SCOTTSDALE, Arizona - Country music was blasting at the Rockies Spring Training clubhouse. The sounds of Rascal Flatts and other acts from Nashville couldn't sound more strange to someone coming from South America. But that's not a nuisance for Marco Scutaro.
He feels right at home.
"I'm glad I can experience being received by so many players from my own country, all in one place," said Scutaro. "I have never been in such a situation before".
The 36-year-old infielder is now with the Colorado Rockies, and has been welcomed by seven other men from Venezuela.
"Marco is amazing," said Jonathan Herrera. "The way he controls game situations has no parallel".
Another Rockie who welcomed Scutaro with open arms was Carlos González. CarGo has been friends with him for a few years now.
Scutaro is considered in his country as one of the "Elder statesmen" of Venezuelan players in the Majors, after a decade of presence at baseball's highest level. He was always recognized as a solid defensive tool, first as a rookie in the Winter league with Caribes de Oriente. Then he was traded to Leones del Caracas and with that, he achieved superstar status.
But if you ask Scutaro, he is hardly an elite guy.
"My biggest tool is in this game is learning constantly, each and every day," Scutaro said. "You see, I have never been a highly gifted ballplayer, so I've had to adapt myself into every situation."
So many things have been said about the fact his experience would make him a mentor of sorts for many Rockies players. But he sees things differently.
"If I get to teach and influence someone, it's great. But I look at things the other way around. I feel like a sponge, learning from every single thing, every day. No matter if it is from a rookie who has just got his call, or a guy with fifteen years in this business. You always get something out of them, and that's what I learn from," Scutaro said.
Such modesty and demeanor make him practically a poster boy for the philosophy the Rockies aspire to instill into their troops. He is more willing to talk about the things he can learn from other players instead of bragging about himself.
"I've had a blessing, which is playing with amazing shortstops. With the Red Sox, I had Dustin Pedroia next to me; now it's Troy Tulowitzki. It's not hard to understand him and where he comes from, he has been playing baseball for a long time and has great instincts. You can see that when you communicate with him on the field," Scutaro said.
"Baseball is like medicine. They are two disciplines in which there is constant change and evolution. There's always something new to learn. My biggest blessing came when Toronto gave me the chance to play daily. That way, you can make a mistake one day and work in order to correct it at the next game, without having to worry about the manager sending you on the bench. That's how I got here".
Judging from what we have seen so far, Scutaro has been a gifted student, no matter what he says.