For one player, it was "like a dream" just to step onto the playing field. For another it was a perpetuation of his drive to be discovered by a major league baseball team. And for still another, the baseball tryout camp at Banneker Stadium last week was confirmation of his failure as a player.
About 50 young men showed for Thurday's free agent camp sponsored by the Baltimore Orioles. They left with feelings ranging from hop to despair.
"It's like a dream to me," said right fielder Avon Perry before tryouts began. "Even if I fail, just participating in this tryout will give me some satisfaction."
But Perry's age, 25, seemed to be a strike against him even before he put on his glove.
"In conducting these tryout camps, we're looking to sophomores and juniors in high school," said Oriole scout Dick Bowie. "We want the good athlete with baseball potential, somone who can give us a lead on next year for scouting and drafting."
But after the tryouts, Bowie said this camp wasn't quite as good as others he has helped run.
"There just weren't enough high school boys," he said. "I didn't see anyone that exciting."
Bowie said the "best of the lot" was Joe Goss, a third baseman for George Washington. He said he had been to three tryouts in the past week, including two sponsored by the Orioles.
"This is about my seventh or eighth tryout camp in all," Goss said. "I'm just going to keeping plugging away until sombody takes me."
Goss is so intent on playing in the big leagues that he has quit his job and summer league teams to concentrate on the camps.
"I think if somebody would take me I'd make the big leagues because nobody wants to play ball more than I do."
Goss has more than desire working for him. He hit .437 last year and .390 this season with seven home runs and 64 RBI. He also was perfect on 23 stolen base attempts this spring.
Chuck Hinton, Howard University baseball coach, said he was "kind of surprised when Goss wasn't selected in the June major league draft."
Hinton, who spent 11 years in the majors with Washington and Cleveland said, "It's not that surprising though. Playing in this are, you may never see a scout at the college games. Howard plays right here and we never see any scouts.
"This is a public relations showcase. If the scouts were really interested in seeing these players perform they could have come out and seen them several times during the regular season."
Scouts started camp tryouts by timing each participant in this 60-yard dash. Each outfielder was judged on three throws to home plate from 250 feet.
Meanwhile, infielders were taking ground balls as scouts studied such factors as "range, throwing accuracy and quickness."
Pitchers and catchers displayed their talents in a seven-inning intrasquad game. Pitching velocity was measured with a "jugs gun," as were catchers' throws to second base.
"Tryouts are getting more and more scientific every year," Goss said. "Sometimes I think the scouts are looking for pure numbers: how fast, how far, how big. They don't usually look at how much heart and desire a player has to offer."
Not looking at the intangibles a player can offer is why Leonard Peake said he was so disappointed after the tryout.
"I love this game so much but I have to quit," Peake said. "I just can't accept failure. I've wanted to be a major leaguer as long as I can remember. I've got a lot of heart and I'm good, but that's not what the scouts are looking for. I'll never play again, Why play if it's not for the pros? Coaching is it for me." CAPTION: Picture, Dick Bowie, Baltimore Oriole scout, conducts throwing test. By James M. Thresher -- The Washington Post