Supporting the scouts

File photo: 2006

Baseball greats come out to support the men who find the players-the scouts.

By Seth Rubinroit / Special to The Malibu Times

Several current and former major league baseball players came out to the recent Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation dinner to honor baseball’s scouts and to help scouts in need.

“I’ve always had a great appreciation for scouts,” said talk show host Larry King, who was the event’s master of ceremonies. “They’re the most overlooked, under-appreciated, underpaid people in baseball. They deserve better than they get.”

The PBSF supports professional baseball scouts who have fallen on hard times due to job loss, illness, old age or other reasons. While the players they sign often go on to make millions of dollars, scouts are usually low- paid and receive little healthcare, pension or other benefits.

“[Scouts] are people who do this for the love of the game,” said former Dodger and Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax. “There isn’t big money, but there are long hours. There is not a lot of glory. They love the game. They do it [their job] and without them nothing else happens.

“[Scouts] are responsible for every good thing that has happened to me over the years.”

Tommy Lasorda, the Hall of Fame former manager of the Dodgers, is on the PBSF Board of Directors, and was honored at the dinner.

“This Foundation means an awful lot to me,” Lasorda said. “They take care of scouts who have problems, and scouts that get fired. We take care of them, and it’s a great organization and I’m proud to be associated with it.”

Former Dodger General Manager Dan Evans said he appreciates the work of scouts. Currently a scout for the Seattle Mariners, he experiences first-hand how hard it is to be a scout.

“[Baseball] is probably the toughest sport to scout because of the variance of ages [of the players being scouted],” Evans said. “I think in today’s game, if you don’t have a strong player development and scouting relationship and commitment, you’re not going to win. You may win every once in a while, but you won’t win on an elongated process.”

Current Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti, who has dramatically improved the Dodgers roster with the additions of Nomar Garciaparra, Rafael Furcal and Kenny Lofton, said he believes that the finding and signing of players itself is not the toughest part of scouting.

“They spend days, months, years away from their family, helping organizations out, helping to find young players,” Colletti said. “Without scouts, it’s nothing but sandlot baseball. But with scouts … they’re the life blood of the group, and they’re tireless.”

Seth Rubinroit is currently a freshman at Malibu High School and writes sports for L.A. Youth and