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06/13/08 10:00 AM ET
Feldman carries lots of respect for dad
Long nights playing catch in park helped shape life in Majors
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Scott Feldman was called up to the Major Leagues for the first time on Aug. 16, 2005. The Rangers were playing in Cleveland and his parents, Marshall and Joyce Feldman, came all the way from California to watch him play. Feldman was there one day, didn't get to pitch and then was sent back to the Minor Leagues the next night. The Rangers needed Adrian Gonzalez instead. Joyce Feldman was irate when Scott called her while she and her husband were sitting in the stands at Progressive Field, eagerly waiting for the game to begin. "My mom was like, 'What in the world is going on? What are they doing to you?'" Feldman said. "My dad was like, 'Don't worry, he'll be back, it's no big deal.' He wanted to stay and watch the game. My mom had to drag him out of the stadium."
Dad knew best. Feldman was back, again and again and again. He has been up and down from the Minor Leagues no less than 12 times in his Major League career. Now he has a chance to stick as a member of the Rangers' starting rotation and nobody could be more proud than dad, an FBI agent who grew up in a Pennsylvania coal mining town, played college baseball at Duquense, coached his son in youth baseball in North California and survived brain surgery a few years ago.
"I remember all of us sitting in the waiting room and everybody was really worried because we didn't know if he had cancer," Feldman said. "It was scary. But they went in and did the surgery and I'll never forget when the doctor came out and told us the good news that it wasn't cancer and they expected full recovery. He did just that."
Father's Day is about celebrating the special relationship between father and sons or daughters, and Marshall and Scott Feldman have enjoyed just that, as he has grown up from the sandlot fields of Burlingame, Calif., to become a starting pitcher for the Rangers.
"He was my coach from the time I was four years old until I was 11 or 12," Feldman said. "When I was little, he was always playing baseball and stuff with me. We lived right across the street from a park next to my elementary school and when he would come home, I would be all over him to hit me fly balls or throw me batting practice.
"If he couldn't do it, I'd go find one of my buddies, but whenever he was around, he would go over there for me."
Feldman played multiple positions growing up, including first base, shortstop, third base and even catcher. He did some pitching, but his dad only had one piece of advice for him in that regard.
"He just told me not to throw the curve ball," Feldman said. "That was probably the best thing he could have told me."
Oh yes, he also insisted that Scott wear long sleeves. The weather can be a bit nippy, especially at night, on the San Francisco Peninsula.
"He used to get mad if I didn't wear sleeves," Feldman said. "But all my buddies liked playing for him. He wasn't one of those coaches who are really serious and think they have to argue with the umpire. He knew what it was for :A bunch of kids having a good time.
"I don't know if he ever thought I would make it to the Majors, but he always made sure I did good in school and took my schoolwork seriously. I wasn't a straight-A student, but I never got bad grades. He always tried to motivate me."
Of course, you don't mess around with a guy who carries a gun for a living...
"He kept it in the top drawer in the bedroom and it was under lock," Feldman said. "I don't think he ever knew this, but I used to show my buddies his gun."
Marshall and Joyce Feldman finally did get to see their son pitch in the Major Leagues and dad still has the big league debut burned on a CD so he can show the relatives back in Pittsburgh. There have been plenty of appearances since Aug. 31, 2005, and more to come.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.