Bart Scott, a ‘slappy’ I’ll never forget

Lombardi's Way Bart Scott, a ‘slappy’ I’ll never forget

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When I started Ravens24x7.com back on July 3, 2003 I had no idea where it would go. Like most of you I was a diehard fan of the team and I just couldn’t get enough new information, insight and opinion on the Baltimore Ravens. My objective back then was to deliver such content from the perspective of an informed fan.

In that regard nothing has changed.  The only difference these days is we have many more contributors to this site and we have better access to better sources of information.

For that I’m extremely thankful…

Not long after launching 24×7 I was contacted by a couple of different radio stations in town and invited on as a studio guest. I’ll always remember WNST’s Bob Haynie upon noticing my apparent nervousness, suggesting I just relax and say what I know.  The advice was on time and spot on – much like Haynie’s on air style.

I suppose I did ok because Haynie invited me back a few times.  But if someone had told me then that in less than 4 years I would be hosting The Bart Scott Show, I would have seriously questioned that person’s lucidity.  Yet there I was during the 2007 season at Della Rose’s in Canton sitting alongside Bart and his featured guest for 18 consecutive weeks broadcasting simultaneously on ESPN 1300 and 105.7 HFS.

I have often said to anyone who would listen that if this whole 24×7 thing fell apart tomorrow, I would be forever grateful for the experience and how it helped me to meet so many outstanding people that without 24×7 the introductions would never have happened. One of those people is Bart Scott.

When I first met Bart, besides being an impressive athlete coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2006, he struck me as an intelligent and well-rounded person with a sharp wit and a great sense of humor. He didn’t’ seem to take himself all that seriously, regularly referring to himself as an unwanted, undrafted “slappy.” When visitors to his show The Hot Sauce approached him during commercial breaks, he willingly and eagerly engaged them, signing autograph after autograph without complaining in an age when many athletes want compensation for their John Hancock.

Bart always had a soft spot for children.  During one of our shows around Halloween, one very shy young boy wore a headset and carried a clipboard with a play chart on it.  He was dressed up as Brian Billick.  He wasn’t the best dressed of our Halloween costume contestants yet Bart insisted that “Billick” was the winner.

Winning wasn’t a regular feature on the program.  The Ravens were 5-11 in 2007 and at one point they had lost 9 consecutive games including a defeat to the then winless Miami Dolphins. The losing affected Bart and it dampened his spirit and undermined his happy-go-lucky demeanor. The show became a struggle for him as we fielded questions on air each week that challenged the integrity of the team and questioned the team’s collective resolve.

Bart never stopped believing and would often tell me that he had to continue to fight and to compete out of respect for his teammates who battled beside him. He fought through an injury to his knee and a broken hand – injuries that he kept from the public and never used them as a crutch or an excuse for ineffectiveness on the field.

After one of our shows in the midst of those 2+ months of losing, Bart seemed a bit down trodden and I thought that during the next show I would do something to try and lift his spirits.  I know he believed with every fiber of his being that fighting for and with his teammates regardless of the struggle and regardless of the outcome, was important to him. I found that inspiring yet sometimes even the inspirer needs inspiring.

During one of the commercial breaks on the following week’s show, I had a 5 minute segment of the movie Any Given Sunday queued up for Bart and our audience at Della Rose’s. During the segment Al Pacino in an emotional speech to his football team compared life to football and concluded that both were games of inches. The winner in either game according to Pacino would be the one willing to fight and claw for the inches that surround us for the benefit of the person standing next to him.

On this team, we fight for that inch.
On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone around us to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch.
Because we know when we add up all those inches that’s going to make the difference between WINNING and LOSING…between LIVING and DYING.

After watching the segment Bart turned to me and simply said, “Thanks, I really needed that.”

Following the break Bart’s body language changed and along with it the vibe and tempo of the show – all for the better.

When the season concluded, many people asked if I would be willing to do the show again with Bart in 2008 but somehow I knew that Bart had had enough.  Somewhere along the way, I knew that he would want to focus a bit more in ’08 for the betterment of the team and for his future.  And I’m glad he did.

I will miss Bart Scott yet at the same time, I wish him and his growing family all of life’s best. He’s earned it.  He’s risen from the depths of his impoverished and drug infested neighborhood as a youth in Detroit to fame and fortune in the planet’s most acclaimed city. He has scaled the walls of a seemingly insurmountable mountain driven by faith, morality, devotion and a willingness to fight for the person beside him.

Thanks for showing the way to others and for leading by example Bart.

I’m so glad you came along and that our paths somehow crossed.

You made a difference in Baltimore for a “slappy” like me.
 
 
Bart Scott Show photo gallery here

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts "The Fanimal" also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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