Dave · June 6, 2005 at 7:10 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Jon Paul Morosi has some good stuff in the P-I this morning. I especially recommend his piece on Grady Fuson, who I’ve said a number of good things about on the blog over the years. Fuson should absolutely be running an organization right now, and I’d be thrilled if it was ours.


43 Responses to “Scouting”

  1. Seth Kolloen on June 6th, 2005 9:04 am

    In a sidebar
    to the aformentioned article, Fuson says that a college education is his #1 qualification for a baseball scout.

    Why does someone need to have attended college to be a baseball scout?

  2. James on June 6th, 2005 9:30 am

    #1, I think it’s fairly obvious why Grady would want someone who graduated from college. It shows most importantly that they had some semblance of intelligence beyond a “baseball iq” and is also probably indicative of decent work habits. There are defintely many intelligent people who did not graduate from college and or did not even attend, but as a scout Grady knows the percentage game and removing as many risks as possible, and with that said you are more likely to find good work habits, a broad knowledge base, and probably most important, good communication skills in a college grad than a high school graduate.

  3. James on June 6th, 2005 9:37 am

    Yeah I agree Dave that it would be great if the Mariners would go after Grady. I wasn’t aware of his Northwest ties before this article and I would think that would only serve to make a Mariners/Grady match, that much more appealing to ownership (paging WFB, Sele). In this case however, it would actually make sense to acquire him regardless of where he attended college or coached.

  4. Evan on June 6th, 2005 9:45 am

    My BA is not evidence that I have decent work habits.

  5. Paul D on June 6th, 2005 9:55 am

    Just like in the corporate world, a college degree in and of itself is meaningless – nobody at my work in IT consulting cares that I was an English Lit major. What they look for in a college education is two things: the ability to think critically and structure an argument, and the ability to set a goal and achieve it.

    I would imagine that it’s no different with baseball scouting, at least on the critical thinking angle – a scout gets reams of information on an almost daily basis, and if that scout can’t distill the info down to something useful, it doesn’t do anybody any good.

  6. Dave in Palo Alto on June 6th, 2005 10:57 am

    Not to demean college education — I had gobs of it — but I think baseball could do without college degree snobbery. Presidents (Truman) and Prime Ministers (Callahan) were able to run modern nations without the benefit of college. Did Marty Martinez have a degree under his belt when he picked up Edgar>

  7. Jim Thomsen on June 6th, 2005 11:03 am

    My bachelor’s and master’s degrees are evidence only that I’m willing to spend insane amounts of money to do what other people tell me I need to do to get ahead. In other words, to prove my supposedly superior intelligence by checking my common sense at the door. I personally would hire a high school dropout with abundant intuitive sense over some goofball who majored in Balzac or Proust or quantim physics but can’t manage to have a socially adept conversation or follow driving directions.

  8. Adam J. Morris on June 6th, 2005 11:26 am

    “Fuson should absolutely be running an organization right now,”

    A lot of us Rangers fans agree, and think that it is the Ranger organization that he should be running…

  9. Drago on June 6th, 2005 11:53 am

    I think those of us who have gone to college would agree that many of the most important lessons learned during that time had little to do with “book learnin’.” In college, you get a crash course on self-reliance, responsibility, self-motivation, organization, time management, people skills, etc. This is not to say that many high school graduates who never go to college do not pick up these skill. However, college is a fairly effective (though not perfect) filter for these types of knowledge.

  10. Russ on June 6th, 2005 11:58 am


    College is great, I recommend it for everyone.

    Sadly everyone is going and frankly, not everyone should. Some people manage to prove the Peter Principle correct in their first job, let alone when they’ve managed to move up the ladder a bit.

    The ability to complete a goal is fine if the goal is worth pursuing. Sadly the first part is often missing (ability to think critically) with sad results.

    There are those who are academically educated and make the most of it, Thomas Jefferson for one. There are also those who have little formal education, speak slowly and out think many scholars.

    As always, hiring is a crapshoot. Sometimes you get the goose who lays the golden egg, sometimes you just step in it.

  11. PositivePaul on June 6th, 2005 12:49 pm


    That’s about all my German major was good for. I can make up really cool German-sounding words to replace real cuss words that accidently slip out in front of my toddler when I’m watching JJ Putz serve up homers…

    However, what I learned in spite of my classes and professors in college has definitely helped me, and is pretty much worth every penny of the loans that I’m still repaying. They can repo my car, but they can’t repo my college education (at least without hearing from someone like Amnesty International)!

