Humorous case histories and profiles of great baseball scouts accompany a discussion of the trade secrets of baseball scouts, the economics of scouting, player development, and the history of the profession. In a new epilogue Kevin Kerrane explores the world of baseball scouting in the late 1990s.
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Good for diehards, but dated and riddled w errors
This had been in my queue a while and was a good listen to get back into baseball during spring training. Some great history, anecdotes and perspective on how the sausage is made in building baseball organizations. It is remarkable just how distinct the baseball scouting process and the formation of teams are from the process of Human Resources that govern most of the rest of the professional world.
Obviously, the book is dated. It shows in ways expected by the baseball fan, for example how completely lacking statistical analytics were in the era, and the unavailability of video of prospects. It also shows in ways that were unexpected if not unsurprising, with players being described with phrases like "a loosey-goosey black," or in the scouts' reliance on racial stereotype, i.e., "blacks are fast," "Italians get fat in their 20s, just when Polish kids are losing their baby fat."
Finally, I am always amazed when a narration includes rampant mispronunciation. After all, this production was meant to be read out loud. I guess the narrator is a member of the author's family, and that is great, but obviously he is not as much a fan of the game as the author. Juan Marichal is "Mar-I-Kal," Birdie Tibbets' last name is pronounced like the region of Tibet with an "s" on the end, Frank Viola is "Vee-ola," and then of course there is Bill Veeck (who must hold the baseball record for having his name mispronounced in audiobooks: c'mon guys, Veeck's autobiography is titled "Veeck as in Wreck"). The list goes on and on. I am not going to list all of the names mispronounced here. It is probably a minor thing. An annoyance. But in a production that is meant to be read out loud, literally that has that as its purpose, should it be excusable? It did take away something from the enjoyment for me.
- J. A. Walsh