Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Performance Scouting? Never. (Part II)

To me, Logan Cooper's demand was a slap in the face. Making me hire this kid was one thing, but requiring that both Seth and I agree on every prospect coming out of Georgia was ludicrous. My immediate boss, Donald DeSear (the national scouting director) hasn't said a peep about this sudden change of events. I've told him time and time again that I work alone. I've got a great network of high school and college coaches in Florida. Manny had a tremendous network of coaches in Georgia and South Carolina that I'm slowly getting to know. But Manny did have a bird dog, though. The kid was a former minor leaguer who went onto be an area scout in the northwest with another club. But at least the kid had a taste of what it was like to sign with a big league club and live on the road for several years going from minor league park to minor league park. He played the game for years at various levels giving him a terrific baseball foundation to draw upon as a scout.

What experience did Seth Goldbaum have? I'm sorry, but watching SportsCenter everynight, professing to be a follower of Bill James (did he ever play ball?), and reading something called Baseball Abstract just doesn't get it done. Taking a step back, I could probably say the same for Logan Cooper, our GM. Sure, he played little league and high school, but he was never drafted and never graced the lineup card of a minor league team. Gemini Christmas, he's an Ivy Leaguer who majored in math! What experience did he have to lead our organization to a World Series? Little if any I would argue. But the ownership saw something I didn't. A sort of efficiency argument. A business argument. They began to look at things like payroll dollars per win and payroll dollars per run scored. This was all foreign to me. What happened to the old guard? Baseball folk have naturally been former players. What the heck was going on? I guess I see the direction we're headed but I'm not buying into it.

But somebody in the front office has to be on my side. I don't know who. I certainly don't have pictures of anybody, so it's beyond me that they would be keeping an old fart like me around. Granted, I'm only 49 but that's how I feel. We don't have the lowest payroll nor the highest. We're middle of the road and simply looking to maximize our opportunities. I'm all for that but making me hire someone without any experience and making him and I agree on all prospects coming out of Georgia is flat wrong.

Reluctantly (more like kicking and screaming), I agreed to meet "stat boy" tomorrow at a junior college in Perry, Georgia, to scout two players that "stat boy" previously emailed me. We'll then make it over to Middle Georgia State to scout several other players of his. By the way, none of them were mentioned in Manny's 4-inch, three-ring binder of prospects from Georgia. This ought to be good. If "stat boy" and I are really going to make a go of it, I figured it would be well worth my time to show him my approach to scouting these players and to compare my reports with his. And if we have time, perhaps we can run over to Macon U to scout the homeless man loitering around first base that both Goldie and now apparently our GM thought was a "can't miss" prospect.

Goldie did mention something about law school final exams this week but he said he could probably reschedule tomorrow's final if it was absolutely necessary for him to scout tomorrow. Of course, I told him it was absolutely necessary.

"And while you're at it Goldie, see if you can get me some stats on kids who start out 0 for 2 and end the game 2 for 4."

Goldie grinned from ear to ear as he wheeled off towards his special van parked in handicap. "You won't regret this Cutter. We're gonna make a great team."

"Yeah, we'll see kid."


Anonymous Mr. C said...

Awesome blog! Found you via Deadspin. I'm hooked and eagerly look forward to more of your fascinating stories from the road. I traveled in a small-time rock band for several years and you really nail the nuances of constantly running around the southeast looking for gold. I have probably eaten in several hundred different Cracker Barrel's in this country so I can relate. But make no mistake, baseball is waaay cooler than rock and roll. You are one lucky guy.

1:44 AM  

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