Ray Mileur, the President of Mileur Media Group, Inc., and publisher of the St. Louis Cardinals site on the Scout.com network, in association with Foxsports.com on MSN, recently completed the Baseball General Manager and Scouting Course offered by Sports Management Worldwide (SMWW).
The SMWW Baseball GM/Scouting course is a fully accredited online course that offers cutting edge theories on how to develop a career in professional and collegiate baseball. In the ever-changing dynamics of the business of baseball management, today's Baseball GM must learn to balance a budget in the club house and remain competitive on the field.
The Baseball General Manager and Scouting Course covers issues including player personnel, sabermetrics, major league scouting and other essential tools of modern general managers of professional and collegiate baseball organizations.
The course's main objective is to develop a new age in the game of baseball by creating synergies between the new school of thought in sabermetrics and traditional baseball scouting.
Among the subjects and topics included in the course include; Responsibilities of a baseball General Manager; Baseball contracts and negotiation; New school and old school baseball management; The effect of sabermetrics in baseball; Overview of Collegiate Baseball; Collegiate baseball recruiting; Relationships between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball; Player Development Contracts; The role of the Baseball General Manager year-round; How to run the Front Office of a baseball club; Methods of ranking high-school and college baseball prospects; The making of a baseball scouting report; The language and history of baseball scouting; and more...
Upon completing the course Mileur told Scout.com executives, What I learned from the SMWW Baseball General Manager / Scouting course will contribute significantly to expanding and enhancing our scouting reports on prospects and to provide our readers with greater insight into the game and what goes on behind the scenes in a General Manager's office and the entire organization.
Ray Mileur has been covering the St. Louis Cardinals since 1998, when he launched the web-site and a weekly e-newsletter. A former Senior Writer for e-Sports, Mileur's articles and columns have been featured at; FOXSports.com, FSN Mid-West, FSNMW Daily Wire, MLB.Com, the 2007 Scout.com Prospect Guide, Yahoo Sports, Historic Baseball, All Sports, OurSports.com, Our Sports Central, numerous newspapers and magazines. Ray is also a regular guest on numerous sports talk radio shows across Cardinal Nation.
The press release generated some fan interest, including a request from CariocaCardinal, a forum member, inquiring about the SMWW course and exploring the world of the GM and Scouting. This four-part series is in response to those requests and questions submitted by our readers to Ray.
PART ONE - SPORTS MANAGEMENT WORLDWIDE (SMWW) BASEBALL GM AND SCOUTING COURSE
CariocaCardinal writes, "I'd like here the story behind you taking this course including how you found out about it, other similar courses you might have considered, where is the course and how much it costs and what others can do if they want to take the course. A few more details other than what was in the brief Birdhouse article about what is covered and how it is taught (reading, video, lectures, etc."
RAY MILEUR: "There were several reasons I decided to invest in taking the Baseball GM and Scouting Course, but the primary reason was to improve myself in the area of scouting prospects.
Last season we published our first Annual Scout Top Prospect Guide magazine and here in the Birdhouse we did our second annual "40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Prospects" countdown and rankings.
Jason Scott our Minor League Editor and Leonda Markee, our staff reporter, ranked and wrote the St. Louis Cardinals portion of the 2007 Scout Prospect Magazine as well as participated in our Top 40 rankings. I was assigned by Scout to cover the minor leagues of the Houston Astros, the Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers; in addition I still did my Top 40 rankings for the Birdhouse as well. Trust me that is a lot of ranking of players.
After about two weeks of working around the clock last winter, I finally came up with all my rankings and the articles for the magazine and the Birdhouse; it was at this point that I decided I wanted to change the process from which I generated these rankings.
The basis for my most of my rankings since 1998 had centered on third party scouting reports and the player's performance on the field. Often I was ranking players that I hadn't had the chance to see play or scout in-person. It was at this point that I decided, that I wanted to and needed to, to include as often as possible, my own personal scouting reports on a player into the equation when formulating my prospect rankings.
If for no other reason, I will be a lot more comfortable this year with my rankings than I was at the end of last season, due in a large part to incorporating what I have learned from the course at SMWW into my observations and scouting reports this season.
Where did I hear of this program? I probably first heard of SPORTS MANAGEMENT WORLDWIDE a couple of years ago through a Google ad. It's widely considered the leader in sports education. They offer an array of eight-week online programs including; the Baseball GM and Scouting course; Sports Broadcasting, Sports PR and Media, Sports Business Management, Sports Administration to name a few.
In addition, Sports Management Worldwide Baseball is a full-service baseball agency with agents all over the world, representing baseball players from the majors to the minors and in a variety of countries.
It appeared to me when I signed up for the course, that SMWW was offering a very comprehensive, unique and highly interactive online program that I would be able to fit into my schedule.
Other options for this type of baseball education were very limited. One was the MLB Scouting Bureau, 10-day Scout School program, but it wasn't likely that I would be able to convince the St. Louis Cardinals or any other Major League team to sponsor for me that program. Of course then there is the time, travel, hotel expenses and scheduling issues to attend this program.
