Prep baseball: Pro scout father teaches Roadcap more than the game
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With a dad who possesses 25 years' experience working in Major League Baseball, Capital junior Seth Roadcap studies the game with resources in hand most young players dream of one day attaining.
Roadcap's father, Steve Roadcap, has provided his son many learning opportunities in his more than two decades' time in roles from Minor League manager to catching coordinator to now classified professional scout.
"It's been a tremendous thing in my life," Seth said of his experiences as a result of his dad's career in professional baseball. "I've got to do so much stuff with him when he was a manager. I got to travel with him, went to the field with him, hung out with all the players. I've got to meet (Minnesota Twins pitcher) Vance Worley and tons of other players like (Baltimore Orioles outfielder) Adam Jones and a lot of other ones."
Steve started his managing career with the Chicago Cubs minor league organization before spending three years as catching coordinator, then three years managing for the Seattle Mariners minors organization. After Seattle, Steve managed the Single A Lakewood Blue Claws and Double A Reading Phillies for the Philadelphia Phillies.
In November 2010, the Cincinnati Reds contacted Steve and asked him to consider being a scout.
"They asked me if I was interested in becoming a pro scout," Steve said. "I really never had thought about it. I guess God was looking after me and gave me an opportunity to be home. (Seth) was going to be a freshman in high school. I probably got to see 40 games in the last two and one-half years. I would have never gotten to see that if I was still managing."
Steve said now as a scout, he has the opportunity to watch his son play more often. Steve is responsible for scouting teams in the Florida State League, South Atlantic League and Midwest League. In September, he'll scout MLB teams. Last season, Steve advance scouted the St. Louis Cardinals when the Reds made the playoffs.
It's still a long season for Steve, but it's not quite as demanding as the responsibilities of manager when he was tied to his team as it navigated the Minor League schedule.
That meant Seth's interaction with his dad during the baseball season was limited.
"Sometimes when his team, whenever he was Single A, he played the Power and we would come down and watch him," Seth said.
Other times, Seth visited his father on the road.
"All the organizations I was with, they allowed him to take batting practice, be on the field," Steve said of Seth's visits. "I know there was one year I was with the Phillies, my hitting coach had a boy pretty much the same age and I think they hit for seven of the nine innings. I didn't know where he was and he probably had 400 swings during the course of the game."
Those opportunities in the clubhouse led to relationships with players, some of whom have advanced to promising MLB careers like Worley and Jones.
Seth said he became particularly close with Worley, who now starts for the Twins.
"Me and (Worley) always talked all the time," Seth said, "and he promised me he would get me a customized glove before I left and he did. After that, I use it whenever I pitch, and it means a lot to me."
More than technique, Seth said the most important aspect he learned from his dad and the players was work ethic.
"I wouldn't really necessarily say it's that many inside tips, it's just what you know about the game," he said. "It's how hard you want to play this game. It's all about repetition and it's all about practice. If you don't really want to play this game and you don't work hard at it, you may not get far with it."
Cougars Coach Robert Massey said Seth's knowledge and appreciation for the game is evident whether he's catching behind the plate or pitching on the mound.
"Seth is a student of the game," he said. "We could probably let him call pitches, but that's just more that he has to handle, so we go ahead and call the pitches. Steve does a great job with him. He's kept him on ground, kept him very focused on not just baseball, but even grades and life in general, so yeah, he's done a great job with him."
It's the big picture lessons, more than baseball, Steve said he hopes to teach his son.
"It's a great experience and I just want him to have fun playing the game and whatever he wants to do, he can do it," Steve said. "I just hope he gets an opportunity to play at the college level. That's what I'm hoping. He has the desire, so that's part of it. If you have the desire, sometimes things will come true."
As long as the desire's there, the opportunities to grow and seek advice from resources like his dad will never be too far away.