View Full Version : More of the mess Bud has created

02-08-2002, 06:29 PM
You never think about it,but,

Marlins scouts among the losers in shuffling

By Rod Beaton, USA TODAY

I know it is a cliché to say scouts are the backbone of baseball, but clichés become clichés because they are deeply rooted in fact.

Scouts do find baseball's best. They live in cheap motels, eat too much junk food, spend hours on the phone, pumping kids and grownups for background information to fill out their reports.

Scouts are overlooked and underpaid — and now some of them are getting a raw deal. Florida scouts uncovered a lot of the talent that elevated the Marlins to the 1997 World Series championship. They've restocked the club again to the cusp of contending.

Now many of them face unemployment.

The Marlins were sold to Jeffrey Loria, the Montreal owner who is unloading one troubled franchise for another. Loria is bringing some of his scouts and administrators to Pro Player Stadium to work for him there. That means the holdovers get the boot.

That staff has been depleted already by defections of the lucky ones who found work elsewhere. It's an Enron-esque pattern. Most of the top men got out in time. The rank-and-file didn't.

Assistant general managers Scott Reid and John Westoff were able to follow former Marlins GM Dave Dombrowski to Detroit, where he became club president. Two others bolted to Pittsburgh — assistant GM Al Avila and superscout Jax Robertson.

Those who left and those who remain are wary of criticism from the commissioner's office about how everything has been handled.

"I don't want to be Curt Flood," said one Marlins scout, referring to the great center fielder from the 1960s who challenged baseball's reserve clause and was pushed out of the game.

The only one who has dared to speak out publicly is Dick Egan, 64, a longtime scout who's respected throughout the industry and a former Scout of the Year.

"It's a travesty, the way it has been handled," Egan said in the Fort Lauderale Sun Sentinel. "People can't get answers."

Sandy Alderson is the executive vice president for baseball operations for MLB. He said Thursday that no official decision could be made on the fate of holdover Marlins employees until the sale is done.

He provided assurances those under contract will have their contracts honored and, if not, will get a generous severance. He said some out-of-work scouts would be hired to scout for the MLB-run Expos. We'll see.

This is not a good time to be scouting for a job. And no one really knows anything until the sale is finalized, possibly as soon as Tuesday.

Ballplayers get a minimum $200,000 salary. A lot of the scouts, administrators and secretaries in limbo earn little more than 10% of that. They need to know their fate and they need a fair deal.