Legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully will be honored Saturday night when baseball scouts honor him with the Bud Selig Executive Leadership Award at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza where the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation is hosting their annual Spirit of the Game gala.
Because we have seen a steady increase of statistical analysis and sabermetrics, some scouting positions throughout baseball have been eliminated in recent years. This gala is held to raise money for those baseball scouts who are now retired or lost their positions in the scouting world and need assistance in this tough economy.
The charity was founded former super agent and current White Sox executive, Dennis Gilbert, who serves as the foundation’s chairman.
“It absolutely cost scouts jobs,” said Dennis Gilbert, who has helped raise nearly $4 million to date for the charity.
Unlike other team personnel, scouts aren’t paid very well. According to Dodgers president Stan Kasten, “They aren’t paid nearly what other front-office people are paid, but the work they do is invaluable, and the work that this foundation does in helping those scouts who have had difficulty is very important.”
Some baseball officials hope this trend will stop now that Major League Baseball and the Players’ Union have passed a new collective-bargaining agreement last year that limits how much money teams can spend in the draft as well as on international players. These new restrictions even the playing field and take the monetary advantage the large market clubs had in drafting and signing players. The hope is with those new restrictions, teams will want to go back to old school scouting and development and will be willing to pay better wages to their scouting staff.
The Dodgers seem to be leading the charge. So far, since new ownership has taken control of the team, the Dodgers have already added nine additional scouts to its baseball operations.
Kasten, who has a track record of building successful farm systems, has emphasized he wants to bring the Dodgers’ minor leagues and international development back to the glory it once was.
“The only advantage you’ll be able to get is in the quality of your people, the quality of your scouts.”
The gala itself has become a bigger event in recent years and is one of the most anticipated event each year. Some have even begun to refer to it as major league baseball’s version of the Academy Awards.
The award itself has gained so much steam, that Commissioner Selig will present it to Mr. Scully himself.
The event itself is often filled with nostalgia of years past where old baseball stories are shared. Mr. Scully, the greatest story teller of all in baseball, should fit right in in the relaxed atmosphere.
Other presenters for the event include another legendary baseball man, Tommy Lasorda, catcher Rick Dempsey and Hollywood star Harrison Ford. Ford is one of the stars in upcoming Hollywood movie, “42″, a biography commemorating the life of Dodgers great Jackie Robinson. Ford will be playing former Dodgers executive Branch Rickey in the movie.
Other people that are scheduled to be honored at the gala are Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins and Jim Palmer, Red Soc Chairman Tom Werner, scouts Terry Ryan, Larry Doughty, Mike Arbuckle, Wayne Britton, Doug Gassaway, Larry Himes, Gary Johnson and the Hairston family – Sam, Jerry Sr., John, Jerry Jr., and Scott, who were all major league ballplayers at one point or another. Jerry Hairston, Jr. is currently on the Dodgers and Scott Hairston is a free agent.
On behalf of Dodgers Rumors, I would like to officially congratulate all of the award winners. Especially the legendary Vin Scully.