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:
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Daily Distractions: About the newfangled sabermetric Gold Glove Award component, and which Dodger it helps.

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke is one of five Dodgers nominated for Gold Glove Awards. (Associated Press photo)

At 320 pages, the most recent edition of The Fielding Bible is shorter than most editions of the more famous Bible, but still rather long for a topic that’s proved difficult to qualify and quantify over the years. There’s no Cliffs Notes version of the Fielding Bible, but I’ll recommend this excerpt that claims Matt Kemp shouldn’t have won a Gold Glove Award in 2011. Whether you agree with the conclusion or not, the thought process behind the conclusion is very insightful.

Today is a big day for fielding. THE big day. The Gold Glove award winners will be revealed at 5 p.m. in a live show on ESPN2, and five Dodgers are among the finalists. Their fates depend in part on a new wrinkle to the voting process: The SDI, short for the SABR Defensive Index.

The SDI counts for approximately 25 percent of the vote, according to SABR’s website, and that 25 percent can be further broken down into a series of acronyms that look like a disorganized jumble of refrigerator magnets: DRS, UZR, RED, DRA and TZ. Managers and coaches still hold a majority of the vote, and each player’s SDI score was included on the ballots distributed to each team’s staff.

What does it all mean, and what does this have to do with The Fielding Bible?

Fielding Bible co-author John Dewan is the co-founder of Stats LLC and the owner of Baseball Info Solutions, whose data feeds into all those nifty acronyms — and this year, the Gold Glove Award. And Dewan’s data believes that Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke should win a Gold Glove Award.

Yesterday, TheFieldingBible.com posted its annual picks for the best fielder at each position in the majors. Greinke is scarcely mentioned, because the two leagues weren’t separated and Toronto Blue Jays right-hander R.A. Dickey was chosen as the best fielding pitcher in baseball. But Greinke was chosen as the second-best fielding pitcher in baseball, and the best in the National League.

Greinke has never won a Gold Glove Award (a tiny shame, since his current contract holds no Gold Glove Award bonuses but his last contract, signed with the Kansas City Royals in 2009, did). Tonight could be his night. If so, he can thank SDI and TMI — too much information.

Some bullet points for a Turkish Republic Day:
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Five Dodgers are among the Rawlings Gold Glove Award finalists.

Mark Ellis

Mark Ellis dives for a ground ball in a June game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Associated Press photo)

Third baseman Juan Uribe, catcher A.J. Ellis, second baseman Mark Ellis, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and pitcher Zack Greinke are finalists for Rawlings Gold Glove Awards at their respective positions.

The finalists were announced Friday morning. Winners will be announced on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday.

The Dodgers’ five finalists are second only to the Baltimore Orioles, who have six. The Kansas City Royals also have five Gold Glove Award finalists.

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Clayton Kershaw one of three finalists for MLBPA Player of the Year Award.

Clayton KershawClayton Kershaw might not win the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award, but he might be chosen the best player in both leagues.

Kershaw was nominated, along with Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles, for the MLB Players’ Association Player of the Year award.

He’s also one of three nominees for the NL Outstanding Pitcher award, along with José Fernández of the Miami Marlins and Francisco Liriano of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig is nominated for the NL’s Outstanding Rookie award, along with Fernandez and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller.

Winners will be revealed on MLB Network on Nov. 4 at 8 p.m.

Clayton Kershaw wins 2013 Roy Campanella Award.

Clayton KershawPitcher Clayton Kershaw was named the winner of the 2013 Roy Campanella Award, an honor voted on by the Dodger players and coaches.

The award, instituted in 2006, is given to the “most inspirational Dodger,” and one who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher.

Kershaw is 15-9 with a major league-leading 1.88 ERA in 32 starts this season as he attempts to become the first pitcher to top the big leagues in ERA in three consecutive seasons since Greg Maddux (1993-95). The award will be presented at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night by Joni Campanella Roan, Roy’s daughter.

Clayton Kershaw wins 2013 Branch Rickey award.

Clayton KershawClayton Kershaw became the youngest winner of the Branch Rickey Award on Thursday, selected from a pool that included one nominee from all 30 Major League Baseball teams.

Kershaw was chosen for the annual humanitarian award during a press conference at the Denver Athletic Club. The 25-year-old pitcher will be inducted as the 22nd member of the Baseball Humanitarians Hall of Fame on Nov. 16 at the Marriott City Center Hotel in downtown Denver.

Created by the Rotary Club of Denver in 1991, the Branch Rickey Award honors “individuals in baseball who contribute unselfishly to their communities and who are strong role models for young people.” Each team is asked to nominate one player each year for the award.
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Clayton Kershaw is the National League Player of the Week.

Clayton KershawDodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who won his first two starts of the season without allowing a single earned run, was named the National League Player of the Week on Monday.

Kershaw tossed a shutout against the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day and hit a solo home run for the game-winning RBI. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kershaw became just the second pitcher in Major League history to hit a home run and throw a shutout in his team’s season opener, joining Cleveland Indians hurler Bob Lemon, who homered in his Opening Day one-hitter against the White Sox on April 14, 1953.

On Saturday, Kershaw allowed just two hits in seven scoreless innings on the way to a 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium.

The left-hander hasn’t allowed a run in his last 20 innings dating back to his final start of the 2012 season, which is the second-longest streak of his career (22.0 innings, May 8-19, 2012). This is his third career N.L. Player of the Week honor and first since May 14-20 last year.

In recognition of the award, Kershaw will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time.

Hall of Fame vote fizzles: No one elected for the first time since 1996.

The Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in July will feature an empty podium.

No players listed on this year’s ballot got the necessary 75 percent of votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America. Craig Biggio led the way with 68.2 percent, followed by Jack Morris at 67.7 percent and Jeff Bagwell at 59.6. It’s the first year no players will be enshrined since 1996.

Former Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza was fourth, listed on 57.8 percent of all 569 ballots. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly received 13.2 percent of votes, down from the 17.8 percent he received last year. Support for hitting coach Mark McGwire also dropped, from 19.5 percent in 2012 to 16.9 percent this year.

Two former Dodgers, Kenny Lofton (3.2 percent) and Shawn Green (0.4), did not receive the necessary 5 percent of votes to remain on the ballot. Both were listed on the ballot for the first time.

Some other notable names who fell short: Barry Bonds (36.2 percent), Roger Clemens (37.6), Sammy Sosa (12.5), Fred McGriff (20.7).

The complete results, courtesy of the BBWAA:
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My failed romance with Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Bert Blyleven

Bert Blyleven has been accused of being Dutch and giving up a lot of home runs, but not of taking performance-enhancing drugs. (Associated Press)

Some kids want to be astronauts, firemen, architects, or all of the above.

I wanted to vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

That’s embarrassing to admit, because I should have known better. Architects make good money. They are also able to work with numbers that don’t lie. If Edgar Kaufmann’s house in rural Pennsylvania (better known as Fallingwater) didn’t have enough weight resting in the rest of its structure, its cantilevered deck would collapse into the waterfall below. There’s no ambiguity about those numbers.

I’m not a Hall of Fame voter; I don’t have the required 10 years’ tenure in BBWAA. But I know that my voting colleagues can’t place the same confidence in their numbers. Not when those numbers are statistics compiled by steroid users in a country that considers steroid possession illegal, in a game that didn’t enforce the same rules as its government.

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Baseball’s Hall of Fame ballot: Four more ex-Dodgers for your consideration.

Baseball’s Hall of Fame ballot was announced yesterday, and there were a few more Dodger connections among the first-time candidates. We’re guessing that none of these guys will make it in, but not to be overlooked …

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