bad hops a day. Set goals and dreams high and do the little things you have to do,” Smith said. “Winning isn’t everything.”