03/02/12 8:31 PM ET
Bourjos' dad a father first, scout second
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
The situation came up a few times, when his son played against the Orioles in 2010 and '11. Chris would evaluate every single Angels player and pitcher who checked into the game, but he would skip right on past Peter. Every single time.
"I tell the guys, 'You want me to write a report, I will -- future Hall of Famer,'" a very biased Chris said. "I'm joking, but I just don't want to do it. I really don't want to do it."
Chris was an outfielder who spent seven years in pro baseball, played 13 games in the Majors -- with the Giants in 1980 -- and retired after the '83 season. He then scouted for 18 years for the Blue Jays, another eight with the Brewers, two with the Orioles and is now with the Padres, where he will focus on National League West teams, and therefore, won't see many Angels games in 2012.
Growing up, Peter always knew his father as a scout, with whom he would spend a lot of time with in the fall and winter, would hardly get to see in the spring and would make road trips with in the summer.
Peter, who was born in Illinois but grew up in Arizona, used to tag along with his father for almost a week at a time when school was over, traveling to Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver and Houston, and for a small stretch, living the life as a scout.
"I think it helped me a lot, especially getting drafted," said Peter, whom the Angels selected out of high school in the 10th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. "I listened to a lot of the scouts talk, and I think that really helped me out a lot in high school, knowing they like guys that play hard, play the game the right way. I'd be at games, my dad, the scouts would be like, 'Oh, look, he's not hustling, he's not doing this.' I never wanted to be perceived that way."
Growing up, Peter was also an excellent soccer player, then switched to football after suffering too many injuries. But baseball had always been his greatest passion. And every time he went on the road during those summer months, his father could feel it.
Peter would watch batting practice from beyond the gate, hours before the stadium would open to fans. And in any city they went, Chris had to make sure he squeezed Peter's bat, a dozen baseballs and a couple of gloves into his suitcase.
It didn't matter if they were trespassing onto a high school field or if the bag passed the airport's 50-pound limit.
Somehow, some way, they had to find a place to hit.
"He liked to get to the ballpark early," Chris said. "He liked hanging around scouts, and he was always listening. A lot of times, he'd ask me about different things that the guys would say during the game. I would comment on them, and we'd comment on the players and stuff. He's sort of a baseball junkie. He really likes the game. I think he likes it better than I do."
Chris came in handy a few times when Peter was coming up through the Minor Leagues. Peter would ask Chris about a pitcher he was facing, and his father would sometimes give him a brief scouting report if he had evaluated him before. Since Chris mostly handled the NL West throughout his career, his knowledge hasn't benefited Peter much in the Majors just yet -- though he did get a scouting report from Chris before facing Mike Adams, the Rangers' setup man who was previously in San Diego.
Chris told him Adams throws a lot of cutters, but Peter flied out against him anyway.
"He can only help so much," Peter said, smiling. "He was probably watching on TV saying, 'I told you it was coming!'"
Chris watches Peter on TV as often as he can. He has an iPad, so every time the Angels play and Chris is on the road, he turns it on to monitor Peter's at-bats. Since he's still based in Arizona, Chris has also been able to see Peter live this spring, including Friday.
Peter, the 24-year-old who's entering his second full season in the Majors, hit .271 with a .327 on-base percentage, 12 homers, 22 steals and an American League-high-tying 11 triples in 147 games last year.
This year, he'll be roaming center field and may even bat a little leadoff for a team that has Albert Pujols and could compete for a championship.
"It's almost not real for us," Chris said. "It's settled in, but I love every minute of it. Every chance I get, I try to watch him, either on TV or in person. I'll never get enough of it. I had a short big league career. I know how fast my career went. We try to cherish every bit of it with Pete."
As for what his scouting report would look like for his son?
"I'm not even going there," Chris said. "I'll leave that to somebody else."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.