The Real Deal
Phillies star Bryson Stott makes an impression on and off the field.
by Peter Proko

Bryson Stott wants you to know he can hear you loud and clear.
Of course, he’s referring to the fact that each time he steps up to bat at Citizens Bank Park he is serenaded by tens of thousands of fans as they sing his walk-up song, Tai Verdes’ “AOK.” The song has accompanied Stott for the last few seasons and has become a clear fan favorite. 
A skilled glove in the field, Stott is also becoming one of the game’s better hitters, especially in clutch moments. As the team looks to get back to, and hopefully win, the World Series, he is poised to play a major role. 
To have such great postseason runs ultimately be cut short the past couple of years, how much does that fuel you guys to try and get over that hump?   

There’s certain things that we would like to have done differently in those games. Obviously, we can’t do that now, so there’s always the goal to get back there. The things that we did do well, we want to keep doing. And the things that we didn’t do well, we want to change. So, I think we are in a good spot. 
You have a special relationship with Bryce Harper, having known him since you were a young child. What has he been like as both a mentor and now a teammate?
It’s been kind of everything you would want. He’ll be there if I’m struggling, [and] he’ll be there when I’m going good. It’s just really cool that our families go back so long ago. I remember I was 5, 6, 7 and going to watch my brother play and Bryce being on that team. He was the best player on the field and he was a year younger than everyone else. … I have kind of always looked up to Bryce and how he goes about it and approaches the game. 
Let’s talk about life away from the game for a minute. You recently welcomed a baby girl Braxtyn into the world. How has fatherhood been treating you thus far? 
Our teammates have a lot of kids and they were telling me [being a father] is the greatest thing ever. And it’s been everything that we could have imagined. She’s been awesome and a lot of fun. She’s already lived in two houses and she’s only 5 months old. It’s a crazy life, and my wife is phenomenal and so good with her. It’s the best feeling when you leave a game or see them in the stands. It’s been incredible. 
One of the coolest moments during your career has to be the kid who was praying on TV during your at-bat, only to see you crush a game-winning homer moments later. You made it a point to later connect with him and let him know how much you appreciated him. How special are those interactions with the younger fans?
It’s a lot different than how I grew up. In Vegas we didn’t have a team; we had to drive four or five hours [to see a game]. But when you are a kid who lives in Philadelphia or New Jersey or Delaware, all you know is the Phillies. So I make sure I go out of my way to sign stuff if they ask for it. Being able to connect with [the kid in the stands] was great, so I could let him know that his prayers worked because I needed them at the time. 
When you’re all said and done with the game of baseball and you look back on your career, what do you hope to see? 
Somebody who played. That’s my big thing, being on the field and being able to play as many games in a season as I can. You can’t help the team or the city win if you’re hurt, so I try to do a good job and stay with my stretching routines and stay in the weight room and things like that. 

I was always the smallest kid on my teams growing up, [and] I weighed the least. Even in high school, I was 5 feet tall as a freshman and 5-foot-4 as a sophomore. I was thinking there was no way I would be able to do this, but I never gave up. My Plan A was to always be a Major League Baseball player. I didn’t pick a major in college, because this is what I wanted to do and I tried to do everything in my power to make it happen. I think kids can do the same and I want to … show them that if you have a dream and you want to go get it, to go get it. 
Photo by Miles Kennedy
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, June 2024.