Sandy Alderson strides quietly through camp, always with a hat down low just above his eyes, which are always covered in sunglasses.
He slides through the gate, on to the field and up on the back of the cage. He'll cross his arms, lean on his wrist and most likely talk with no one. Then, he'll drift off, doing the same on another field...
I was able to stop and talk with him a bit one recent afternoon, while he leaned on a sideline fence observing his outfielders take ground balls off an old-timer's bat.
He told me, when he's watching, he's just trying to get a sense of where players are in their spring. He's not studying, making calculations or judgements. Instead, he described it to me like watching the surf...
It's like when you go to the ocean, he told me, and you're not yet sure if it's high or low tide.
"You need a minute, just to watch and stare, and eventually you begin to get a sense of whether the tide is going in or out," he explained.
His goal, when watching an outfielder come up with a throw, or a prospect throw a bullpen session, or a hitter taking batting practice, is to get a feel for where they are, good or bad, ahead or behind schedule, at that particular time in camp, so he can weigh it all against itself to determine if the team's tide is coming in or going out.