Kimball Crossley (below) is a scout for the Astros who files
reports on the Double A Eastern League. During the season
Crossley, a former sportswriter, spends roughly 125 days on the
road. He never leaves his home in Providence without his cell
phone, his Wiffle ball and bat (for pickup games with fellow
scouts) and his laptop computer. Here are the Web sites he
consults every day (scout's honor!), with his comments.
"First thing I do after a ball game is check on the weather for
the area where I'm going to be the next day or night."
"I look for the most authoritative, comprehensive transactions
list and have yet to discover one--including this one, the best
of its kind--that doesn't miss a move now and then."
"It's difficult to find minor league transactions anywhere. At
the Astros' organizational meetings last fall we considered
keeping our network of scouts in touch via voice mail, but that
was too awkward. This site is the best we've found."
"The most reliable scoreboard source for the majors, with
pitch-by-pitch updated box scores. Plus, you can look up any
player's lifetime stats up to that day."
"I click on the Peter Gammons link. He's fun to read, even if you
have to take much of what he writes with a grain of salt. Fans
ask me about him, and I always tell them to enjoy the writing but
don't treat it all as gospel."
"A fun place to check on what's happening in the stock market.
Scouts don't make as much money as people think."
"Scouts are slaves to the road. We need directions."
We'll give some directions of our own to Crossley. As far as
minor league Web sites go, check out www.attheyard.com. Besides
updating fans on league standings and player statistics, the
site has enlisted more than a dozen players to keep journals. A
recent entry posted by Chris George of the Wichita Wranglers,
the Royals' Double A farm team, describes the remarkable
gustatory feats of teammate and fellow pitcher Kris Wilson. In
one clubhouse sitting, according to George, Wilson ingested a
dollop of skin lube, a mouthful of baby powder and a few squirts
of Icy Hot. "I do not," writes George, "recommend that anyone
try this at home."
Not to worry, Chris.
COLOR PHOTO: BOB BREIDENBACH
Her Home Court
The Ray Lewis case again has Court TV reporter Clara Tuma mixing
jocks and jurisprudence
Clara Tuma, the Lesley Visser of due process, was introduced to
sports-in-the-courts in 1994 while covering the preliminary
hearings of the O.J. Simpson murder trial for Court TV. At the
time Tuma remarked, "Can you imagine ESPN and Court TV being at
the same event?"
"Today I know better," says the 39-year-old Tuma, who by now has
been through several athletes' criminal proceedings. Beginning on
Monday she will be in Atlanta for the duration of the Ray Lewis
murder trial. (Coverage runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to
6 p.m.) "My job is to get a feel for the courtroom," says Tuma,
"and to simplify the proceedings for the viewer. For example,
there are two people involved who went by the nickname Shorty.
One's a codefendant [Joseph Sweeting] and the other's a victim
[Jacinth Baker]. Who calls their friends Shorty, anyway?" Tuma
draws parallels between Lewis's double-murder case and Simpson's.
"In both, limo drivers are key witnesses," she says, "and the
alleged murder weapons were knives. Trust me, though--there's no
blond surfer dude here."
Lewis and companions Sweeting and Reginald Oakley are all facing
first-degree murder charges. Tuma says a split verdict is likely,
but she won't be any more specific. "I'm always right on the
verdict," she says, "but I never say it [in advance]. There's
more at stake here than the outcome of a game."
Chat about baseball's amateur draft on WWW.BASEBALLAMERICA.COM
On June 1 and June 5 (the first day of the draft) the Web site
of Baseball America, which exhaustively covers the minors and
high school and college baseball, will feature chats with editor
Allan Simpson assessing this year's prospects.
CORRECTION: In Major League Baseball's All-Star balloting on
www.seasonticket.com, there's a limit of 25 ballots per E-mail
address, not one per address as stated in the May 8 issue of SI.