    What I got out of it was the desire for scouts to have professional experience. I agree that it would give you an extra bit of knowledge and edge than someone who didn’t have that experience. Of course, it’s hard getting that professional experience in the first place, so it’s the same catch-22 for someone trying to find such a job. You have to have experience to get hired, and you have to get hired to get experience. Fortunately I found my break, but I know of several others who are still struggling.

  12. jc on June 6th, 2005 12:49 pm

    I agree a college education is important.But i do disagree that you should have one to scout does a college degree tell you about those long bus rides ?Does it tell you about instincts for the game of baseball?Does it tell you how a 18 year old kid will react when he is away from mom his girlfriend 1500 miles for the first time?You can be as smart as you want and understand numbers all you want but the bottom line is its like any other job to get really good it takes years of experience in any field.The clevland indians and the colorado rockies are starting to understand they hired 2 ivy league grads as general managers since then those clubs have went from selling out and being contenders to last place colorado and clevland middle of the pack .These 2 franschises sold out every game for years odowd took over in colorado and shapiro in clevland they went from sellouts to being mediocre and i think this is because of the product and plan these 2 men had.We all are armchair quarterbacks in one way are another but we are finding out here in seattle Benny Looper wasnt gonna be a yes guy so they got Bavasi who will do what ever chuckie and howie want and look were we are at.Just a thought from a fan who wants the mariners better.

  13. Dave on June 6th, 2005 12:56 pm


    College would have taught you some semblance of grammar and sentence structure. It’s not too late.

    Also, for my money, Mark Shapiro is the best GM in the game. If you think the Indians slide from dominance to mediocrity is his fault, well, you’ve got an awful lot to learn.

  14. DMZ on June 6th, 2005 1:08 pm

    Cleveland’s got a .473 team on a $42m payroll. The Mariners are spending twice as much and getting less. Cleveland’s got a good organization going.

  15. jc on June 6th, 2005 1:32 pm

    they were a contending team when he took over what happened?So i dont have good grammer give it a rest scouting is the conversation not my grammer smarty.Thats your money if you like 3rd and 4th place finishes you got the right guy.Comparing anything with bavasais group is a joke we need help here.

  16. David J Corcoran on June 6th, 2005 1:35 pm

    Goodbye everyone. See you in a week.

  17. Russ on June 6th, 2005 1:37 pm

    Asploded once again.

  18. jc on June 6th, 2005 1:38 pm

    #13 whos fault is it?All orgs start at the top.Also the best Gm in baseball without even a doubt is Mr.Terry Ryan hands down there isnt even anyone close.

  19. Brett Farve on June 6th, 2005 1:43 pm

    The “best” GM is either the one that gets the most World Series rings (if you are a fan) or the one that brings the highest return on investment (if you are an owner) … or … not sure of another possibility.

    Has Terry Ryan done either?

  20. jc on June 6th, 2005 1:48 pm

    Terry ryan has been with the twins from 1981 as a area scout cross checker,scouting director.assistant gm and gm he has got 2 world series rings and he did it the right way not off some piece of paper that says you have a college degree are his dad being a famous agent are a famous gm to help you get the job .He worked his ass off and he has been rewarded the right way if any one remembers the values of hard work.

  21. Brett Farve on June 6th, 2005 1:50 pm

    My point (generally) is that in order to say “best GM”, you need some way of quantifying it and not just a feeling. There are hundreds of scouts who work hard, some probably harder than Terry Ryan ever did … why can’t they be best?

  22. jc on June 6th, 2005 1:54 pm

    They keep winning there division with the low payroles every year they ar allways the best at developing there own players and bringing them thru there system and teaching them the right way.Just read articles about there org how other baseball people praise them.Is theo the best he spent 140 million are how bout cashman 175 million i think you get whAT IM SAYING.

  23. Brett Farve on June 6th, 2005 2:02 pm

    I am not disagreeing with you, I just think that it is important to have a valid reason for making your argument. Cashman spends lots of money, yes, but he also has a few WS rings as GM, does he not?

    While it is honorable to do “more with less”, that is not necessarily what the average fan wants; s/he wants a World Series victory (or at least an appearance).

    You offer up division titles? What about Schuerholz in Atlanta?

  24. Evan on June 6th, 2005 2:11 pm

    Schuerholz deserves some commendation for that. 13 consecutive division championships tells you a lot about his ability to build a competitive team today without trading away tomorrow.

