Just When You Think No One's Looking

They may look like a bunch of old men, the usual lawn chair crowd. Think again.

Your idea of the pro scout being the only one interested in your abilities and that position that you’re hold down is not what it may seem.

For example, there are many reasons for watching your abilities, and just as many reasons for those watching NOT to be pro scouts alone. In the lawn chair chorus are retired scouts - both affiliated and independents, who are there because they sense a buck to be made by offering their professional opinion(s). Then there are those that because of friendships and favors in the past, offer their opinions because they were asked to. Then there are amateurs who watch and advise the pro scouting regional or area scout of talent that’s worth watching. It’s that last one that’s very helpful to the business. Scouting offices and their ranks can’t be everywhere, so a lot of them depended on contacts that they’ve made along the way to help out. I often depended on such people.

Ok, so what direction is all this taking us? Well, the pro ball environment is not the only game in town. There are colleges and university’s, amateur associations and clubs that actively look for the best that they can get - any way and at any time. I’ve have courtesy calls to look at youngsters as young as 15. While looking at a particular player, It’s been my experience to not only noticed another player besides the one I was originally look at, but the player that I was originally observing would have made a much better position player elsewhere. Hence, my observations and narration followed suit.

The point that I’m trying to make here is this - be the best that you can be both on and off the field. Don’t do things off the field that detract from what you do on the field. And when on the field, act like a gentleman. Respect your teammates, your competition, and always respect the official representatives of baseball - umpires. With respect to umpires, regardless of the call(s), show no emotion of dissatisfaction. By following these simple, yet effective recommendations, you’ll be showing one or two people that are watching -for a reason, that you’re worth sticking their neck out for.

I’m often putting kids where they are suited to play rather than where they have spent the most time. It’s surprising how many kids are put at 2B or 3B who have no business playing there or how many coaches consider RF their weakest spot, when I consider LF to be the weakest defensive player on the field. Also, it’s shocking how many kids play catcher who can’t move fast enough and with enough coordination to block a ball thrown to either side of the plate. Parents love it when they send their kid to the ball park with personal catching gear and I don’t put them behind the dish. It’s not fair to the pitcher, even in a blow out because even though the inning doesn’t mean anything to the game, it still means something to that pitcher.

A long time ago, I volunteered to help a 17U club. Their Skipper assembled a tryout by randomly placing everyone present at various locations - 1st, 2nd, etc. The only positions he didn’t want to see were the batteries - that was left to me.

He would put balls in play and assign one play scenario after the other - then observe the results. He would then repeat, rotating everyone on the field to the next position.

I was amazed at how some players gravitated to a certain position while doing poorly at other positions. When all was said and done, there was a reality check by some parents, an acknowledgement by others, but a total consensus by each player that made the club and the position that they were assigned.

I was fortunate with my assignment - those battery combinations had worked together since they first tossing a ball back and forth.

True…you never know who’s looking, or watching. When I was playing, I was sometimes asked if my pitching coach was ever at the games when I was starting, or relieving. I never knew, so I had no answer to that question—but I would not have been at all surprised if he would sneak into the ballpark on a day when he wasn’t pitching but I was, and he would sit and watch me for three innings or so, just to keep tabs on me, see how I was doing. I do know one thing: he would get a tremendous kick out of seeing what my crossfire slider was doing to the opposing batters!