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A number of ex-scouts have sued Major League Baseball, Commissioner Rob Manfred and teams for alleged age discrimination.
In a story right out of “Moneyball,” older scouts say in the suit that they were discriminated against over the past several years.
According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit says that MLB and its teams “have acted to prevent the reemployment of older scouts or refused the reemployment of older scouts.”
Another claim says that it’s discriminatory for the league to enforce a rule limiting the salaries of those hired with new teams while still being paid by old teams.
For its part, MLB said in a statement it’s looking “forward to refuting these claims in court.”
The lawsuit also claims that teams and the league used analytics and COVID as an excuse to terminate individuals and positions.
Essentially, the plaintiffs argue that teams around the league eliminated departments and veteran scouts as cost cutting measures.
One of the organizers, Rick Ingalls, said that “We believe the commissioner and the owners colluded to eliminate veteran personnel because of salaries.”
Scouts Claim Analytics Led To Age Discrimination And Cost Cutting
The Los Angeles Times reported that the scouts claimed the league kept a “blacklist” of employees that should not be hired.
Ingalls also told the Times that he was replaced by the Reds with a “27-year-old.”
MLB also reportedly eliminated pensions that many scouts relied on in another cost-cutting measure.
While these are allegations that have yet to be proven in court, the league has been fairly open about its move toward analytics and away from pro scouts.
It’s cheaper, simpler and potentially more effective to use numbers to evaluate prospects and current players.
The Astros, for example, famously fired most of their scouting department several years ago.
That said, human scouts are able to spot tools and most importantly, future potential, in ways that computers simply can’t.
Many current superstars likely wouldn’t have been given an opportunity if not for human evaluation.
But MLB has never been known to treat employees particularly well, outside of top executives Minor league players, for example, fought for years to get pay increases from the well below minimum wage rates they’d previously dealt with.
One former Dodger scout explained, “It became painfully obvious what was going on as an industry.”
Now we’ll see if the courts agree.