Prospects - College and Beyond

Your pretty good on the field. Your ball handling skills are worth a comment or two, your location is decent as is your velocity. On the field, when called upon to take a second position, you can hold your own without question. At bat, pretty good numbers and your form isn’t all that bad either.

There are many levels of scouting - not all are of the pro-scout image that you might have in your head. Amateurs as well as those that get paid to do this job, graze the ball diamonds during the season(s) and pass on comments to those that need such information.

So, besides the ball handling skills that are customary and expected, there are other characteristics that you should have on the shelf.

Why? Read on…

Let’s say you’re a scout. You’re sent to watch a youngster on any given day, and today’s the day. You check into a motel, get something to eat, unpack your bags, look at your map and directions to the park that you want to go, get into your car - or call a taxi, and off you go.

Up to this point - here’s what you’ve done.

  • You’re being paid to be where you are.
  • You’re being paid - reimbursed for the motel room, food, an expense voucher for gas/taxi.
  • You’re opinion(s) are worth reading and you’re respected as worth in your profession.

Ok, you get to the park, settle in - and there the youngster is. This is the one to watch.

Here’s what you take note of:

  • Very well qualified for what your interested in, skill wise.
  • Strong, very good speed, good baseball instincts, tough kid.
  • Foul mouth, takes advantage of less talented teammates with crude remarks.
  • Slams helmet down after striking out, tosses bat on the ground.
  • Sour grapes antics at umpires.
  • Has friends meet on the side of bench during the game and laughs and jokes.
  • Makes “cat calls” and off-color remarks towards the other team.
  • During the lineup after the game for shaking hands, twists the hands of the other team’s players.

After the game, you’ve seen what you came to see. You arrive back at your motel, get something to eat, then settle into your room for report time.

Here’s what you must consider - based on what you saw:

  • Will your organization be served by the contributions of this player?
  • Will you qualify every aspect of what you saw - talent and other actions?
  • Will you be supporting the person that you report to if you focus only on the playing skills?
  • Was this trip worth it - time and money wise? **
  • There was another youngster, not as talented - but, with a little time and effort could be brought along - would you include that youngster in your reporting?

I should note that this is not an unusual experience for scouts - amateur or professional. And although your not aware of the total scouting environment and what wraps around this work - use what you would reason out.

In my response to this situation, I’ll fill in some of the blanks.

DON’T FOCUS ON WHAT YOU THINK A SCOUT’S JOB IS - focus on what you might do.

Coach B.

** This is something that your not expected to know.

I think you have a really good point there Coach Baker.
Baseball players (and all athletes- in fact everybody) should be respectable in all aspects.
We need to be as good off the field as on the field.
Stan Musial was one of the greatest baseball players ever,
he was called “The Man”.
He was “a class act”.
Not only was he a great baseball player,
but he was also a great person.

I would only add that you should also carry yourself properly online as well. Scouts, future employers, etc. these days will do simple Google searches on your name in attempt to further assess character, etc. So, clean up your MySpace, FaceBook, and other social networking sites.

Amen Roger

[quote]Stan Musial was one of the greatest baseball players ever,
he was called “The Man”.
He was “a class act”.
Not only was he a great baseball player,
but he was also a great person.[/quote]

In the contemporary world…Derrick Jeter.

CardsWin and Roger stated my purpose with this posting, and nicely I might add.

Wether you know or not, you’re being watched and graded on the field for more than just your playing ability. In addition, other things are in the mix that have a greater impact on your future - both short and long range, than you think.

But, since this is a baseball web site that primarily deals with that sport - in particular pitching, I’ll stick to that environment.

The two fields of interest that I touched upon in my original post were the college game and the professional game. Ok, lets see what’s on their side of the fence and how you either fit in, or don’t.

I honestly don’t think there is a more “if-ee” job then there is being a baseball coach at the college level. Baseball isn’t exactly a barnburner for ticket sales, TV contracts, vendor promotions and so on. The game’s playing seasons of the off-season, preseason, prime playing season, and the post-season doesn’t exactly fit neatly between the pages of a college curriculum.
Add to that, recruiting is pain, not to mention expense justifications, NCAA and other posturing by whatever governing body comes down the pike, “can’t do this - can’t do that”. In my opinion, it’s a wonder that college ball has survived at all. But, here we are.
Now after all is said and done, a place in a college classroom costs big bucks. Dorm space, study hall space, parking space, cafeteria space and so on, has to be justified with respect to the cost benefit relationships of who-gets-what. Every single student has to be reasoned out as being a contributor, somehow, to that equation. Add to all this the ever present atmosphere of institutional politics, and a baseball recruiter and his/her head coach, director of athletics, etc., really has their work cut out for them.
So, here you come along. The people that are looking at you to potentially be a member of this institution and put on its uniform and represent its name, its traditions, its pecking order with other institutions has a lot of “if’s” orbiting it. Bottom line - are you worth the risk of all of the heretofore mentioned names (people) to risk their jobs, their likelihood, their professional reputations, a line item on a budget because of your personal demeanor, your conduct, your track record of behavior? Can you give your word as a man to keep your grades up, address the strength and conditioning requirements set forth for you, contribute to something bigger than yourself? Like I said, there is no more “if-ee” job security than being a college baseball coach. So, you do the math.

Let me start off by asking you something- if you were going to pay good money for a car, would you got to a lot, sit behind the wheel and say - “I’ll take it”, whip out cold hard cash and drive it away without the slightest bit homework on the car’s condition, it’s care, it’s looks, and definitely a test drive? Of course not.
When, and if, you’re being considered for a professional life, I can guarantee you that the “let’s take a look” by people who have money, aren’t about to spend that money without knowing just about anything and everything about you. This includes who and what you are, who your family is, who does what in your family, and so on. Like with the car that’s on a lot that for sale, the people that run the business end of this sport are not accustomed to failure, hearing the word no, or worse of all - being associated with losers. The owners of this business, at all levels, surround themselves with professionals and skilled people that keep them in the owner’s box, with all the pomp and bragging rights that their privileged pedigree bestows. Never underestimate the power of ownership and how this trickles down to even the janitorial services of a club - EVERY PROFESSIONAL CLUB.
The bottom line here is simple - if you want to associate and sit in first class, you’ve got to act like it. There is little if any room to groom behavior - talent yes, being a jerk, no. Again, if you’re being considered for the professional life you’re being considered to associate with the job security of all the relatives that go by that name.

Coach B.