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Thursday, March 11, 2021

Baseball scouts return to the ballpark after COVID-19 pandemic decimates industry

On the one-year anniversary after being sent home when baseball closed its doors with the COVID-19 pandemic, and being prohibited from scouting at Major League ballparks during the truncated 60-game season, they are back.

“It’s been tough, very tough,’’ said Kansas City Royals scout Jim Fregosi Jr., “emotionally and mentally. When you’re a scout, and with all of the weird hours we keep, your friends are limited. Your closest friends are scouts and others in baseball. There’s not too many of us that know how to do anything else.

“This is our livelihood, and there’s a fear there won’t be many scouts out there anymore, so being back is very emotional.’’

The scouting industry has drastically shrunk in the last year, with about 20% of professional scouts laid off since the start of the pandemic. There still are 13 teams who don’t plan to scout Major League Baseball games in person this year, even at the Class AA and Triple-A level. The guidelines distributed by MLB to clubs this week, and obtained by USA TODAY Sports, prohibit more than one scout per team at games this year, and are providing only a minimum if six scout seats behind home plate.

“It’s brutal, we feel like we’re on an island anyways, but it’s so tough to see,’’ said former major league outfielder Mitch Webster, a scout with the Royals.

“You’re still hearing about some clubs having layoffs and pay cuts even with the fans coming back.’’

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 11, 2021 at 11:54 AM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: coronavirus, scouts

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: March 11, 2021 at 03:44 PM (#6008275)
The profession was in trouble/transition before the pandemic hit, the pandemic just sped things up a good bit and gave teams the experience of what it would be like without scouts at all. The reduction in minor-league teams was also gonna reduce the number of scouts needed regardless. Much of this is just automation -- everybody's got the video and the fancy measurements and you don't need 20 guys travelling across 150 minor league teams, 300 colleges and 300 high schools anymore. It's not clear to me how you idenfity the 500 amateurs you need to focus on to start with in the new world.

There still are 13 teams who don’t plan to scout Major League Baseball games in person this year, even at the Class AA and Triple-A level.

That's a confusing sentence but not a good one for scouts.
   2. Cblau Posted: March 11, 2021 at 09:19 PM (#6008343)
"One-year anniversary". Geesh, doesn't USA Today have editors?

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