Balen has eyes on game from Edmonton
* If there is a game on Drew Balen is bearing down on it watching his Edmonton TV, working for the Inside Edge Scouting Service which provides data and information to major-league clubs ….
By Liam McGuire
It’s only a 14-hour drive from Drew Balen’s Edmonton house to the nearest major league park.
Or 800 miles as the line drive travels.
Yet, Balen is focussed on a major-league games each and every night of the season.
Balen says that it is not unusual for him to be doing something baseball related throughout the entire day.
“During the season, I will watch a number of plays during the day for at least an hour or two,” Balen said. “Then I’ll watch two or three games live, plus spend time looking at information from our databases.”
Balen works for Inside Edge, an advanced scouting service that provides advanced information to baseball teams and media.
Inside Edge works with over half of the teams in the MLB, along with offering services at the amateur level. Since being founded in 1984, the service has been used for multiple mediums.
Inside Edge has been used by eight World Series championship teams, including a stretch of seven consecutive winner’s from 1996 to 2001. In 2006 the scouting service jumped into the video game market, appearing in the 2K Sports Major League Baseball series.
The Drayton Valley, Alta. native does a combination of services for Inside Edge, including video scouting and data base analysis, and says that the work he does contributing to scouting and impacting the game is a good feeling.
“It is a neat feeling knowing that you played a small role in what they are doing on the field,” said Balen, “and also it has helped me learn the game better by watching in more detail.”
Balen works from his home-office, which he says allows for his schedule to be very flexible.
“It works for me, technology makes it much easier as I am able to work from my home and still be connected to other employees from Inside Edge,” said Balen, who was at the Futures Game in Kansas City, part of the all-star week festivities, the Rising Stars game where the best of the Arizona Fall League gather, as well as spring training games in Bradenton and Sarasota, Fla. and Arizona.
“In a lot of ways working in sports is a lifestyle because you have to have a flexible schedule and be able to adapt to the current task that you are working on,” Balen said.
Balen, who graduated from Brock University in 2012 with a degree in sports management, got involved with Inside Edge after attending a Society for American Baseball Research Analytic conference.
“At the SABR analytic conference in Arizona during spring training last year I met one of the founders and co-owner of Inside Edge Randy Istre and the head of their California office Kenny Kendrena.
“We talked for a few minutes and they decided to hire me.”
Balen was recognized as one of the 2012 Most Influential Canadians in baseball by the Canadian Baseball Network, an honor which Balen says he was privileged to receive.
“It is nice to be recognized among your peers,” said Balen. “The list speaks for itself with names that are well respected in the industry.”
Balen has advice for those interested in following his footsteps and entering of the world of baseball and scouting.
“Immerse yourself in baseball or whatever you are passionate about,” he said. “Do things that you enjoy because you never really know how far that might take you. You can always learn more.”