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I did "virtual scouting" for three games yesterday: a Memphis vs. Springfield exhibition game from late March; a Creighton vs. Missouri State University game from early May; and a University of California vs. Stanford game from mid-May. There are about 10 more college games on the Moxie, which I will work my way through over the next few days. A whole bunch of minor league games are scheduled to record as well. Some of the observations I came away with will wind up in the newsletter, and a lot will end up in the 2007 book.

The "virtual scouting" has one clear advantage over real scouting: you can see players and games from all across the country, very important when your travel budget is limited.

There are some things about real scouting that can't be replaced, though. In a real game, you can walk around the park and view things from different angles. I think this is very important, especially for scouting pitchers. You can spot mechanical problems or other issues from certain angles that you can't see on TV. I find it hard to get a good read on hitting mechanics on TV. You are at the mercy of whatever camera angles the TV producers want to emphasize. And, finally and most importantly, in real life you can talk to scouts behind home plate, or pick the brain of local front office folks or reporters in the press box. On TV you have to listen to announcer jabber.

Still, "virtual scouting" is better than no scouting at all.