Saturday, November 10, 2007

Apropos of absolutely nothing...

Now that I am done with the ‘triple-triple’, I was able to distil the data for an upcoming Hardball Times column. As mentioned before, this blog will partly be used for brain(?)storming among other things. Speaking of which, my THT column this week was building off a Jeff Passan column on Yahoo Sports. It wasn’t so much a critique of Jeff’s column as offering a couple of counterpoints. His column was pretty good but there were a couple of points where we differed and I went from there.

I’m amazed with the legs my “Battling Boras” piece has; the WSJ mention was nice of course, but I was floored by Will Leitch’s remark on Deadspin where he wrote: “In the other, more convincing corner, the now-famous Hardball Times article…

It’s not even two weeks old. The world is a scary place where I write anything that can be described as famous.

Oh well, its good publicity at any rate. It’s tough to make a name in this line of work. Probably the worst overpopulation this planet suffers from is sportswriters. We’re like mosquitoes in May when you’re trying to fish; it doesn’t matter where you go, we’ll be there making folks so miserable that they’ll start slapping themselves for relief.

My MSN column has yet to be posted. I don’t worry as much about this sort of thing during the off-season since articles are much less time sensitive. When you write something from April-October there is a good chance that what you covered is old news by the time it goes live. My poor boss at MSN is severely overworked and I hate to bother him. He’s very good at what he does but he’s also his own staff. I wonder if the guy has a chance to sleep most days--considering he’s a fairly recent new father I wonder if he even knows what sleep is.

Hang in there Scott.

At any rate, my yet-to-be-posted column will be familiar to regular readers (the three flies who seem to like landing on my monitor who amscray whenever I bring out Mr. Swatter--cowards) of this blog; the shenanigans or the greatest manure spreader not made by John Deere … the purulent Mr. Boras. I’m appalled (like you care) that he seems fixated on packaging Alex Rodriguez as little more than a sideshow act. He’s not presenting him as a final piece of a championship puzzle (which is somewhat understandable I guess) but as a statistical freak-show. ‘Come see A-Rod slug 900 HR and get 4500 hits. He’s worth a half-billion to the Yankees but act now and you can get him for the bargain-basement price of $499,999,999.95.’

I remember a movie starring Paul Newman called ‘The Hunsucker Proxy’ that I lost a couple of hours of my life viewing. Bottom line, it doesn’t matter how good a thespian (not that there’s anything wrong with that ) Mr. Newman is, the movie sucked chunky bilge water. This is what Boras is selling: Pay big dollars and he’ll put up big numbers. It doesn’t matter that your team will Fujita-scale suck, folks will flock to Alex Rodriguez’s Home Run Derby® (a subsidiary of Scott Boras Inc.) .

As a fan, it really drives me up the wall (I waited for years to see if my mother would actually do this). The Jays haven’t even sniffed the post season since 1993 (and don’t get me started on the Maple Leafs) and this fiscal succubus thinks I’d be entertained watching A-Rod mash dingers over getting into the post season? Unbelievably, this is pretty much what Boras is implying about Yankees fans:

“Whenever you have an individual athlete in a team sport, many people--take those who are employed by the network--the regional sports networks are going to tell you that ratings are about winning. Interestingly enough, after the Yankees had won three World Series in four years in 2000, after achieving that and beating the Mets, their attendance went down by over 250,000 fans. What you're talking about is that a club that prior to Alex arriving drew its best in history, 3.4 million and last year, after four years of being there, the Yankees have now reached a record attendance where in Yankee history they've never reached 4 million and done it twice resulting in 4.2 million fans.

Prior to him arriving and the yes network being in existence for three years, and winning and being in the world series, and a level that the Yankees had not achieved since 2004, the ratings are dramatically higher than those days and they are-- went from 3.2 to 4.7. What this does for network value we've seen in the open market where the value of the franchise of the network franchise has gone from $1 billion upon his arrival to over $3 billion and no one is suggesting that that is solely the result of Alex Rodriguez playing for the New York Yankees, however, the residual increase and the fact that more than something than winning has gone on in New York. And the ratings have skyrocketed clearly suggests that there is a relationship between Alex’s multiple, well, potential multiple MVP's in New York and this historic performance compared to the Yankee players and the fan interest.”

Read it again carefully--that’s Boras’s implication; the fans would rather not win the World Series with A-Rod on the club than win it without being able to watch his client.

Of course, he also said back in 2001 about the Rod-less Seattle Mariners…

"The thing that bothers me the most, is that this guy (a reference to Mike Lupica’s remark that Rodriguez said he wanted to play for a winning club and the Mariners put a winning team on the field in 2000 reaching the ALCS) doesn't understand baseball. He doesn't understand why Seattle won last year. This year he's gonna find out why they won."

…and the Mariners jumped from 91 wins to 116 without A-Rod.

I really want him to take it on the chin. Right now, there’s an article on Newsday that discusses whether the duo should accept the Yankees coming offer of arbitration. It almost sounds like another Boras’ media plant. There is a certain logic in that (unless he had a pre-opt out deal for his client) because he has really made a mess of things for A-Rod. Boras has ticked off the Yankees and Red Sox and his pronouncements have made teams very wary about negotiating with him. An arbitration win of over $30 million would establish Boras’s market but it would make A-Rod a year older before his next long term contract with no guarantee Rodriguez could duplicate 2007.

Eventually everybody overreaches and gets burned. Boras believes in his own omniscience and savvy, it has served him well, but eventually ‘pride goeth before the fall.’ In my now famous (cough cough) “Battling Boras” column it was easy for a drooling knuckle-dragger like myself to point out the flaws in Boras’s reasoning so I can’t see how other clubs cannot see it as well. This ain’t 2000 and it’s not Alex Rodriguez circa 2000 where the sky was the limit. In 2007 A-Rod has a lot of baggage, a poor post season reputation, has been merely mortal in two of the last four seasons finishing 36th and 26th in OPS (in 2004 and 2006) and will be 33 come July.

I hope this is Scott Boras’s personal Waterloo

Best Regards


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