MLB Scout School: Day 2
“ A scout must be a positive thinker.”
-MLSB Scout Development Handbook
“Get out a piece of paper and roll it up like a spy glass; like you did when you were in 3rd grade,” instructed Jim Walton. Having scouted for the last 36 years (a.k.a. my entire life span), Mr. Walton is a bit of a legend in the scouting world. So when he says look through your spy glass, with blind allegiance, we all follow. He explains to us that what we must do as scouts is “to train our eyes to see what we are looking for.” Or in more existential terms – scout through “meaningful watching.”
Today, we observed a game between the Cubs and Diamondbacks in the Instructional Leagues. It was difficult for me to evaluate all that was around me. There was just so much to look at – from the pitcher’s mechanics, to the second baseman’s double play attempt, to how fast the hitter could run to first base. I didn’t know where to focus my eyes. In the end, I stopped trying to write everything down and just observed the players while listening to my instructor’s commentaries.
I loved listening to my instructor Rusty Gerhardt. He teaches by asking us questions. For example, Mr. Gerhardt kept asking us with each pitching change, “where is the pitcher’s hand when the stride foot lands?” With pitching being my favorite aspect of the game, these types of questions and discussions were my favorite. Tomorrow, I hope to do a better job of writing what I am seeing while also listening to my instructor.
I have seen so many baseball games in my career as a player, coach, and fan but now it’s different. Now I am seeing the game through the eyes of a scout. So whether, I roll up my own paper spy glass or just visualize 77-year-old Mr. Walton standing up in front of class with his own lens, I will remember to scout using a meaningful gaze.
As we ended our first day, our head instructor gave one last warning. He told the group that after we finish this scout program we will never look at a baseball game or player the same way. And I think that is so exciting.