Everybody wants to win. Many times people complain that the umpire lost the game for them. This is simply not true. Yes, some umpires are not as good as others. Yes, I know it is frustrating when will not give your pitcher that call. I know it is frustrating when an umpire misses a call. This is all understandable.
What I do not understand is the people who yell at umpires ALL THE TIME. I think all umpires deserve respect and patience EVEN AT THE PROFESSIONAL LEVEL. I know that umpires doing the games at the professional level should be the best of the best. But do they miss calls? Yes. Is it acceptable for a PROFESSIONAL athlete to stand in the field screaming at an umpire? NO. Is it acceptable for a high school coach or travel ball coach to yell at the umpire? NO. Why? Because professional athletes and coaches are role models and leaders.
As a player, I have no respect for a coach or another player who yells and screams at umpires. Why not focus on your job and what you can do to make the team successful? for example using the You can control your performance and your attitude. If you disagree with a call or are confused about a call, simply call timeout and have a discussion with an umpire. I know from experience this will get you and your team a lot farther than screaming.
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I wrote this column a while ago and have been sitting on it ever since. I didn’t think it would ever run at , so I figured I’d post it here—especially timely with the new scouts exhibit opening at the Hall of Fame.
There’s a common misconception among readers that writers at Baseball America are scouts. I’ve seen it debated on message boards and we often get asked questions in chats as if we’re scouts. Personally, I’m not sure where the misconception comes from, as you wouldn’t think that the writers at Seventeen are teenagers or the writers at Motor Trend are mechanics.
We are always the first to debunk the belief that we’re scouts or preface any personal opinions we provide by stating, “Now, we’re not scouts, but. . . ” We do that because we have so much respect for the men who actually are employed to evaluate players and present their opinions.
But, just so we’re clear, I’ll say it again: We’re journalists. We are not scouts.
Yes, we often will write about players we’ve seen and we’ll tell you how fast a pitcher was throwing, what kind of offspeed pitches he throws, the that he used or how fast an outfielder got from 体彩手机在线app to first.
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That’s not scouting, that’s just reporting. Anybody can sit at a game and hold a radar gun or click a stopwatch.
However, there’s a growing number of people online who think the opposite. It’s baffling to me how many blogs are popping up where writers try to come off as if they’re scouting players. This is a trend that needs to end.
Just because you have a radar gun or a video camera, that doesn’t mean you’re a scout. If you don’t work for a professional team, you’re not a scout. And frankly, calling yourself a scout is just plain disrespectful to the men out there putting their name on the line every day.
Real scouts are the all-too-often nameless, faceless backbone of an organization. Wannabe scouts are the opposite: attention-seeking egomaniacs screaming, ‘Hey! Look at me!’ in every corner of the internet.
Scouting can’t be a hobby. It isn’t just about evaluating players every now and then, when you have free time. It’s about the grind. Scouts routinely put 45,000 miles on their car every year. During baseball season, they spend more time with other scouts than they do with their own families.
It’s easy to go watch some minor leaguers in spring training. It’s easy to go to one college game a week. Try keeping that same focus when you’re in your 10th city in as many days and you haven’t seen your wife in three weeks. Your kids call crying because they miss their daddy.
In addition to the daily schedule and grueling travel of a professional scout, there are many more elements that set the real guys apart. Watching players is only part of their job. They have to develop relationships with coaches, players, parents and agents. They have to gauge signability, research medical history and get a good feel for the player’s makeup. This is as important to scouting as the evaluation of a player’s tools and it can’t be done by seeing a player once.
If a blogger is wrong about their evaluation of a prospect, they write it off as no big deal. Sweep it under the rug and move on. There’s no accountability and nobody cares. If a scout is wrong about his evaluation of a prospect, it can cost his team a million dollars or more. On the other hand, if a blogger is right, he’ll likely toot his own horn for years. If a scout is right, he’s lucky to get a pat on the back and a text from the player he signed when he makes the big leagues.
Just because you enjoy cooking, that doesn’t make you a chef. Just because you enjoy watching movies, that doesn’t make you Roger Ebert and just because you enjoy watching baseball, that doesn’t make you a scout.
The school in question sent out a follow-up memo to scouts. No scout will be denied access to any game. There will now be 16 seats behind 体彩手机在线app plate reserved for scouts, as well as room for more in a standing area. Cameras and backpacks will also be allowed.
Yesterday, a scout e-mailed me a list of restrictions that was sent by a college to all scouts in the area. The school is apparently cracking down this year . . . but why? And at what cost? I’m not going to publicize which school sent this out—not because I don’t think it’s atrocious, but because I think it’s probably a bigger issue than just one school. Singling this school out would be unfair, because I’m sure other schools are (or are considering) doing something similar.
