Annual Scouts Dinner Held in LA

Even with the economy ailing, every table was filled at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel in Century City in Los Angeles on Saturday for the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation's In the Spirit of the Game sports extravaganza that raises funds to help baseball scouts in need.

  The evening's organizer, White Sox executive Dennis Gilbert, who was one of the foundation's founders, worked the phones to make sure that his longtime friends, who also happen to be some of baseball's biggest movers and shakers, turned out to support this worthy cause.

"I'm honored to be here," said Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who attended the event for the third consecutive year. "This is a wonderful testimonial and honor to people who give their lives to baseball, and are really the life-blood of baseball. So it really is an honor to be here."

"This is a great event," said Major League Baseball president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy. "Dennis Gilbert deserves a lot of credit for putting this together -- obviously he gets the full support throughout the baseball community. We are proud to support it. It's a very worthy cause. The scouts are a part of baseball and baseball history and are, frankly, under compensated, under appreciated and this helps make up for it a little bit."

Hosted by Rob Dibble along with actors Brendan Fraser and Don Johnson, the foundation honored George Brett, Goose Gossage, former Boston Red Sox CEO John Harrington, Whitey Herzog and the Alou family. "Dennis gave me an award tonight and I told him, 'You don't have to give me an award because I'm coming back every year, because it's a great event,'" said Hall of Famer Brett, whose entire family was honored by the foundation two years ago. "I'll be back next year, regardless if I get an award or not. I'm going to come out, support my friend Dennis Gilbert, help some scouts who are in need of some money and some financial support. It's a great night for me."

"We have so much support, so much great momentum," Gilbert said. "We just have great people around us and a great board of directors. You can't lose with those people." All 30 Major League organizations help in whatever way they can.

"This has become bigger than I ever imagined it could be," said White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, whose organization has been one of the foundation's biggest supporters. "In our industry, you couldn't get a better cause. These people need help more than anybody else." "Everybody at the foundation does a phenomenal job," said Dodgers chairman Frank McCourt.

"They take care of some people who just may need a little hand from time to time. And they do it in a very quiet way, and a very respectful way, and we are very pleased to support not only the dinner, but the foundation, all year long."

Those in attendance were treated to a night of baseball memories, entertainment and a chance to buy some great sports and entertainment memorabilia at the event's silent and live auction. But for the baseball executives in attendance, the highlight of their evening is probably looking around the grand ballroom of the Century Plaza and seeing the sense of pride in the eyes of the numerous scouts who attend the event every year and, for at least one night, those who dwell in relative obscurity, are truly front and center and appreciated for the work they do for the game they love with all their heart.

Ben Platt is a national correspondent for

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