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The BCB Scouting Bureau

We're trying something new this season and we're asking for your help. Relax, it will be fun.

Every year dozens of you go to see the Cubs minor league affiliates. Most of you post nice recaps of your experiences and we appreciate them greatly. But it got me to thinking that with all the Cub fans we've got watching minor league games, we've got a kind of scouting bureau here. If only there was some way to organize it so that other fans could easily access it and get answers to their questions about minor leaguers.

So that's what I'm trying to do.

Most of the work that's being done here is on my end. I want you do to the fun part, which is go to the minor league games and report back to me and the rest of the board what you saw. What I want to do is better organize what you are seeing.

What I'm going to do with your reports? I haven't completely figured that out yet and some of this I still have to work out with Al and what we can do on the site. But right now my plan is to, at the end of the month, reprint all of these reports in one story that will hopefully be somewhere on the site that everyone can find. But they'll be cut up and re-arranged so that under one heading of "Josh Vitters," for example, you would find every comment from every poster who saw Josh Vitters play that month.

I've already gotten some good reports on the I-Cubs from znohitter and the Peoria Chiefs from cwyers, outshined_one and mikew. If you've posted one that I've missed, please tell me in this thread so that I can track it down. Don't worry, everyone will get credit for what they've reported.

So what do I want from you that's different? Not much, really. One thing I'd like to know is who is going to the games. If you're planning on going to a minor league game involving a Cubs affiliate, I'd like to know about it as soon as possible and I'll mark it down on my calendar. I may (or I may not) give you a special assignment--something that I or other people on the board have been asking about. For example, we may want to know what Andrew Cashner's velocity is at or how many off-speed pitches he's throwing. Or we may want to know your thoughts on exactly how bad Jake Fox's defense really is. Don't worry. We're not going to ask you to grade a curveball on a 20-80 scale. Nor am I going to ask you seven or eight questions so that you get to the point where you're working rather than enjoying the game. It'll be one question, maybe two in case the subject of the first question doesn't actually play.

If people tell me enough in advance that they're going to see a team, I can ask the whole community what kinds of questions they want answered and pass one on.

Now we still want you to post a whole report from your trip to the game and what you saw. In fact, that's part of the process. If you go to see a Chiefs game and see that Josh Harrison struck out and looked bad on a curve ball, we can ask the next "scout" to check out Harrison to see if he's really having problems with curve balls or whether he just got fooled that one time. And of course we also want to hear about the hot dogs and the dizzy bat races--this is, after all, Bleed Cubbie Blue: Home of the "Tomato Inning." But we won't include that in the final scouting report.

If you can't contact me in advance, still file a report about the game in the Daily Minor League Wrap section as you always have. This is a request, not a requirement.

The other thing I'd like to ask of your reports is that you clearly mark every player you're writing about. Separate paragraphs, when possible, for each player in your recap, will make it easier to cut and paste things together.

If you want, I can give you a silly title like "Bleed Cubbie Blue Southern League Bird Dog." You can put it in your sig line, impress your friends and embarrass your girlfriend or boyfriend.

From experience and common sense, I know we're going to get a lot of Iowa Cubs and Peoria Chiefs reports, many fewer Tennessee Smokies reports and we'll really be hurting to get eyewitness accounts of the Daytona Cubs. So while I definitely want to hear from you if you see the I-Cubs or Chiefs, I really want to hear from you if you live somewhere where you can see Smokies or D-Cubs.

So to sum up: I'm going to try this and see if we can pull it off. I want to know in advance, if possible, when you are going to a game. I may give you a short assignment. Continue to post your recaps as you always do, but do keep in mind that I'm going to cut and paste your report into little pieces , so try to make everything clear and easy to do so. It wouldn't hurt you to bold the player names or use bullet points or things like that.

If this works like I hope it will, we should have a nice file on many of the Cubs minor league prospects that the readers here can refer to at any time.

Oh, and you can e-mail me by clicking on the little envelope next to my name at the bottom of the page. And thanks in advance.