  25. Paul Molitor Cocktail on June 6th, 2005 2:12 pm

    “Terry ryan has been with the twins from 1981 as a area scout cross checker,scouting director.assistant gm and gm he has got 2 world series rings and he did it the right way not off some piece of paper that says you have a college degree are his dad being a famous agent are a famous gm to help you get the job .He worked his ass off and he has been rewarded the right way if any one remembers the values of hard work.”

    One advantage of college is that you can learn how to write.

  26. jc on June 6th, 2005 2:15 pm

    The twins have been world series champions twice during his time in the org with no money that is honarable.Schuerholz is a very good gm also.He used to have alot of money to work with not anymore though.My arguement is what has shapiro done?notta nothing but go backwards with more money to spend then the twins most every year.

  27. jc on June 6th, 2005 2:16 pm

    Go ahead hammer my writing but the facts are just that the facts.

  28. Brett Farve on June 6th, 2005 2:22 pm

    Schuerholz deserves some commendation for that. 13 consecutive division championships tells you a lot about his ability to build a competitive team today without trading away tomorrow.

    Well said.

  29. Griff on June 6th, 2005 3:56 pm

    JC, it’s not really about your writing skills(or lack therof). I think what everyone’s asking here is just what your criteria for “Best GM” is.

    If you mean “Most rings”, then you kind of have to give it to Cashman. If you mean “Most wins per dollar spent”, then Beane or Shapiro is the guy. If you mean “Most consecutive division titles”, then give it to Schuerholz. Ryan does a lot with a little, granted. However, holding him up as “The Best” is somewhat dubious. If you have a quantifiable argument for your statement, now would be a good time.

    Otherwise, that dog just won’t hunt, like we used to say back in Spokane.

  30. The Ancient Mariner on June 6th, 2005 4:13 pm

    jc, the point of comments about your writing skill (or lack thereof) is twofold: one, your poor grammar, syntax, spelling and punctuation makes your posts a chore to read; and two, the incoherence of your presentation gives a strong impression that your thinking is equally incoherent–which, in this case, it is. Blaming Mark Shapiro because he inherited the decline phase John Hart left behind? Give me a break. (As for O’Dowd, if you’re going to blame the Rocks’ mediocrity on his plan, you have to tell us which plan you’re blaming of the half-dozen or so O’Dowd has used. Living in Colorado and following the home team to some extent, I personally incline to the theory that long-term success is impossible at this altitude without MLB accepting some sort of corrective measure.)

  31. Colm on June 6th, 2005 4:19 pm

    Oh go on, it’s fun for us college snobs to mock jcsrunonsentencesandrandom ?punctuation.

    jc, I think you are being obdurate about missing the point. Cleveland cut way back on payroll without developing a plan, pre-Mark Shapiro, to replace Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Albert Belle etc. That cost them their winning record and consecutive sellouts, not hiring a smartypants GM.

    And no one has ever figured out a way to maintain a competitive baseball team in Denver. After the novelty wore off, without wins, the local fans have gone elsewhere.

  32. Colm on June 6th, 2005 4:21 pm

    That said, kudos to jc for sticking his (her?) neck out every time, despite a queue of people willing to jump on his head.

  33. paul on June 6th, 2005 4:24 pm

    When did Hart leave?

  34. paul on June 6th, 2005 4:43 pm

    John Hart, the man who orchestrated baseball’s revival in Cleveland, will resign as general manager after the season. Mark Shapiro, Hart’s assistant for the last three years, will succeed him Nov. 1.

    Hart, 53, took over as general manager in September 1991, when the Indians were on the way to losing a franchise-record 105 games. From 1995 through 2000, the Indians have averaged 93 wins, won five division titles and reached the World Series in 1995 and 1997.

    He originally was signed through 2003 with four club options. Owner Larry Dolan rewrote the contracts of Hart and Shapiro before the April 5 announcement, signing them through 2005. Hart will be a senior adviser after he resigns, but few think he’ll stay for long.

    “I think John has something up his sleeve,” starting pitcher Dave Burba said.

    Hart said: “I’m a goal-oriented and challenge-driven guy. I’ve accomplished my goals here. I think I’ve achieved what I could achieve in Cleveland. The good thing is, there’s still gas left in this franchise’s tank.”

    Shapiro, in his 10th season with the Indians, made his mark as director of minor league operations when he instituted a winter development program for top prospects. He replaced Dan O’Dowd as assistant GM in November 1998.

