I just witnessed one of the most mind-boggling segments on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight titled “Scouting the Body” that seemed more like an episode of “America’s Next Top Model” than a show dedicated to covering baseball scores and highlights. This segment was one of those where the anchors (Buck Showalter, Steve Berthiaume and the usually reasonable Tim Kurkjien) are all standing in their suits on a fake baseball field in studio and the two anchors with no major league baseball experience (Berthiaume and Kurkjien) look to the experienced MLB vet (Showalter) for inside knowledge possible only through years of showering with other men and staring at their bodies.
I did my best to transcribe the segment and make as much sense of it as possible especially since Buck Showalter sometimes has difficulty with the English language (apparently “brains” is not one of the body parts that is scouted). Showalter did most of the driving in this segment and according to him “the stats are the easy part. If you don’t get to see a guy play 20-30 times, you can’t base it on experience so you need other things to look for.” These other “things” are as follows (again, please keep in mind that these were taken from an actual airing of Baseball Tonight and that I did NOT make these up):
Great Legs – You don’t want to see a guy’s thighs this way,
Showalter places his hands by his thighs and stretches them from left to right.
You want to see them wide this way.
Showalter places his hands by his thighs and stretches them from front to back. Buck’s example of a leggy major-leaguer?
Alex Rodriguez, perfection. Very long, stands up to the toll that major league players experience.
Very interesting. Randy Johnson must make up for the lack of thigh muscles by having exceptionally long legs and supple wrists (that will make more sense later on.)
Good/High Butt – That part of the body creates a lot of arm/bat speed. You don’t see a lot of good power hitters or good pitchers that generate arm speed that don’t have a good, high butt on them.
Which player has a good/high butt? Again, here is where all that time showering together in a major league club house is invaluable:
Derek Lee. I don’t want to say he’s got a perfect butt, but when I look at it I say “wow”.
OK. I might actually agree with Buck on that one. In fact, if Derek Lee had boobs he’d look a bit like Tyra Banks.
Back – One thing you look for is a good back with wide shoulders.
Hey Buck, which player has a good back?
Derek Holland. Look at the back on this guy. Perfectly shaped back, small waist, wide shoulders – that’s a good looking back!
At this point the camera shifts above Buck’s waist, presumably because he just went from six to midnight.
Good Face – This is my favorite category.
I think Buck should sit down with Bobby Knight to define “game face.” Which player has a great face?
Orlando Hudson. There’s a sincerity, competitiveness and alertness. The first time I met Derek Jeter he was 18 and I said “wow, what a good face.”
Great – another reason for the collective baseball world to fellate Jeter.
Square Head – I like square heads especially with definition of the jaw line. Albert Pujols – square head. Perfect. That’s the way major league hitters look. The same way scouts don’t like to see hitters in a perfect world have anything other than brown eyes. There are some great blue and green eyed hitters but most of them have brown eyes.
It’s probably more likely because genetically, most people are predisposed to brown eyes. What surprises me is that since Buck was the one that said “stat’s are the easy part” he should already know this: only 16% of American’s have blue eyes.
No examples here of player with supple wrists but instead, the opposite.
Mariano Rivera has stiff wrists which is why they made him a reliever. He could never master a breaking ball.
I’m guessing Rivera wouldn’t be any good working at a massage parlor either.
Last but not least they finish off with the non-body part, facial hair and hair:
Full Beard at 18 – Shaves once to twice a day? He’s out. He’s flat-lining! He’s as good as he’s going to be. You see someone who is starting to lose his hair at 18, he’s mature already – you’re looking for upside. Derek Jeter hadn’t shaved in high school when we signed him.
Thanks to Buck’s amazing analysis and the latest in computer generated imagery, nerdbaseball.com is the first to show the world what the paramount baseball player looks like.