Daily Distractions: On the traveling advance scout, a species facing extinction.

Sorry for the delay here. I spent the morning critiquing my college newspaper. I tried to lift their spirits, since any of them intending to pursue journalism professionally are in danger of being crushed upon receiving their first paycheck. There’s a time and a place for everything.

That segues clumsily into my topic for today, advance scouts.

I was surprised to learn that the Dodgers had only one advance scout listed in their 2013 media guide, Wade Taylor, and he was let go last week. Many members of the front office do some advance scouting from time to time, but indeed, there’s only one major-league advance scout assigned to the task full-time, working mostly on the road.

“For the postseason, we have an army of scouts,” Dodgers president Stan Kasten said. “We have two or three guys on each of the possible teams we could meet in October, in September. Regular season, there’s one principal one. Teams are going away from advance scouts, doing it via video.”

A small sampling of major-league teams affirms this trend. For convenience’s sake, let’s look at the other four National League West teams. All have exactly one advance scout listed in their media guide. Two have at least one assistant dedicated to advance scouting via video. Like the Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants deployed a similar “army” of scouts during their playoff push in September 2012.

The Dodgers aren’t expected to be adding more than one advance scout this off-season. Thanks to video, the full-time traveling advance scout is something of a dying breed, a department of one from April to August.

Maybe if his team is contending in September, the advance scout has help — a time and a place for everything.

Some bullet points for a Wednesday:

• Adrian Cardenas, who had 60 at-bats last year for the Chicago Cubs, writes in the New Yorker: “I also retired from baseball, but it seems pretentious and unmerited; I quit.” One thousand, five hundred and eighty-seven words later, I’m convinced he thought himself out of the game. (I’m also convinced he’s a better writer than I am.)

On this date in 1945: Jackie Robinson signed a Triple-A contract with the Dodgers.

• With a small nod to Brandon League in this article, Baseball Prospectus concludes: “It’s not until around four inches of additional movement over a normal fastball that pitchers start missing bats, but they start inducing more grounders and allowing fewer homers right away.”

• In case you missed it yesterday, none of the Dodgers’ five Gold Glove Award finalists won Gold Glove Awards. Rawlings, the sponsor of the award, is holding an online vote for the “Platinum Glove” award, given to the best fielder at any position in each league.

• If you think the World series has seen its share of crazy endings: Yesterday in the Arizona Fall League, Byron Buxton was batting with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning for the Glendale Desert Dogs, the Dodgers’ AFL affiliate, and Travis Mattair was on third base. (Neither Buxton nor Mattair are Dodgers prospects.) The score was 5-5. Buxton hit a fly ball to center field and Mattair tagged up at third and scored. The manager of the opposing team, the Surprise Saguarros, appealed that Mattair left early and the umpires upheld the ruling. The game ended in a 5-5 tie.

• Also from that game: Dodgers prospect Corey Seager went 2-for-5 with a home run. He is batting .196 in AFL play.

• Deposed Dodgers play-by-play man Eric Collins publicly bade fans farewell this morning:

• Billy Beane is related to Madonna and Celine Dion.

• If you caught the Flaming Lips/White Denim/Tame Impala show in my backyard last night, you suck. Especially if Tame Impala played “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email