Diamond Notes: May I have a roster? Please!

By: Austin Alexander – December 7, 2006

Though the high school baseball season remains a ways out, a certain topic must be addressed in more detail for those folks who have the name “Coach” preceding their last name.

It has been a long-standing joke among college coaches and pro scouts about how few of the high school coaches out there actually carry their team’s roster into the dugout before each game. Something that you’d think would simply be a part of a pre-season or gameday routine is normally absent when evaluators lean into the dugout to request a roster.

Admittedly, our expectations are actually very low that we’ll leave the dugout with a piece of paper identifying the players, but we take that risk 100 percent of the time on the off-chance that a coach has actually thought about that evening’s game before the first pitch is made. I’ll take it a step further, you hope they’d pre-thought about their kids and an opportunity they could be hindering them from.

You see, most college coaches and pro scouts don’t go fishing for players. Normally they are tracking an individual or two in that game. But as they bear down on the kid they’ve driven in to see, it’s always nice to identify a player you knew nothing of before you got there. With no roster, you find yourself watching a bunch of teen-agers run around a baseball diamond. The next step in the process for the frustrated evaluator becomes asking the parents, girlfriends or that local guy who knows everybody, who #4 is. Or who is that catcher? Once they can answer that question for us, we ask what year the player is in school. Then it becomes a conversation among the whole bleacher trying to figure out what grade little Johnny is in.

All of this can be avoided with a little extra effort by coaches.

Coaches: Handing a college coach or scout the third sheet of your line-up card is not a viable substitute. Telling us you forgot to put it in your bag that day will get little sympathy. Sending an evaluator to find Betty Jo up on the hill for a program full of ads and a team picture is of little help too.

True story. Twice this year I was handed a line-up sheet and began making notes on it only to have to return it because it was needed in the press box! I spent the rest of that night watching 18 strangers run between white lines. It would have been just as productive to have left the ball park.

At this point in this article, every college coach and scout reading right now is nodding their head. We’ve seen this scenario played out too many times for too many years.

Coaches, here’s all you need to do. Take 20 minutes before season begins and type, or have typed, a listing of your players in numerical (not alphabetical) order. Include their grade. Bonus, include their height, weight and defensive position(s). Additional information on that, or a separate, sheet can also be very helpful. Contact info, i.e. mailing/email addresses, home/cell numbers, grade point average and an SAT score normally give us critical information if we like what we see between the lines.

High school and travel ball coaches who fail to present a roster when requested can instantly lose credibility with evaluators and make the job more difficult for us to identify your players after driving several hours away from our family to see your team play. Make every effort for coaches/scouts to evaluate and contact your players easier…your kids will benefit in the end! It’s a small price to pay for a young man’s future.