MLB’s pro scouts are itching to get back in the ballpark, but it sounds like they’ll have to wait. The 2020 campaign will begin without live scouts, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link).
This is a disappointment for those who’d hoped to see baseball’s birddogs occupying otherwise all-but-empty ballparks during the television-only season launch. They will just have to keep watching film for the time being.
There is a glimmer of hope here. Per Rosenthal, Major League Baseball will consider loosening the restrictions once the campaign is underway. Presumably, it wouldn’t be especially challenging to allow entry from a logistical standpoint. Doing so might even offer an opportunity for teams to shake down their protocols for potential reentry of live spectators.
The broader worry from some segments within the game is the long-term fate of in-person scouting. Baseball America’s Josh Norris recently examined the matter in full. Getting looks on video certainly trims costs, though most scouts believe live attendance is crucial to their job.