Rather than risk yet another concussion, Scott decided to retire yesterday at 58.
“I’m done,” he said.
The veteran crew chief missed nearly the entire 2017 season after a foul ball off the bat of Baltimore slugger Mark Trumbo in Toronto on April 14 caught him hard in the mask, causing Scott’s second concussion in nine months and fourth in five years.
Within a few days, while undergoing treatment for head, neck and shoulder injuries, Scott realised it was the end of a major league career that began in 1985 and included three World Series assignments, three All-Star Games and 91 postseason games.
“In fact, it was pretty easy,” he said. “I wasn’t planning on this year being the last one. But I thought, this is a sign.”
Especially when he asked three doctors about the possible long-term effects if he got jarred again.
“They said: ‘We just don’t know,’” Scott said. “But they told me that the more times you get hit, the more probability that you’ll have issues.”
Scott’s decision will resonate, said Billy Bean, MLB vice president for social responsibility and inclusion. Bean came out as gay after his big league career ended in 1995.
“He has achieved everything in his umpiring career and has carried himself with integrity and garnered the respect of his peers and MLB players,” Bean said. “I am filled with pride as I reflect on all of his accomplishments. He’s a pro’s pro, who’s been a wonderful example to the LGBT community and all sports fans.”
MLB provides long-term disability for umpires who cannot work because of concussion effects, the same as it does for other permanent injuries.
Scott wonders about umpires who are cleared as part of the concussion protocol and then face the choice of continuing to work and risk further injury, or leaving the game.
“That needs to be addressed,” he said. “Maybe my situation can be a catalyst for that.”