Thursday, December 15, 2005

Performance Scouting? Never. (Part III)

Today was a travel day from Macon, Ga to Tampa, Fl. The I-75 express (and for those of you who were wondering, I opted for the Bar-B-Q Pulled Pork at Sonny's instead of my usual at Cracker Barrel). I spent quite a bit of my drive-time talking on my cell to HS coaches and a few JC coaches. Whenever I get the chance, I make it a habit to drill them about certain players' tendencies, their reactions to certain game situations, their performance in the classroom or lack thereof, and strangely, what their parents look like. If a HS senior is 6'3" and a buck fifty, but Pops is 6'4" and 230 (without the spare tire), then odds are that this kid is still filling out and will likely have more power in the coming years. Yes, I look at that stuff.

Goldie on the other hand could care less. We spent most of yesterday driving around central Georgia looking at talent (I use that term loosely) that he had identified as potential draft picks. I need not go any further than the first prospect we looked at. A pitcher from Perry JC. Let's call him Rio Cabrara. The head coach knew we were coming so he had the sophomore begin with a routine pen warm-up and then had him throw about 30 pitches through the heart of the lineup. The kids batting knew we were watching so they were trying their hardest to impress at the expense of their "star" pitcher. Keep in mind that Manny, my predecessor scout in this area, had nothing on Rio. Nothing. That included AAU and the local high school.

In talking with the coach beforehand, he explained that his team was forced to play with mostly freshmen last year due to some academic suspensions and other unforeseen reasons. He said they simply got rocked defensively and led the conference in errors and runs scored against. It also didn't help that they were dead last in runs scored. But of course he was all optimistic about this year considering that mostly all of his freshman have returned. Just as the coach was wrapping it up, Goldie started in on me with what I would call an "idea". At first I thought the "idea" was rather novel (if not ridiculous), but in the last 24 hours I've discovered that the "idea" really isn't all that new-- which just goes to confirm my old fart status. Here's what he said (as best as I can remember):

"When it comes to pitching, I focus on home runs, strikeouts, and walks. These are what the pitcher can control. Last year, Rio allowed the fewest home runs and walks in his conference and was like 5th in strikeouts. It wasn't his fault that the infield was like swiss cheese. The guy had one of the best ground ball to fly ball ratios in college."

Where do I even begin?

Anyhow, let me pick up on this tomorrow evening. I could easily write for another hour or two about what transpired after Goldie's "revelation," but I'm beat from the drive and would hate to just ramble on. Let me distill it down to a manageable post and we'll take it from there.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is little question this blog is a fraud... it's pure fiction, probably some college kid who wants to be the next Theo... sooooo transparent

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is little question..." -- really?

Maybe the blog is on the level, maybe it isn't.

What it is, however, is a good read. I make a living reading college kids' writing and I would be truly surprised if your little "sooooo transparent" scenario were true. But I suppose five "o"s in "so" must make it true.

Whoever's putting this together, whether it's fiction or fact, I think it's one of the more engaging blogs I've run across in quite some time. "Cutter" has a distinctive voice and a kind of old-school charm. If this blog is someone's experiment in fictional baseball writing, I'd have to say it's been damn good so far.

If, on the other hand, it's really a kind of psycho-therapeutic release for an actual scout (whatever the odds), I compliment the guy for a surprisingly well-written account of his travels and travails.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Dr. Funkenstein said...

It is unquestionably fiction. Blog entries in real life do not read as scenes from a screenplay.

However, it is a decently engaging read, so I check it out periodically. Write on, "Cutter."

3:58 PM  
Blogger XXX said...

Dr. Funkenstein is dead on - I think any baseball fan reading this realizes it is fiction, but it still makes for entertaining fiction.

2:38 AM  

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