PALMER — In October, the Chicago Cubs tabbed former Boston Red Sox executive Theo Epstein as the man in charge of leading the historic sports franchise back to baseball prominence.
Since his hire, the new Cubs president of baseball operations has steadily put together a front office staff tasked with assembling a World Series contender on the field. That group now includes a past member of his Red Sox staff and a former Mat-Su Miner.
Matt Dorey, the head coach of the Miners in 2006 who spent the last four years as a scout with the Red Sox, was named the Cubs’ national cross-checker last week.
“I looked at it as a new challenge,” Dorey said by cellphone on Monday.
Dorey, 37, led the Miners to 20 wins and a third-place finish in the Alaska Baseball League in 2006. Like most in his position, Dorey used his time with the Miners to help further his coaching career. He came to the Valley as an assistant coach with Washington State and was set to continue coaching at Mt. Hood Community College in Oregon. But in 2007, the Red Sox had an opening in their scouting department and a colleague threw Dorey’s name in for consideration. Before he knew it, the organization flew Dorey to Boston to meet with representatives from the Red Sox front office.
In his four years with the Red Sox, Dorey was a scout in the Pacific Northwest, and later was assigned to cover Louisiana and Texas for two years.
Dorey said even though he’s no longer spending his time in the dugout, he’s thrilled to continue to be a part of the sport.
“I feel so fortunate to have a job in baseball,” Dorey said. “My ambition is to stay in the game as long as possible.”
Dorey’s journey to the Cubs paralleled the unexpected whirlwind that landed Dorey with the Red Sox in 2007. Dorey said everything came together very quickly. Not only did he have a relationship with Epstein through the Red Sox, but he also worked for new Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer and new assistant general manager Jason McLeod, a pair of executives Epstein recently brought to Chicago. McLeod, the former Red Sox director of amateur scouting, hired Dorey in Boston.
Dorey said when he first learned of the opportunity, he was surprised.
“I was very surprised. I knew they had such limitations about who they could bring over,” Dorey said. “It was humbling, but at the same time it was a very difficult situation. I have a loyalty to the Red Sox. They’ve given me so many opportunities to go out and see players and help me grow.”
But ultimately, Dorey said he knows what type of people and professionals Epstein, Hoyer and McLeod are, and knows how much they want to win.
Dorey said there are many similarities between Boston and Chicago, and he knows how passionate each fan base is about their teams. Now entering his fifth year as a scout, he’ll have already had the chance to work for both franchises.
“It feels great anytime you can associate yourself with a team that has this much tradition,” Dorey said. “These are two great sports towns. I don’t know if there are two that are better.”
Dorey has lived in the Houston, Texas, area since the Red Sox moved him to the Louisiana/Texas region. He’ll still be based out of Texas, he said, but much of his time will be spent on the road.
As a national cross-checker, Dorey will scout amateur prospects across the country and prepare recommendations for the director of scouting.
“They have a really good system in place,” Dorey said of the Cubs. “It’ll be a team effort to see the top players, get multiple looks.”
Dorey attended the ABL Showcase in 2008 the Red Sox Pacific Northwest area scout. He said he’s not sure if his new job will bring him back to Alaska, but would welcome a chance to catch more ABL action.
“I’d love to. It’s one of my favorite places to watch baseball,” Dorey said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman sports editor Jeremiah Bartz at email@example.com.