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Sunday, July 01, 2007
Is Boras Getting Too Big for His....Wallet?

Scott Boras wants to make the World Series a best-of-nine series and open with two games at a neutral site, arguing that the shift would create a marketing bonanza that would rival the Super Bowl (USA Today, Back to a best-of-nine World Series?). Boras sent a two-page letter to Bud Selig outlining his grandiose ideas on April 15 -- ironically, the day that Boras came to the realization just how much income tax he owes on commissions earned for the year.

Here is an excerpt from the AP report:
He would open the weekend on a Friday night with a televised gala announcing the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year awards, and have the five top candidates for each in attendance. Hall of Fame voting would be announced Saturday, with the opener that night and Game 2 on Sunday night.... Cities would bid far in advance for the right to host the first two games, and baseball would solicit corporate money, trying to create an event similar to the Super Bowl, Final Four and BCS Championship. Figure on hotels with flowing hospitality suites, ballparks surrounded by champagne-and-caviar-filled tents and tarmacs cluttered with private jets.

I have always been a strong advocate on behalf of the players and have been outspoken about issues that I believe are contrary to the best interests of the players. I respect Boras for what he has been able to accomplish as an agent working on behalf of his player-clients in individual contract negotiations. However, by sending this letter to Selig and, more specifically, requesting to meet with Selig to discuss his proposal, Boras has crossed the line and is going way beyond the authority delegated to him by the union -- which is limited to representing players in player contract negotiations. He's even using the term "we" when discussing this issue, as if to suggest that he speaks on behalf of all of the players collectively:

The World Series is something that rarely gets to a number of venues in professional baseball. And that's one problem because we want the fan base of particular cities to participate in the World Series even though there may be a lull in the particular performance of the regional team.

However, some players are not high on his proposal. For example, Yankees captain Derek Jeter says, "Nine games? It's too long." According to Giants player representative, Randy Winn: "I could see how that would possibly be a big draw, a big money maker, something cool and new. But I think a seven-game Series is more than enough to decide who the world champion is." And while Boras says "from an owner's perspective, this is a gold mine," one highly respected and experienced owner, Washington Nationals president Stan Kasten, refutes that:

I'm not a guy that would just want to hold onto the past for the sake of combating change. But in this case, I think we have such brand equity in the marketplace established with a seven-game Fall Classic, played in the two home cities. I really like that. For a lot of reasons, I think that neutral sites wouldn't work the way they do in other sports.

The purpose of this post is not to question and debate whether a nine game series is better than a seven game series. There are so many issues raised by this proposal that need to be addressed and analyzed from a variety of perspectives, i.e. the league, the individual teams, the players, the collective bargaining agreement, the broadcasters (and the contracts with broadcasters), the corporate sponsors (and the contracts with them), etc. Boras says that he will be meeting with the commissioner after the All-Star break to discuss his proposal. However, Selig (to my knowledge) has not publicly confirmed that he will be meeting with Boras, which, to me, will be the defining moment. If he does, it would demonstrate a monumental leap in Boras' power and authority to now actually discuss with the league commissioner issues that affect the players collectively and make proposals for change, which is and always has been the union's domain. It would also open the door and set a precedent for Boras to discuss other union issues with Selig.

Don't do it Mr. Commissioner!....


wages, hours, and working conditions!

Those are hours, so the union must agree.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/01/2007 2:16 PM  

But there is nothing to agree on. This is a rule change proposed by Boras, not a change the MLB wants to implement. If the change was proposed by MLB, it would indeed be a mandatory subject, but the MLBPA cannot demand a meeting to discuss this change. If anything, it could be brought up duing CBA negotiations, but thats as far as the MPLPA's authority goes on this issue.

MLB's interests would be best serve by not creating the precedent Prof Karcher discussed above.

Blogger Jimmy H -- 7/03/2007 9:35 PM  

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