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An unusual Oriole: New Bible-toting, gun-carrying outfielder settles in

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Baltimore Orioles outfielder Luke Scott doesn't curse, drink late into the night or think about the stock market during that pause before the next batter steps to the plate.

Baltimore Orioles outfielder Luke Scott doesn’t curse, drink late into the night or think about the stock market during that pause before the next batter steps to the plate.

Rob Carr, Associated Press

BALTIMORE — He carries a Bible and gun. His name is Luke.

A cowboy preacher in a movie about the Old West? No, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Luke Scott is very much a part of this modern-day world.

He is, however, a very unusual baseball player. He doesn't curse, drink late into the night or think about the stock market during that pause before the next batter steps to the plate.

"Sometimes when I'm in the outfield," Scott said, "I thank the Lord for a beautiful day, my health and allowing me to play the game I love."

Scott was much like any other student during his first year at Indian River Community College in Florida. Although he was brought up in a religious home, that had little bearing on the actions of an 18-year-old eager to experience life without parental supervision.

"I believed that God existed and Jesus existed, but I didn't have a personal relationship with them," Scott said. "I basically lived for myself. I did whatever I wanted to do. I partied hard and chased after women and did whatever I felt was best for me."

And then came the night that would change his life. His mother was visiting him at school, and Scott didn't have the good sense to tell his friends and acquaintances to stay away during the weekend.

"Some girls came over at 1 o'clock in the morning, drunk, knocking on the door," Scott's mother, Jennifer, recalled. "I never went to college, and that's not what I was hoping it would be like. I said to Luke, 'You have a sister. That's somebody's sister, that's somebody's daughter. How would you feel if your daughter acted like that?' I didn't raise my son to be a pig."

Jennifer handed her son a Bible and insisted he read it every night. Luke argued that he didn't have time for that, and his mother dismissed the excuse by asking him to give it a look before bedtime.

"He knew I would nag him to death, so he promised me five minutes," Jennifer said. "Five minutes turned into a half-hour, then an hour. He really enjoyed it."

Scott has since read that book dozens of times. Baptized in June 2001, he is now a devout Christian and a solid citizen. To his mother, that's more important than the fame and fortune he's achieved as a major leaguer.

"I've always been proud of him as a baseball player, but mostly it's the fact that he chooses to be a good person and to live that way," Jennifer said. "I'm proud of who Luke Scott is."

Her son looks back on his rowdy times with disdain and is content with the person he has become.

"After that visit from my mom, for about three years I read the Bible on my own, to find out who God was and learn about his character. Basically, my life did not line up with what it said," Scott said. "It was time for a change. I finally decided to stop living for myself. I accepted Jesus into my heart, and it changed my life. Completely."

Before then, Scott often experienced more than a mild case of road rage. Now he won't even shake a fist at a driver who cuts him off in traffic.

"It's no big deal. Just hold it in. Just bless them," he said. "The scripture would come up. Instead of being mad and negative toward people, I went with the positive. So I'll be two minutes later. Is it worth ruining the rest of my day for that?"

Although it would appear to go against his calm demeanor, Scott carries a Glock pistol almost everywhere he goes. But his parents both had guns, so to him it makes perfect sense.

"We told him in the right hands, guns can serve a good purpose," Jennifer Scott said.

Said Luke: "I put my faith in my Lord, but we live in an imperfect world. If you have money and fame, you're more of a target to the criminal element. There are people who steal, who murder people for what they have. That's the reality of life. If you're not prepared, it could cost you your life. It's for protection. It's self-defense."

The gun is licensed and kept in a holster, concealed under his clothes.

"I don't want anyone to see it and freak out," he said.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley doesn't have a problem with it, and Scott's new teammates readily accepted the 29-year-old, who came to Baltimore in December with four players in the swap that sent former MVP shortstop Miguel Tejada to the Houston Astros.

"Playing in Houston was a test that I went through. I had proven myself by hitting .340 in 2006, and then I didn't have a starting job. That was hard on me because I thought I deserved at least a shot," Scott said. "Every day was frustrating."

Then came the trade to the Orioles, who promptly made him their starting left fielder.

"I was relieved and very, very thankful. It was something I had been praying about for a long time," Luke Scott said. "I just prayed and asked the Lord, 'If I'm not going to get an opportunity here, just send me to a place where they'll want me and pull for me.' And, he gave me that opportunity."

During a spring training game in Florida, Jennifer and her other son, 25-year-old Noah, waited patiently outside for Luke to join them. The outfielder finally emerged from the clubhouse and hugged them both.

"I love that he actually chose to do the right thing and didn't cheat himself or anybody else to get there," Noah said. "He's kind of at peace about himself. He was rambunctious, he was an instigator, always trying to get a rise out of people. He still does, but he does it playfully."