'Every scout has to make his own decision'

PHILADELPHIA -- The concessionaires are still setting up and .063-hitting Jon Lieber is settling into the box for his batting-practice hacks when Cleveland scout Neal Huntington arrives for some pregame reconnaissance three hours before the Philadelphia Phillies play Atlanta.

Huntington, clean-cut and boyish-looking at 35, doesn't fit the profile of the classic scout. He has a master's degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts and a bachelor's in psychology from Amherst College, the same elite academic institution school that produced President Calvin Coolidge, Supreme Court Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone and Melvil Dewey, inventor of the Dewey Decimal System.

Another Amherst alumnus -- former Expos and Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette -- gave Huntington a piece of career advice nearly 15 years ago that he never forgot: "If you want to be successful in this business, you either have to learn to evaluate talent or find someone you trust who can do it for you."