Baseball has taken Glenn Walker all over the world, and it eventually brought him home. The former Poly Jackrabbit followed his love of the game to Hawai’i, Japan, Sioux Falls, and everywhere in-between, but he’s finally made roots in his hometown. Walker currently holds a coveted position as a SoCal area scout for the New York Mets, and is already making waves early in his career.
After graduating from Long Beach Poly in 2008, Walker played junior college ball at LA Harbor and Compton College, before earning a Division I opportunity at Jackson State. After his college days were finished, Walker knew he wanted to keep playing. Four years of independent ball took him around the globe, and helped him form valuable connections within the sport.
In 2016, Walker’s baseball journey took a new direction when he found out his girlfriend, former Long Beach State softball standout Shayna Kimbrough, was pregnant with their first daughter, Aaleeyah. Walker decided to return home to Southern California and began coaching at Compton College, but his coaching career proved to be short-lived. Walker’s first manager in independent ball, Gary Templeton II, had started scouting in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization and helped get Walker an introduction to the industry.
In February of 2018, Walker began as a video coordinator for the Atlanta Braves in the Southern California area. He spent that entire year traveling the country, taking videos on prospects and learning how to be a scout. At the end of that year, the Braves offered Walker a scouting position in the Midwest, but he wanted to test the waters and find a job closer to home, and closer to his daughter. Fortunately for Walker, he returned to Long Beach to find that the Mets’ SoCal position had just come open.
“It was a huge blessing,” said Walker of the opportunity with the Mets. “I recognized how blessed I was to have a job come open at that time and be able to become a scout here. I have other friends in scouting who have had to move and go to other states on the other side of the country to do their jobs. I realized how fortunate I was to be able to still live in the city I grew up in and be able to scout here.”
Walker’s parents both came to Long Beach in the mid-80’s and met while working at the Renaissance Hotel downtown. His mom, Jean, was a native of Cincinnati who worked hotel jobs all over the country. His father, also named Glenn, is a native of Barbuda in the Caribbean. They made Long Beach their home, and Walker hopes to do the same for his young family.
“I really wanted to raise my daughter in Long Beach,” Walker said. “She’s only three at this point, and for us to put roots down here is important to me. I know the lay of the land out here and I can guide her and know what to expect for her growing up here.”
In a normal year, the life of a scout means a ton of time on the road, driving from game to game in your region and attending tournaments that can last deep into the night. But this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Walker and his colleagues to work from home. That means more time watching video on his computer, and more time to spend playing at the park with Aaleeyah.
While he’s enjoyed the additional family time, Walker is also eager to continue his burgeoning career. On the scouting trail, Walker doesn’t fit the traditional mold. As a Black man in a predominately White industry, Walker has forged his own lane and is proud to be different from the status quo.
“I do recognize myself as a Black scout. It’s not something I’m shying away from,” Walker explained. “I know that I’m Black, I know that I’m a scout, and I take pride in that. It wasn’t easy to get where I’m at, and I understand I’m one of a few and that comes with some responsibility to be true to yourself.”
The SoCal area does provide a more diverse group of colleagues, and Walker is part of a local group of Black scouts who get together regularly. His Twitter handle, @ScoutDrip13, serves as homage to his unique style, which he wears with pride wherever he goes.
“Scouts all tend to dress the same way, usually like they’re about to go golfing,” Walker explained. “That’s a uniform I’m not exactly comfortable in myself, so I try to stay within the guidelines of how we’re supposed to dress, but also add something to it to be myself and be comfortable. I’m not trying to be someone I’m not.”
Walker says that helps him relate to the players he’s scouting, who can feel more comfortable around a 30-year-old who dresses more like them and enjoys the same music. That relatability has helped him form strong bonds with the players he’s scouted, and has led to early success with the Mets.
In this year’s condensed five-round MLB Draft, one of Walker’s first discoveries on the scouting trail, Isaiah Greene, was selected by the Mets in the second round. Walker had scouted Isaiah’s older brother, Elijah, while working with the Braves and formed a strong bond with the family. Walker first met Isaiah as a high school sophomore and watched him grow into a standout prospect at Corona High School.
“To be able to draft a Black player from our area, and hopefully improve the number of Black players in our game, that meant something to me,” Walker stated.
As the first person in the Mets’ scouting system to take notice of Greene, the pick was a validation of Walker’s eye for talent. Each time he brought one of the organization’s cross-checkers or decision-makers to watch Greene play, he routinely delivered home runs and memorable performances.
It felt serendipitous. And in many ways, so has Walker’s baseball journey. The sport took him around the world, but brought him back home to do what he loves while remaining true to who he is.
“I have fun going to the games. I really love the job,” Walker said. “I enjoy getting to know players for who they are, what makes them tick, and why they love the game … It’s not one of those things where you want to be distant from them and just evaluate the cold hard facts about them and then be done. You want to be able to understand who they are and why they’re going to be good.
“I pride myself on being able to break down that barrier, stay relevant to what’s going on right now, and just be myself.”