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MLB, Manfred, 30 Teams Sued By Ex-Scouts Alleging Age Discrimination

  • Suit from 17 former scouts could involve more than 100 if moved to class action
  • Action marks another flashpoint in baseball's analytics revolution
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

A group of former MLB scouts has sued the league, commissioner Rob Manfred, and all 30 clubs, alleging age discrimination and claiming they were “blacklisted” in favor of younger, cheaper, and more analytically oriented personnel.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Colorado, alleges that MLB and the clubs violated the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act and similar age-discrimination laws in 12 states.

The action lists 17 plaintiffs aged 55 to 71, but the group is seeking to move the litigation forward as a class action in which “over 100 older scouts” would also join — which could push the potential liability in lost wages and damages beyond $100 million.

“When clubs are acting together to profile scouts by age and prevent us from being rehired, it’s very difficult for most to reinvent themselves when approaching the twilight of their professional careers,” said Rick Ragazzo, who scouted for the Braves, Giants, and Dodgers over a 35-year career.

The lawsuit marks another flashpoint in the analytics revolution that has transformed baseball over the past two decades, one in which scouts from the “Moneyball” era have been joined by statistical- and video-based methods of player evaluation.

Beyond the cultural shift, the complaint also describes a financial squeeze in which former scouts are often too young to claim Social Security or pensions, frequently don’t have health insurance, and (if still employed) often work with a fear of retaliation.

MLB said it “looks forward to refuting these claims in court.”

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