It doesn’t need to be this way, and the best examples on both sides work hard to create solid working relationships, but there can be bad blood between scouts and . Some college coaches think scouts steal their players. Scouts believe some college programs abuse their pitchers.
There are disagreements about the value of a scholarship offered by a college program compared to what MLB teams offer through their college scholarship plan. The most obvious that the school’s scholarships are aluminum and composite bats while the MLB’s scholarships are . Most of those arguments are for another day. For now, let’s look at the e-mail that was sent out, with the restrictions in bold and my thoughts below each one . . .
Scouts have to purchase tickets — they will only have a select number of scout tickets available, so you have to arrive early. I don’t have a problem with college teams making scouts buy tickets. Want to make a few extra bucks because you have prospects on your team? Go ahead. But what is the point of limiting the number of scout tickets—especially (as you’ll see below) when those tickets don’t really get you anything?
The school will only sell one ticket per scout, so arriving early to buy multiple tickets for everyone else is not allowed. This seems like it’s just making it extra difficult for scouts to do their job. Do you allow families to buy tickets for people who aren’t present? Seriously, what is the difference? Perhaps the craziest thing about all of this is that the college team in question has a former scout on their payroll!
Once the school has sold all scout tickets, no more will be issued. I don’t know how many tickets constitutes a “select number,” but here’s a novel idea—be accommodating to scouts. Treating them like an inconvenience is just plain wrong. Schools should feel fortunate that scouts want to come see their players. If a school is concerned that scouts somehow interfere with fans’ enjoyment of the game, the school should consider this: Fans want the players to be drafted as highly as possible. Plus, it’s good for the long-term success of the team to have the players drafted as highly as possible. Being seen is kind of a key component to that. Pissing scouts off just isn’t in the best interest of a university. The next time a scout in the area sees a player who isn’t ready for pro baseball but would be a good college player, he probably isn’t going to tip off the school who went out of their way to make his job as difficult as possible.
No seats will be available behind 体彩手机在线app plate. There is a thin row up top, between the press box and the back row of seats, that is standing room only. Scouts need to have access behind 体彩手机在线app plate to see the movement on pitches. They need certain angles and viewpoints to do their job correctly. On the other hand, fans don’t need to sit anywhere special. I get wanting to give your fans great access, but what is the problem with setting aside two or three rows behind 体彩手机在线app plate for scouts, especially when you’re already making them buy tickets? Set aside a few rows for scouts and if they aren’t sold 30 minutes before game time, open them up to the public. Also, this wasn’t an issue that snuck up on this particular university. They have known that this year was going to be big and could have built more bleachers if they were so worried about scouts taking the place of fans. South Carolina—a school with a lot more history and draft success than the school in question, I might add—did it the right way. There is a designated area for scouts at Carolina Stadium, right behind 体彩手机在线app plate.
No video cameras allowed. This is just absurd! What’s next? No stopwatches because the beeping annoys the fans? No pens and paper? No sunscreen? I’ll stop there. I don’t want to give the school any ideas. Good luck enforcing this one!
No backpacks. OK, now this is starting to feel more like an article from The Onion, rather than actual rules college teams are going to try and impose on professional scouts. That’s right . . . no backpacks at the game on the UNIVERSITY CAMPUS. Good rules make sense because the reason behind them is obvious. This isn’t a good rule. It’s just another petty way for the school to flex their muscle and make things more difficult. Concerned about security? Check bags at the gate. Concerned about space? For what, the seats the scouts aren’t allowed to use? What’s the difference between a backpack and a shoulder bag, or a woman’s purse?
All scouts must exit the ballpark 15 minutes prior to the game and get back in line to have their ticket scanned. Again, another petty example of needless enforcement. If you’re going to make scouts buy tickets and you’re going to let them in early, why can’t you just scan their tickets when you let them in?
Edit: The other part, that I didn’t even think of when I initially posted this, is the players’ point of view. If you’re a current player, a recruit, a parent of a player or a recruit, or an adviser—you hate this. You want to be seen as much as possible. Maybe this doesn’t affect the top players, but it will certainly have a negative impact on players lower down the pecking order. It’s bad for the scouts, it’s bad for the players, it’s bad for the college program as a whole. Nobody wins.
It’s astounding that a college baseball program would have the arrogance and short-sightedness to get all heavy-handed like this with scouts. And for what . . . 20-50 seats per game? Is that worth the potential long-term ramifications of scouts in the area turning on you? No chance.
If you’re a scout reading this: I’m sorry you have to deal with things like this. Your job is difficult enough already without this sort of nonsense.
If you’re involved with a college program and you’re reading this: Consider this Example A of “What Not To Do.”
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