Scott Pose: For The Love Of The Game

  • Name: Scott Pose
  • Age: 46
  • Organization: Major League Baseball

Author: Patrick Kinas, creator.

Since he could barely walk, he always played baseball for the love of the game. Nearly 30 years later, he never dreamed that the Silver Screen would come calling - with a role in one of Hollywood’s most romantic sports movies of all time. For Scott Pose’s love of the game would intersect with Kevin Costner’s For The Love Of The Game.

From his time at Dowling High School in West Des Moines, to his college years at Arkansas, Pose passion for the sport drove him like a tractor’s engine. Drafted in the late rounds in 1989 by Cincinnati and not given any chance to make the major leagues - determination, stubbornness and sheer will kept Pose alive in the game he loves.

It was those traits that allowed Pose to succeed in baseball far more than anyone else had expected. The major league call for the Iowan finally came after being taken in the expansion draft by the Florida Marlins leading into the 1993 season, where not only did Pose make a major league roster for the first time – he was the first batter in Marlins history.

“My first big-league at bat, I got a hit against the Dodgers, then the scorer changed the hit to an error. Kind of indicative of my career,” Pose deadpanned. Los Angeles second baseman Jody Reed absorbed the error instead.

As Pose’s career bounced him back to Triple-A over the next few years with Milwaukee, Los Angeles (NL), Minnesota and Toronto, baseball’s winningest franchise then took a chance on him. The New York Yankees.

Signed to a deal with the Yankees leading into 1997, Pose was hoping for a chance to return to the major leagues, a place he had not been since his 15 games with the inaugural Marlins four years prior. After hitting over .300 at Columbus that year, Pose, now 30, was indeed brought back to the majors for 54 games in a Yankees uniform. But it was his time back at Triple-A Columbus in 1998 that would lead Pose to the Silver Screen.

“Near the end of 1998 season, my agent called and said ‘I don’t have a big league job for you, but how would you like to be in a movie?’” Pose recalled. “Sure, why not, what is it? ‘Go get a head shot, get one of your pictures and send it in and we’ll see if they want to use you.’”

“Next thing I knew, I was signed to the role of Matt Crane in the movie For The Love Of The Game.

“I got paid to do what I always did - pretending to be a baseball player.”

“As it turned out, Kevin Costner had the script for the longest time. But he wanted to do was shoot it at Yankee Stadium. He was close friends with Augie Garrido, the long-time head coach at Cal-State Fullerton, and wanted to use a lot of the Fullerton guys in the movie like the Giambi brothers and others,” Pose said. “Costner went to George Steinbrenner to ask about shooting movie there. Steinbrenner said ‘Sure you can use it, but I have to approve everybody in the movie that has to wear the Yankee uniform in the movie – meaning, he wanted Yankee minor leaguers to do it. Then the Tigers found out about it and did the same thing. So you had the Yankees and the Tigers minor leaguers playing the players.”

Although Costner did have one current Major Leaguer in the movie, Ricky Ledee, who had played in 42 games with the Yankees that season, and was a member of the Yankees World Championship club that swept the San Diego Padres for the ’98 title.

“We were waiting to film at Yankee Stadium while they were in San Diego, and there was a chance that the Series could come back to New York,” Pose said. “But as soon as it was clinched, filming started and we were there that whole month of October, and got home right before Thanksgiving.”

“For as much time as we spent filming baseball scenes, there was very little baseball in the movie. We went there thinking this was going to be a pure baseball movie like Bull Durham. When in reality, it was basically a love story with baseball intertwined.”

“We had quite a bit of interaction and contact with Costner. He was pitching, he was doing his scenes. A lot of the movie business is ‘hurry up and wait’ and getting one camera set up, so everything has to be perfect. So you’re standing around a lot. What a thrill it is to stand around one of baseball’s cathedrals. Costner would come up and talk to us, and was just a normal guy, except he’s filthy rich, a movie star, and with a couple of Academy Awards under his belt.”

For Pose, his 15 minutes of fame on the big screen was soon to be shot on a field that he had called his own just a year prior. “It was a baseball scene – I was supposed to hit a groundball down the 3rd base line. And you shoot this from all kinds of different angles. But you’re doing that same scene five different ways.”

“First scene they wanted me to do, they had the camera about 20 feet from home plate off to shortstop side and said we want you to hit the ball down to third base. I said ‘Wait a minute, are you going to put something in front of that camera?’ And they said no. Should we? I said, well how much is that camera worth? The director said ‘Well, you can’t buy one of these.’ That’s not what I’m asking. I’m asking how much does it cost. ‘Oh, about a quarter of a million dollars.’’

The director continued, “So we want you to hit a ball by the camera down the third base line, can you do that?”

“I can do that, I’m a professional,” Pose said, feeling the pressure like a World Series at-bat. “Just throw me a pitch on the outside part and I’ll get it over there.”

“So I hit the first one down, but it went foul, and they wanted me to run, and I didn’t run. So the second ball I hit was a foot away from this $250,000 camera, and it was the shot they wound up using. But, after I make contact with the ball there was a piece of Plexiglas right in front of that camera every time after that. Director Sam Raimi, who directed Spiderman 1, 2 & 3, was constantly talking to a guy, and I’m not sure what job he had, but I know it was important, but Sam made sure there was Plexiglas right in front of that camera every time after that. I was pretty lucky I didn’t damage that camera.”

Almost a year later, For The Love Of The Game was released. And Pose, still believing this was a baseball movie, took in his cinematic debut at a local Raleigh theatre with his wife Lori.

“It was a surreal experience,” Pose recalled. “We had no idea what we were going to see because we knew how much time we spent there seeing baseball, and thought we were going to see a baseball movie. We wound up seeing a love story.”

“Then to see my tired mug on that screen was a pretty funny experience. My wife was laughing so hard because she thought I looked like the dork that I normally am.”

For The Love Of The Game grossed over $46m at the box office, and is still regarded as one of the best sports-themed movies of all time.

The royalties still come in for Pose, and in his sarcastic tone – for his small part – they roll in a dime and a quarter at a time.

But the experience on the screen for Pose – well, he can’t put a value on that. To this day, Pose still maintains a strong passion For The Love Of The Game.

Scott Pose currently lives in the Triangle, and is a regular TV color commentator on Durham Bulls telecasts.

(Photo courtesy: Scott Pose.)


Diana 08/05/2013 @ 05:15PM
Thanks for another great story, now I have to watch this movie to see if I can find Pose !
George from Jersey 08/22/2013 @ 05:07AM
This guy was (and still is) a class act who went out each day and played the game right way. Hope all is going well for you Scott. Your friend, George A

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