Another option I considered was Baseball University's (Sponsored by Baseball America), 10-week online course, "Scouting like a Pro". Steve Bernhardt, a current Associate Scout for the Colorado Rockies, and current Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, conducts the course and leads students through the fundamentals of scouting amateur baseball players.
I haven't taken this course, but we do have Jason Scott, our Minor League Editor currently enrolled and we should get feedback from him on the course once he completes it in about another four weeks.
As to the costs of the programs, I don't know what it costs for a Major League Club to sponsor someone for the Scout school, but it's basically reserved for employees of baseball teams.
The Baseball University Program costs $199.00 for the 10-week online program. You can enroll in the Baseball University program using this link - Baseball University.
At the time I took the SMWW course, it cost me $995, plus $95 for books, ($125 for International students). Payment plans are available and people interested in taking the course should contact, Alex Stephens at 1-877-SMWW-now or at 503-445-7105, or visit their website at SMWW.
A little insight into the actual course itself, its very time consuming and fast paced. In the first couple of chat events I participated in, students in their sixth and seventh week of the course were complaining about how they were having trouble keeping up with the pace of the course.
Personally, I found out after the first week that I had not allocated enough time in my weekly schedule to take and "pass" the course. I would suggest students should set aside a minimum of 8-10 hours per week to complete the course requirements.
Students are evaluated weekly by the course instructor as well as peer interaction and review of fellow classmates. Each week you will be required to pass a "Two-Minute Drill" quiz. Please note you must make a 100% on this drill before you can proceed in the course work. This can be a big pain if you haven't properly studied the course material for that week.
Students will also be evaluated by their participation in the weekly chat events which I will address a little later, as well as their participation in the discussion boards. There is tests, weekly papers that must be submitted and naturally a final paper and project that you should start working on as soon as possible after you start the course.
There is a lot of reading in this course, the required texts include; "Baseball Between the Numbers" – Baseball Prospectus, "Dollar Sign on the Muscle" by Kevin Kerrane, "Mind Game" – Baseball Prospectus, "Baseball Uncensored" by Jonathan Story and "Weaver on Strategy" by Earl Weaver. In addition there are several SMWW handouts to include; "Qualifications for a successful Scout", "Scout - Code of Conduct", "Scouting Dictionary and Abbreviations" and much more.
There is some video portions included in the course where students will observe players in action and submit scouting reports, but other than that, there isn't online lectures.
In order to pass the course students are required to interview someone in the front office of a baseball organization and a scout with any baseball organization. The student is then required to incorporate the knowledge gained in the interviews into their personal assessment of a Major League team. This requirement may prove to be very difficult for many students who are not already in the business.
One of the keys to a student's success in this course is taking advantage of the networking opportunities. A great way to do this is by attending the Sports Management Worldwide chats every Wednesday from 6-7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time & Sunday from 8-10 a.m., Pacific Standard Time. These chats serves as an open forum for all SMWW students, athletes, agents and faculty. Past and current chat participants say it's one of the best networking tools they've ever experienced.
There is a four-part paper that should be submitted by the Sunday of the eighth week and it should consist at the minimum of six doubled spaced pages.
Part one – Should cover your interview with a GM and then discuss the role of the GM, their goals for the future, how they prepare for the draft and how close they work with scouts.
Part two – Should cover your interview with the Scout. You should have asked about his duties, responsibilities and even how he got his job. You need to cover the complexities of the job and focus on specifically how the scout's information reaches the General Manager.
Part three – Take the knowledge through the interviews and analyze the structure of any MLB team. Discuss potential trades, contract offers both to free agents and members, take a look at the next draft, and examine the team's self-imposed salary restrictions, long term dept and assessment of the ballpark and supporting facilities.
Part four- The final portion of the final paper when I to as took the course was to consider as many factors as possible and write a 500-word essay in which you determine; Who is the best player in the American League? In addition use terms and ideas from the Major League Baseball scouting information throughout the course and write a Scouting report on the player. Get that final paper in and you're done and you almost feel like you just complete running a marathon.
In closing for now, all of the SMWW courses are eligible for three college credits and trust me you'll earn these three in the Baseball GM and Scouting course. In addition, you can also earn your Masters or Doctoral degree in Sports Management, with Sports Management Worldwide and Northcentral University.
The bottom line is I can recommend the SMWW Baseball General Manager and Scouting course without any reservations for those who may be considering a career in sports.
If anyone is interested in taking this course and still have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I'll be more than happy to schedule a phone call and talk with you one on one.
That's all from me today, I hope I answered everyone's questions, if not, drop me a line. Have a great week and I'll see you all at the ballpark."
Week Two, (Monday, November 12) - Evaluating pitchers, an in-depth look at who is and who is not projectable, a pitcher's most important tools, how will you know when you see a prospect, where to start evaluating the pitcher, when should you scout performance and much, much more...
Week Three, (Monday, November 19) - Evaluating position players
Week Four, (Monday, November 26 ) - The World of Baseball General Manager
Readers are encouraged to submit any of their questions about next week's topic "Scouting Pitching". Send your questions and requests to Ray, via email at email@example.com.
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