Digging In: 5 Questions That Need Answers



By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

While sitting at an event last Sunday, evaluating what seemed like my 1,522nd consecutive hitter, random questions began to ping-pong just under my ballcap. Admittedly, some of those questions were existential, which I will reserve for a therapist’s chair and not here.

However, some baseball-related questions that arose, not only during the event, but over the course of the thousands events I’ve scouted over the years, include, but not limited to:

+ Why is this kid wearing sunglasses on top of his hat? He knew the event was indoors. We never advertised that we have a retractable dome. Does the crown of his cap have refractive issues or light sensitivities? Several kids, in fact, did this. One player upped his swag game to another level when he took BP with an elbow guard. That’s big-time! Get up on that dish big guy, get more plate coverage and dare that professional BP groover to bring his 32-mph meatball inside.

+ Why is this kid swinging wood? There are 50-plus college coaches in the building, not a pro guy in sight. The wood looks like a lacquered table leg in his hands, the bat swinging the batter type of thing. Swinging wood at a college-recruiting event basically says the player is doubling down on his abilities. If you drop bombs with wood, and perform better than all the others swinging BBCOR, than you look like a rock star. Unfortunately that usually isn’t the case. Train with wood. Hit with wood at the tournaments that want to save on baseballs and shoehorn six games on a field in a day. But if you’re fighting for a roster spot somewhere, and you think you may need a little extra umph at the point of contact, then do yourself a favor. Return the table leg to the dining room please.

+ Who invented black baseball pants? I just don’t understand black baseball pants. My wife tells me black is more slimming. But black pants are also more slowing, as in, for whatever reason those that run in black pants look like they are not especially athletic. Maybe it’s not the pants. If you’re really good, I suppose, you can wear Zubaz and be really good. But the overwhelming majority of high school players who opt to wear black baseball pants for a showcase event are not, well, really good. And just curious here, but do black baseball pants not come with belt loops?

+ What sinister hitting coach continues to teach the reverse toe-tap? I don’t think I have ever seen an average to above-average high school player employ the reverse toe-tap with any consistent success. And I mean ever. There is negative rhythm being generated; some of the less practiced ones look like they’re stomping out a red ant infestation, certainly nothing fluid and quiet about it. And good luck timing that up consistently, or ever.

+ Do the chicks really dig that beard? They’d better, because it certainly doesn’t help your recruiting much. You look like like a full-grown man, congratulations. But it doesn’t lend much to the imagination of what you may be in the future. Because the future in three years can’t look any older than what you are looking now. For the player, the nice thing about a scout/recruiter projecting what your abilities will be in the future is it’s 100 percent subjective, which means they can be wrong, or they can be right, or they can be neither wrong nor right, just whatever. Whether they’re right, wrong or indifferent, it is still a win for you, because you got recruited and possibly made it to a campus. Your beard significantly limits your percentages of people projecting your future abilities, which means you better be really darn good that day.

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