ALCS comes into focus for Sharp

He grew up not far from Baltimore, wore No. 8 in Little League to emulate Cal Ripken Jr., and has many fond memories of his days as a diehard Orioles fan.

But if Scott Sharp makes it to Camden Yards for the American League Championship Series, he won't be wearing a speck of orange or black. Those colors faded long ago for the Sykesville native.


Sharp is the Kansas City Royals' director of player development, and he's quite happy to be sporting royal blue these days as his team prepares to face Baltimore in the ALCS.

"Born and bred in Baltimore, and was always a Baltimore fan," Sharp said. "But at this point, I've poured a lot of time and energy and sweat into the Royals. I'm a fan of the players on the field here. More than just an employee, I have a lot at stake with them. I'm a huge fan of the Royals now, I really am."


Sharp graduated from Liberty High School in 1990, played his college baseball at George Washington University, and played in the minor leagues after being drafted by the Cincinnati Reds. He peaked in High-A ball, then ended his playing career and worked as a scout for Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Texas before joining Kansas City.

Sharp, 41, took over as the club's director of player development after the 2012 season after serving as director of minor league operations since 2008. Sharp oversaw several of Kansas City's young stars ascend through the system during that stretch, and he has the sound of a proud papa when bringing up their names.

Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Yordano Ventura. Not to mention a handful of other guys who shine on defense and flash their speed on the base paths to manufacture runs and typify an older style of play.

"They've kind of been thrust onto the national stage now, and I'm glad for them that they're being recognized as good players," Sharp said. "But there has been a lot poured into them over the last eight or nine years. And we've known about them for eight, nine years, six, seven years, since they've been in the system. We've just known as a group, it doesn't happen overnight.

"People who weren't as close may think, 'Oh, well, the Royals kind of came out of nowhere.' Well, this has been eight years of hard work to get to this point. Organizations have to build from within. It doesn't take two years to turn something around."

The Royals took notice of Sharp's skills in nuturing some of the club's young talent when they promoted him to director of player development Nov. 2, 2012.

"Scott has done an excellent job leading our player development department and has earned the complete respect of our staff," assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said in a statement when Sharp got the job.

Sharp said before the Royals hosted Oakland in the AL wild-card game Sept. 30, the only playoff game he had seen in person was in 1983, when Baltimore faced the Chicago White Sox in the ALCS. The Orioles won the World Series that year. Kansas City claimed the crown two years later.


Neither team has been back since. In fact, the Royals are in the postseason for the first time since that 1985 championship run.

"It's really difficult to win the World Series," Sharp said. "It's very difficult to get there, it's very difficult to win it. Teams that win it more than once in a short period of time, there's a lot of luck involved along with being a good team."

Sharp lives in Lee's Summit, Missouri, with his wife and two sons. But his ties to Baltimore remain within the family. Sharp said his mother attended Game 1 of the Orioles' division series against Detroit, and she has plans to be at Camden Yards to see her favorite team take on the Royals.

Of course, she'll be rooting for her son's ballclub as well.

"She follows both teams pretty closely," said Sharp, adding that his mom may cut her Orioles and Royals T-shirts in half and sew them together to wear during the series.

Sharp has plans this weekend to be in Arizona to watch Kansas City's instructional league players, so he'll miss the first two games of the ALCS. But if the series makes it back to Baltimore, expect Sharp to make the trip home.


"I don't want anything misinterpreted. There is no question that I want the Royals to win this," Sharp said. "And I feel for Baltimore. I know it's been since '83. It's only been since '85 for us. At least one of the two teams will be going to get another shot at a World Series.

"But, without question, I'm hopeful that the Royals can pull it out here. And, hopefully, in a quick fashion — although I wouldn't mind seeing a game at Camden Yards, and maybe see us celebrating on the field there."

Reach staff writer Pat Stoetzer at 410-857-7894 or