Interview with Scout Matt Everingham

SFDugout.com had the honor of interviewing Matt Everingham, a current recommending baseball scout and former baseball player in Australia. Everingham played a huge role in getting current Giants pitcher, Damian Moss, to the Majors in the U.S. In the first of this two part exclusive, Everingham explains more on his experiences with baseball and as a scout.

Background Information on Matt Everingham:
Currently Resides: Sydney, Australia
Age: 37
Baseball Career:Everingham has been playing baseball ever since he was five years old and is still playing competitive baseball now. He played for State and Australia, and also for the Twins and Braves, but then settled back to concentrate on his family and Australian baseball.
Scouting:Everingham has been involved with the Braves as a recommending scout since 1989 and has recommended at least eight players who have made the majors with either the Braves or other teams, one signing at the time there was a world record for signing a free agent (Glenn Williams- Toronto AAA Team). He continues to coach and develop young players in Sydney while searching for future prospects for whatever teams that believe in giving a player his chance to fulfill his dream of playing pro ball.

How did you get into scouting?
I'm only a recommending scout. The International Scouting Supervisor (Phil Dale) is Australian and lives in Melbourne and is a great friend of mine. Phil, along with Bill Clark (Arizona Diamondbacks now), knew that I coached and worked with a lot of young kids in Sydney region and thought it would be a great chance for the Braves to have someone who knew about baseball and knew what sort of talent was required to make it in the U.S. Any U.S team can find a player who can play ball and play well who lives in the U.S, but with foreign players and [the hassel of] getting visas for them, the Braves are really only looking at players they believe will help the organization in the long term. What's the point in using a visa when they can find a player just as good in the U.S.?

Can you provide some details on the life of a scout? Any interesting anecdotes you can share?
The only things I really know about scouting is [that] you have long days at the ballpark, long trips away [from home], and you need an eye for talent. But you meet great people from all walks of life.

What are the good parts of your job and what are the bad?
One thing you need [to do] at times is to be cruel to be kind. Sometimes you have to tell a kid or parent that their kid doesn't have what's needed to be a major league prospect, or the only way your kid will sign is if he does [such and such]. As you can imagine, the best parts are when a player signs or has a great season and ultimately gets to the "Show." I have some guys who are in the bigs or [are] very close who I believe I've helped, be it techniques, wisdom, truth or just encouragement.

Any tips on how people can get into scouting?
To get into scouting, I believe you need to have seen or played a lot of ball at a high standard and seen talent(ed) players play ball, saying that you need to see young, good talent and understand why they stand out above the others. From there, you should start sending resumes to big league teams and or [to] players who you think they should look at. You might miss a couple, but if the scouts and organizations see that you have an eye for talent, they will come knocking. Be patient in you endeavors.

How did you end up scouting Australia for baseball talent? It is not a known hotbed for baseball prospects.
Saying [Australia] not a hotbed for talent might be a little incorrect at the moment. Australia has always had a great sporting heritage and will try anything and generally find a way to succeed. Baseball or T- Ball (kids under 10 hit off a stationary stand with a ball on top, sorry I don't know if you play T-Ball in the U.S) is now played by more kids in Australia than any other sport. Australia has one of the highest success rate for players making the majors than any other country. That's per signed ball players to reach the big leagues. I ended up scouting mainly through luck and knowing Phil Dale and being a part of the Braves organization at one stage, [but] apart from that, I helped teach a lot of the young players the game when the Braves started looking at holding trials.

Since Australia is in the southern hemisphere, is baseball played from Sept/Oct to March/April, reverse of the U.S., since that is about when their spring, summer, and fall occur?
You are correct in that our main season is your off season. We, at one stage, had a great league where we had players from MLB organizations play in Australian league. Some of the Major League players that played in the league are
Tim Worrell & Felix Rodriguez, both [currently] of the Giants
Vernon Wells
Jay Powell
Matt Herges
David Ross
Geof Blum
Preston Wilson
Ben Weber
Kevin Millwood etc
Plus all the Australian players as well. You could come up with a pretty decent team with the guys who played out here. The good thing about Australia is that we can play ball all year round in most places of Australia. All our Junior Baseball Tournaments are in January and February each year, in mid summer so scouts just flock in and drives to Australia. Besides that, it's just a great place to visit.

You mentioned you've played for the Braves and Twins before, describe your experience with them.
Playing ball for a living or just doing something that you love so much and getting paid to do it, well if God went anywhere on his day off, it [would be] to the ballpark, and I did as well, but played. How can you describe to people who haven't had the opportunity to live part of a dream? I know it's not everyone dream, but it is mine. I know it's a business to some, but it's also a game that I love and millions upon millions love all around the world.



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