FanDuel - WFBC

October 24, 2007

The Extortionist:: an interesting, lengthy profile of high-profile baseball agent Scott Boras.

posted by rumple to baseball at 07:03 PM - 10 comments

Good link. I read the article earlier in the week and had gone into it expecting to find a more human, sympathetic Scott Boras. Not so much. Then again, I've never viewed him as the devil incarnate, either. Heck, if I was a good ballplayer, I'd probably want him to represent me. The profile does a good job of giving some of the background and personal history that permit you to see how he has become the person and force that he is. This passage from the article just about sums up to me what's wrong with MLB's draft system (and I think MLB, not Boras, is to blame, as he's just exploiting the system that MLB has created):

At one point while I was in his office, Boras took a phone call, and explained afterward, “The draft is looming.” I asked if he planned to travel to Orlando, where the draft was being held. He smiled. “I think the draft is here,” he said. “It’s not in Orlando. We’re in the room”—he pointed up, toward the war room—“and we’re telling teams who they can draft, who they can’t. That’s basically how the thing goes.”

posted by holden at 11:12 PM on October 24

[H]e mailed a letter to Commissioner Selig, in which he outlined a proposal to alter the format of the ... World Series. Why not make it nine games, instead of seven ... “It’s a fact that our game needs a forum that’s akin to the Super Bowl ... People don’t go to the Super Bowl for the game. Most Super Bowl games are not competitive, or good games. They go there for the event. They go there for the three-day weekend.” He described a vision of “corporate hospitality,” including a “gala, like the Oscars,” during which the M.V.P. and Cy Young awards, among others, would be announced, with all the finalists present and on view, and presumably walking the red carpet in sponsored menswear. Who could argue against such a change? It would mean more money for the owners, more “marketable content” for the media to broadcast, more attention for the stars—more everything. Yup, more everything for everyone. Except the baseball fan. You know, the guy that really gives a damn. But with the nine-day event you can squeeze a couple extra billion into the pot, you know, from the advertisers and the other people who are there because their publicist told them to go (and to wear their pink hat with the team logo). I say fuck that. I say screw the "MLB, not Boras, is to blame" bullshit. While I appreciate the point you're making, Holden, I also say that's just too easy a defense. I mean Halliburton's only dancing on the floor we built them. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't hold their feet to the fire just as much as the folks writing the rules. But I suppose I'm just too idealistic.

posted by SummersEve at 12:19 AM on October 25

Fascinating. Thanks for the link. I've suggested a Euro division for the NHL in these pages; it wouldn't surprise me to see a Pacific Rim league in baseball in my lifetime, as Boras suggests.

posted by tieguy at 07:05 AM on October 25

I say screw the "MLB, not Boras, is to blame" bullshit. While I appreciate the point you're making, Holden, I also say that's just too easy a defense. I mean Halliburton's only dancing on the floor we built them. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't hold their feet to the fire just as much as the folks writing the rules. In any type of system (whether it be a professional sports league, defense contracting, politics, etc.), there will and should (particularly in a free market type of system) be those who "exploit" the rules and institutions for their own benefit based on how those rules and institutions are established. I think it makes it that much more important that the rule-makers and institution-builders create their rules and institutions in a manner that minimizes opportunities for that kind of exploitation. So long as agents aren't doing anything against the rules with respect to the draft, my view is that MLB bears the responsibility for how the draft plays out because of the way the draft is structured (inability of teams to trade draft picks, no hard caps or set figures for salaries/bonuses at different draft slots, eligibility of both high school and college players, etc.). I'm not saying all of those things are bad features, just that we shouldn't be surprised when entities and individuals operating within that system (agents, players, teams) do things within the rules that are good for them but perhaps not good for the game at large. I mean, who's more to blame (if you consider it a problem, which I don't) for the Yankees and Red Sox outspending everyone else in baseball? You could say those teams are to blame, but they're really just maximizing their self interest in economic and/or other terms. I guess it just shouldn't surprise us, and whether a person or entity should act a certain way in a certain situation is to me largely irrelevant in an economic context. I feel largely the same way about any corporation (Halliburton included), so long as it isn't doing anything illegal.

posted by holden at 07:55 AM on October 25

Nice post. The WSJ law blog has a one-pager on Boras.

posted by exogenous at 12:29 PM on October 26

I have to say that was one of the more interesting reads in quite awhile. He's a fascinating guy and has really carved out some kind of niche for himself.

posted by vito90 at 08:20 PM on October 26

You know who else carved out a niche for himself?

posted by yerfatma at 09:23 AM on October 27

I'll take the bait. Who?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 09:40 AM on October 27

I'm guessing the answer is "Hitler" (Godwin in a spofi thread???) but an apropo answer might be Don King - similar impacts on their respective sports...

posted by vito90 at 01:40 PM on October 27

Gippetto?

posted by SummersEve at 02:04 PM on October 27

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