Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Boras Morass

O.K. I can’t really have my personal archives as the thing folks will first eyeball when they come here. Therefore, I’d better post something else. As of right now, I cannot be sure if anybody but me has read this blog. Sure I could promote it, add it to Ball-Hype, post a link at my Hardball Times bio, put the word out to my fellow scribes and bloggers so we can exchange links etc. but is that where I want this to go?

The fact that I’m doing this online rather than simply griping on my hard drive probably says that I want this to go public. On the other hand, I would like to see how this grows on its merits rather than actively promoting it. For now, I’m cool with this being my private corner of the web where I can grouse, whine and bellyache over anything that irks me without worrying about someone writing: “Hey, knucklehead, this is crap--you suck buddy!” when I’m simply venting my spleen.

I also think that I’m trying to stretch my writing/creative muscles a bit and am using this as a ‘gym’ of sorts. Things are getting more expensive and getting another gig would help. I have no plans to leave the Hardball Times or MSN Canada that is why I have to get into ‘shape’ so to speak. I’ll be starting my fourth year with THT this January and while the pay isn’t great admittedly, I do think we’re evolving into something pretty special. I get a certain ‘writing mojo’ from being on staff there that I’d be an idiot to give up. There’s also a feeling of gratitude towards them for reviving what was a flagging career and finally it’s just too much gosh-darned fun to stop doing. There is something to be said for quality of life and personal enjoyment in one’s career choice.

Moreover, they’re a pretty sharp bunch who have increased my knowledge and love for the game and made me a better writer. I hope if I am offered another job that they don’t want me exclusively. Obviously, I’d have to think long and hard about it and it would break my heart to leave--as silly as it sounds, I just can’t seeing myself doing it. I’d probably do the economically dumb thing and hope something else comes up.

I guess I’ll just have to see what happens when the time comes.

I’ve already submitted by MSN column for the week--more drivel on the Mitchell Report and I think I’ll do my Hardball Times article on my third favourite dynamic duo dum-dums (Scott Boras and Alex Rodriguez). For the record, probably to no one’s surprise, the top spots go to Bud Selig and Bob Dupuy as well as Jeffrey Loria and David Samson. I’ve must admit, Don Fehr and Gene Orza are getting up there as well. It must pain Marvin Miller to see all his hard work come undone courtesy over his one time second-in-command.

They say a there’s a fine line between genius and insanity and I think Boras is right on it. If I had to hazard a guess, I think (yes, I do that occasionally) Boras wishes to demonstrate to prospective bidders about the value A-Rod has for a team. Getting equal media play with a Red Sox team winning a second World Series in four years--unthinkable earlier in the aught--is Boras’s way to demonstrate how big his client is. Rodriguez can capture bold-print, front-page headlines even when the biggest moment of the season is underway. It creates an unstated question in team owners’ minds: How can a player like that not be a huge revenue beast?

It’s Boras’s subtle, while not so subtle way of stating: "Now sit back and think about how that will translate into advertising revenue, television and local network contracts. It provides justification for raising ticket and concession prices, ballpark signage and anything else you can dream up." Best of all, you don’t even need to win the Fall Classic to enjoy the economic benefits. It also explains why Rodriguez's post-season failures will be discounted in Boras’s brochure--those flops are unimportant in making money for your club. He can earn you World Series level revenues even if you finish in last place.

Of course, it just gives fans in every major league city yet another reason to despise his client. Let’s face it, despite his apologies Boras knew exactly what he was doing. The guy fancies himself the Jedi master of P.R. so I doubt he'd 'accidentally' commit such an egregarious faux pas like upstaging the World Series. He did it to make a point.

Further, he all but flips the bird to the richest team in baseball. He avoids sitting down and talking to hear an offer, despite having 10 days to do so and even before the season is officially over, he leaves a message with the Yankees, and lets the media know. He couldn’t even wait to talk to a live Yankee representative before saying CIAO! Not only that, it’s a move which makes it $21 million more expensive (plus the 40 percent luxury tax) for the Yankees to sign Rodriguez and then he turns around and wonders why the they are so upset. You'd think a guy who uses $100 bills as spunk rags understands that folks don't like finding out their pockets are over $20 million lighter via IM.

“Intellectually, Alex is tying to understand the difference between his free agency and that of Mariano and Posada.” Alex Rodriguez has never said he does not want to be a Yankee. Filing for free agency doesn’t mean that. Because Rivera and Posada are free agents doesn’t mean they don’t want to be Yankees.”

Geez you opt out even before hearing what the Yankees have to say, even before your 10-day opt out period has had a chance to start and he thinks that’s a dandy way to say “I really want to be a Yankee! Yes I do!” It’s like trying to pick up a girl at a bar by telling her she’s fat, ugly, when she opens her mouth her breath reeks like a just-opened exhumed casket plus you think she’s a walking STD colony and being stunned that she dumped her drink on your head and stormed out of the place.

Either Boras overestimated Rodriguez’s value to the Yankees or he already has a sweet offer on the table from another club. The latter is unlikely since once A-Rod is away from the Yankees, the illicit offer doesn’t have to remain on the table. Before you can have a shot at Rodriguez you have to get him out of his contract. An under the table offer accomplishes that, but there’s no necessity to honour it until they see where the bidding goes.

I have no idea how this is going to play out. We know A-Rod can rake, but he’s older, he’s weaker defensively at a less important position, has post season baggage, and will soon have to play first base, left field or DH. Further, the way they opted out coupled with the fact that 252 is loathed by so many and saying in effect “It’s not enough, I want more!” while leaving your second winning situation for money and doing so with the most despised (or close to it) person in baseball…

It really isn’t the sort of guy the fans are going to embrace. Oh his new team will love him in the short term but Rodriguez is going to be treated like toxic waste on the road. Once his bat slows down and folks see that much money not producing then who knows?

The sad thing about all this is--fair or not--A-Rod is known for money, big stats and October failure. Is there any other all time great that has no team they are best known for playing on? Right now it’s Team Boras. Oh well, if Rodriguez really wants to win back the public it won’t really be overly difficult. A public firing of his agent will win back many fans.

(shakes head)

It’s going to be a long winter.

Best Regards


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