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Selig and Reinsdorf gather to help scouts they've wronged

David Brown
Big League Stew

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After regretfully adding an MLB.com widget late last night, I came across a press release an article about an annual benefit dinner for Major League Baseball scouts.

The scouts' collective plight makes me mad.

OK, so this "cause celebre" ranks in urgency somewhere between genocide in Darfur and a campaign demanding Facebook be offered in Esperanto, especially considering the world's current political, social and economic climates.

Nonetheless, it left me mad (at least a little).

Scouts, it has oft been repeated, are the most exploited workers in baseball. Paid and treated like latter-day orphans sweating away their innocence in a 19th-century textile mill, it's despicable how poorly they are compensated considering their importance to ever-evolving future of the game.

Now, I can't say for sure how important scouting is today compared with, say, 50 years ago.

But it must be somewhat important. The White Sox media guide says they employ at least 60 scouts every year and you can rest assured that owner Jerry Reinsdorf and his club wouldn't waste $60 on them if it didn't have to.

I'm also not really sure how much scouts get paid. Some stories say $35,000 a year, some say $75,000, some say bread and water. Either way, the bird dogs seem poor when you compare them to some of the multi-million dollar prodigies they lead to the big leagues.

How can we assume their sorry state of affairs? Why, because there's an event called the Sixth Annual Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation's In the Spirit of the Game Dinner. On Jan. 17 the likes of Bud Selig and Reinsdorf are expected to attend this dinner.

As if Bud and The Chairman weren't enough, Brendan Fraser (Steve Nebraska himself), Don Johnson, Larry King, Goose Gossage and George Brett, too, are said to be making the trip.

All big names, but Selig and Reinsdorf are the key guys, because they run Major League Baseball and they're going to support a cause that aids scouts, and the widows of scouts, who have been mistreated and otherwise underappreciated.

By Major League Baseball.

Which Selig and Reinsdorf run.

Which means they are responsible, to a large degree, for treating the scouts so cheaply.

Uh, where's the number for the irony police?

Adding to the incongruity, the organizer of the dinner is Dennis Gilbert, who used to be an agent and currently works for Reinsdorf's White Sox in the front office. Is it also lost on Reinsdorf that one of his own employees recognizes how bad scouts have it and has shamed his boss into trying to reverse, through charity, such an unfair situation?

A situation that Reinsdorf, himself, gives life?

To fix their own plight, baseball scouts need to do one of two things: 1) quit and find a less-crappy job, or 2) unionize so they can bargain collectively.

In the meantime, Major League Baseball also could address the issue by offering better pay and job conditions to its scouts rather than simply convening for a charity dinner at which, presumably, the likes of Selig and Reinsdorf will donate money they should be paying in compensation in the first place.

And now, back to the Gaza Strip.

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