Thursday, October 27, 2005

Brushback


I slam down the phone in utter frustration. Some would say my job is simple. Find the players, evaluate them, and sign them. Hardly. Tell that to the parents of a kid that we drafted out of high school four years ago in the 14th round. Mommie and Daddy just called me to say he's not making it. Bounced between A and AA. And to top it off, he's got a bad case of what I call "minor leagueitus." A debilitating disease that strikes the heart with an attitude that says, "I should be up at the Big Show by now-- maybe I've made a mistake."

Then comes the finger pointing. His parents claim that I said their son would have a better shot at playing pro baseball rather than pro football. Not true. Never said such a thing. Funny how people make up things that were never said in order to support what they themselves were thinking and believing four years ago. They went on to claim that but for my representations, little Johnny would've played football for Clemson on a full-ride. Now that's why scouts, in general, don't like dual sport athletes. I thought little Johnny would be the exception to the rule but unfortunately he forgot how to find the strike zone. That's the type of crap I have to deal with.

And it always seems to be worse when I'm trying to get some work done in my home office. Take for example my ex-boss, Toby Bradford. If you remember, both he and I are now area scouts in charge of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina. At first, it started with a harmless email volley about how we were going to divide the territory. Then it suddenly elevated into a string of thirty minute telephone calls. Much of it had to do with a stack of three ring binders on top of my desk. Each contained hundreds of scouting reports from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina. Manny had Georgia and South Carolina while Rhett had Alabama and Mississippi.

Manny had been at it much longer than Rhett and it showed. Not only did Manny have twice as many prospects, but his reports were much more detailed and polished than Rhett's. It was no surprise that Toby wanted Georgia and South Carolina but because he lives in Birmingham, he pretty much had no choice but to take Mississippi and Alabama. Knowing that I couldn't take all of Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, Toby decided he would take everything north of I-20 in both Georgia and South Carolina. Since Atlanta and Columbia were for the most part divided by I-20, Toby would take Atlanta and I would take Columbia. So I got screwed. What else was new?

Lord only knows how I'm going to scout three states. My nice little list of at least 70 area players that would be sure draft picks was now destined to balloon near 130 with three states. I can't even begin to tell you the amount of work involved.

But the good news of the day was my phone call with the Wekiva coach. He'd already set a time for me to meet with Dallas Parker after practice tomorrow. This ought a be interesting.

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