When current Bees centerfielder Peter Bourjos was a junior in high school, he told his dad he wanted to play football in addition to soccer and, his favorite, baseball. His dad Chris, a former Major League player with the San Francisco Giants and current major league scout for the Baltimore Orioles, may have preferred his son follow his footsteps onto the diamond, but he was Peter's father first.
"What are you asking me for?" Chris told him, "If you want to play, great. Just play hard and have fun."
Peter went on to score 10 touchdowns as a receiver and kick-returner that year and even got some playing time as the backup place-kicker, with his parents supporting him in every play.
Despite dabbling in other sports, baseball was always number one for Peter and his dad knew it.
"Pete has always had passion for the game," said Chris. "I would never have to ask him or push him to go out and play catch. It was always him who wanted to do it and I would never say no, no matter how tired I was."
The two were always found at the neighborhood park in Scottsdale, Ariz. running drills. Peter would hit for hours and run down fly balls his dad would hit at him until the sun went down. They even took their act on the road. When Chris would travel around the Southwest on his scouting rounds, Peter occasionally came along.
"We would pack my huge suitcase full of his baseball gear and along every stop, we would find a place where he could take batting practice." Chris recalled. "I'd say, 'Hey Pete let's go to the beach' and he'd say, 'Okay, but let's take batting practice first.' So we'd find a field to hit and then go to the beach."
"His passion for the game made me feel like a kid again."
Those long scouting trips and the hours at the park were about much more than baseball. For a father and son, those times are priceless.
When the time came to start dealing with the draft, Peter didn't have much to worry about with his father in his corner. Prior to becoming a pro scout, Chris started as an amateur scout and possessed the experience to navigate Peter through the process.
Leading up to the big day, Chris made a few phone calls to fellow scouts and organizations to get a sense of the market for Peter and to see who was interested in his boy. Among the potential buyers were the Cubs and Angels-both organizations that met Chris' standard for his son's development.
"It was funny," said Peter, "the Angels came with their offer but before they even offered anything, my dad said 'this is probably what they're going to offer' and he nailed it right on the head. I guess he's good."
Despite his dad's expertise, it wasn't until after Peter signed with the Angels that Chris offered his professional advice to help his son succeed in the game, counseling Peter to use his speed in the outfield and at the top of the order from the leadoff position.
Sure enough, Chris was right again, as Peter has developed his game as a leadoff man and premier defensive centerfielder. And while Chris acknowledges he recommended Peter work on those aspects of his game, he credits the stellar coaches and player development system in the Angels' organization for Peter's progress as a player. Now, Chris is back to being dad-Peter's number one fan.
And for Chris, whose best playing days are behind him, watching his son succeed in the game has become his favorite pastime. When it comes to watching Peter's career, Chris is clear that baseball is second.
"The main reason I want Peter to play a long time is because he loves to play. That's the thing I think about the most. That hopefully he can have a long career because he loves to play the game."
He's dad first, scout second.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.