    Colm, does Shapiro get a pass because he was only the Ass’t GM? Was it unfair because he had only 10 seasons to get a plan implemented?

  35. paul on June 6th, 2005 4:46 pm

    Shapiro at the helm: 248 wins, 293 losses.

    At this point it might be fair to lay off JC and ask Dave why he thinks Shapiro is the best GM in the game.

  36. jc on June 6th, 2005 4:52 pm

    TY because the indians have spent a whole lot more money then the twins in those years …..I dont even have to look it up…..Look how many homegrown products the twins have then compare it well to anyone and you see part of my answer..

  37. paul on June 6th, 2005 4:53 pm

    Blaming Mark Shapiro because he inherited the decline phase John Hart left behind?

    Ancient Mariner see post 33.

  38. The Ancient Mariner on June 6th, 2005 7:26 pm

    One thing John Hart showed in Cleveland and has shown again in Texas is that he doesn’t give his assistants much leeway–he runs the ship, he makes the decisions, and that’s that. It’s quite clear that Shapiro had formulated a plan while the assistant, given how quickly and unhesitatingly he implemented it, and as a consequence the Indians have built their organization back up much more swiftly than I think anyone but him expected. Their current record isn’t the point (though the fact that they’re only 45 games under .500 for his tenure, given the situation Shapiro inherited, is remarkable)–their future prospects are, and the future for Cleveland is quite bright.

  39. Scraps on June 6th, 2005 7:54 pm

    Writing, like speaking, is a manifestation of thought. If you aren’t writing coherently, you aren’t thinking clearly. If you can write coherently but can’t be bothered to take the time to organize your thoughts, you are insulting the conversation.

    If people repeatedly criticised my communication skills, I would either slow down and think more about what I was trying to say (and whether it was actually worth saying), or I’d find another group that was more my speed.

  40. Gunga on June 6th, 2005 8:56 pm

    To address the education issue, I take a somewhat perverse pride in my status as a high-school dropout. It has, at times, made me quite arrogant; although I think that seems to be improving as time goes by (I have two years on Mr. Moyer). Autodidacts tend, I believe, to develop their own brand of snobbery. After all, if I can progress nicely in my career what excuse do the college graduates sitting on either side of me have when they fail to do the same? I used to use Joey Cora as an example to my undersized, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome afflicted son. Sure, you may be at a disadvantage in some respects, but work hard, think things through, try your best and success will likely follow.

    To specifically address the issue of Mr. Fuson and his requirement that scouts be degreed, I have to disagree with him. As much as I value a formal education, a proper interview process and reference checks will tell you what you need to know 95% of the time (no, I can’t prove that statistically, I’m shotgunning here folks). I was once asked to interview the two survivors of an interview that management had already conducted. One had a professionally polished résumé , 1 page, no typos, flawless. The other presented a three page résumé written in Comic Sans font, littered with clip art from Word, with spelling and grammatical errors aplenty. To top it off, some of his reference information such as phone numbers were incorrect. About two minutes into the interview with Mr. Perfect and I realized that I wouldn’t hire him for any position or under any circumstances. Turns out, the other guy got rave reviews from all previous employers with the caveat that we shouldn’t let him write anything that would be disseminated outside his section. Unfortunately Mr. Perfect got the job offer over my objections. Turns out he’s a union grievance generator just as he was at his previous position. The other guy? I moved on to the office where he works and he has a nice reputation as a solid performer. Upshot… you can never tell.

  41. ray on June 7th, 2005 5:35 am

    I think education you need. This is good. I got BS (BA?) and a Misters. I smart so scout need too. Scout is smart! M’s go.

  42. Jeremy on June 7th, 2005 6:26 am

    I think the theme of this article is to point out someone who “gets it” that the most successful organizations (including the “Moneyball” Athletics) rely on a balance of scouting and statistics to reduce their risk. I would love to have him involved with the Mariners.

  43. New and Improved Rhino on June 7th, 2005 8:47 am

    On the Ryan v. Shapiro issue, keep in mind the Twins, after winning the series in 1991 and winning 90 games in 1992, became one of the worst teams in baseball from 1993 to 2000. They were bad — 2004 Mariners bad — for seven straight years. After making the playoffs in 2001, Cleveland had two bad years and then won 80 games last year. Ryan is one of the best (especially considering Twins owner Carl Pohlad is a less animated version of C. Montgomery Burns), but Shapiro turned things around in essentially two years — without a $95 million payroll and without seven years of very high draft picks to restock the system.