The Hate for Scott Boras and Hypocrisy of Loyalty in Baseball
Bring up Scott Boras' name to baseball fans, and some of them will call him "The Most Hated Man In Baseball" or "The Baseball Antichrist."
It's a common reaction among fans when a former star (and Boras client) of their favorite team ends up signing with another team, usually for A LOT more money. While there are some general managers in Major League Baseball who won't deal with Scott Boras and some of his draft picks end up dropping in the June amateur draft due to signability concerns, I never understood the widespread enmity and hate over Boras.
Why blame Boras for "ruining baseball"? If you absolutely HAVE to blame somebody, blame the players for choosing Scott Boras to represent them. Blame Carlos Beltran for signing with the Mets, or blame J.D. Drew for opting out of his contract with the Dodgers and signing with the Red Sox. They're obviously choosing him for a reason.
I don't like or dislike Scott Boras...Obviously because I do not know the man, and I don't harbor "hate" (a strong word) for anybody I do not know. It's simply not worth my time and energy.
If I DID blame anybody for the state of superstar contracts in the game (many which were negotiated by Scott Boras), I would blame the players for signing with him and blame the owners for giving into his demands before I would blame him...And I don't blame any of them.
The truth of the matter is that if there was a Scott Boras equivalent in the current job market, all of us would "sign" with him to represent us. He's gotten his players signed, and he's gotten them paid.
Tom Hicks could have easily said "that's too much money" to Boras when they signed Alex Rodriguez back in 2000, especially since the Rangers bid against themselves. If that was you, would you want less money? Would you tell your employer "wow, that's too big of a raise for me"? Doubtful.
Granted, most of us are not making an average of $3.15 million per year to play a game that many people would play for free. And yes, I do know what it's like when a favorite player signs with another team, but that's not the agent's fault.
The fact of the matter is that there is very little loyalty in baseball anymore and most players don't care where they play, as long as it is a competitive team. Sure, if everything was even, players probably would prefer to play in a warmer climate like Florida, Arizona, or southern California, but if the Pittsburgh Pirates offered more money to a marquee free agent than any other team, screw the warmer weather!
They can afford paying the heating for their new condo or mansion. You'll hear free agents mention that they hope to re-sign with the team, love the city/fans, and on and on and on, but it's just good public relations.
If CC Sabathia came out and said, "Well, the Brewers were a good team this year, but Milwaukee is a dump of a city! I'm going home to southern Cali baby!" then that would be one less option for a potentially lucrative contract on his part. Scott Boras is just doing his job, which he does well, judging by the players that sign with him.
I don't consider Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, J.D. Drew, Derek Lowe, Jason Varitek, Kevin Milwood, or several other Boras clients to lack intelligence by having him as their agent. I simply think of them as doing what is best for them and their families, which is what we all tend to do in our day to day lives.
Way too often, we blame players for "chasing the almighty dollar", but we don't stop and consider it from their point of view. It's hypocritical to demand "loyalty" from our favorite players when his own team doesn't give loyalty in return. The life of a baseball player isn't always full of luxury and dollar signs.
You can be traded at the drop of a hat by your team at anytime. If you're a journeyman or minor-leaguer, you don't really have a "home" since eight months out of the season, you are playing the game of baseball, and you still have no guarantee you're going to last that long on the team.
During the 2004 baseball season, third baseman Jose Bautista became the first player to be on five different Major League rosters over the course of one season. Talk about never being able to settle in to your new apartment! "Yeah hi, I'm wondering if you have flexible leasing options...Such as, I don't know, three weeks?"
Loyalty goes two ways in the game of baseball. Every Major League Baseball team does what is best for them...So it's only fair that every Major League Baseball player does what is best for them as well.
Their service is only needed until the team has a more cost-efficient (a.k.a. "cheaper") alternative in the minor leagues. If they can provide the same level of performance on the field, why not save $8 million and give them a shot?
Team owners obviously consider the fan backlash, but when it gets down to it, that money they save by letting the "fan favorite" sign with another team or trading him to the other league triumphs over all. Eventually the fans come back.
We always do. I just think from now on, we have to have much more realistic expectations of what we're going to get. When I go to a baseball game now (which I do far less often than I used to do), all I want is for the 25 players on the field to do their best for nine innings and 162 games per season.
Just because I pay too much for a hot dog and a large Coke, I will not ask that the players love my city or sacrifice their family to play here for less money than they can get elsewhere. I just ask that while they are here, they do their best...And "if the stars are aligned" or the "baseball gods" smile down on us, we'll both enjoy a successful season (and hopefully World Series win)! Then...We can both reap the benefits.
So wake up and stop the hate against Scott Boras...And stop blaming our favorite players when their decisions for what is best for them and their families don't align with what is best for us as baseball fans.
If we don't like it, we can always choose to spend our time and money on other forms of entertainment. Baseball has always been a business (for owners) and a job (for players). That's just the way it is...It's the name of the game.
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