Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Baseball's 'Checks' and Balances

Hockey is finally over, right?

I mean, the kids are in the pool, the hot dogs are on the grill, and the skates and sticks and ice have finally been retired for the year, yes?

Then what was Ben Shpigel of the NY Times doing referring to "cross-checkers" in a story about the Yankees' first round draft pick, Cito Culver? Far as I know, cross-checkers are hockey goons who wallop the opponent with the middle part of their stick, though it could be a variation on the boring old board game involving red and black plastic wafers, similar to Chinese checkers.

Writes Shpigel about Derek Jeter's heir apparent:

Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees’ vice president for amateur scouting, said the Yankees had scouted Culver for more than a year, following him at showcases and tournaments. Oppenheimer estimated that his scouts and cross-checkers had seen a few hundred of Culver’s at-bats.

I dropped Shpigel an email (I swear, every time I type 'Shpigel', I'm sure I got it wrong) to see what he's talking about. Obviously it's some sort of ballclub bird-dog who follows around prospects and makes sure they have good fundamentals and don't get in trouble. Maybe the cross-checkers are like the second wave of scouts--checking up on the scouts' work to make sure their findings are airtight?
We shall see.
[image: flickr/yahoo]

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