Milwaukee (WXOW) – Scott Servais continues to make his living in big league ballparks, making it look easy as the manager of the Seattle Mariners. In reality, it took a lot of hard work to get where he is.
And as cliche as it may be in the sports world, Servais said he took each step one at a time.
“I just wanted to play college baseball. That’s it,” Servais said. “Pro ball was so far beyond my wildest dreams, but if I had that chance to play college baseball, maybe something could work from there.”
And work it did.
After leading Westby to a state tournament, Servais was drafted by the New York Mets in the 2nd round of the 1985 Amateur Draft but declined that in favor of fulfilling his want of playing college ball at Creighton University.
That decision paid off when the Houston Astros then drafted Servais in 1988.
“You’ve got to be ready when opportunity knocks.”
It opened the door to a career that spanned a decade in the big leagues, most notably with the Chicago Cubs from 1995 to ’98. The times have changed, however, and Servais sees the effect on youth sports.
“The amount of games kids are playing, how quickly they go into specializing in just one sport,” Servais said. “Growing up I loved baseball, but I also loved football, loved basketball depending on what season you were into. The specialization of just one sport has changed a lot and along with that expectations rise…There’s no question—with the all travel ball the amount of money, expense parents have to come up with to give opportunities to their kids—it is a challenge, there is no doubt.”
That’s not to say it can’t happen for youth players who put in the effort.
“One of the top prospects in our organization is Jarred Kelenic who grew up in Waukesha, right down the road from here,” said Servais.
And for those looking down the same road he traveled, Servais offers one last thing to keep in mind: “Anything is possible.”
Another La Crosse Area example now works to prove that advice.
Just last month, the Philadelphia Phillies selected former Aquinas standout Rudy Rott in the 9th round of this year’s MLB Amateur Draft. The 2015 graduate was a four-year varsity player for the Blugolds and has spent the last three seasons at Ohio University.