Scott Boras: embodiment of the American Dream

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You think you got Scott Boras figured out? Think he’s the Antichrist?  If so, check out this profile of the Uber Agent from FanHouse’s Jeff Fletcher:

Boras, 57, grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Elk Grove, Calif., just outside of Sacramento. In this case “farm” isn’t just another word for “country.” It was an actual, working farm. Boras milked cows and drove a tractor. He said he learned early how important efficiency was, because it was only by doing his chores quickly and correctly that he could have the time to pursue his passion: baseball . . .

. . . Boras’ first office was a tiny little place in Pomona, a unspectacular, smoggy, community east of Los Angeles that Boras picked because it was located halfway between Dodger Stadium and Anaheim Stadium. The outside of his office was scrawled with graffiti from gangs.

Boras truly came from nothing and built his business through a lot of hard work.  He wasn’t gifted with clients via his dad’s golf buddies. He didn’t inherit a portfolio.  He gives tons to charities. He’s a family man. He has employees who have worked with him for years and years and they all speak well of him. And despite all of that, he’ll always be thought of as evil because he has demanded that billionaires give his mere millionaire clients a greater cut of the revenue they produce.  His clients are rich and famous, but in the world in which they operate, they are the little guy, relatively speaking. We almost always root for the little guy in this world, but not in baseball, and not when Boras is involved. Why?

Sure, his methods are sharp, make no mistake about it. Indeed, I’ve argued on multiple occasions that his representation of multiple free agents at the same position in the same offseason (e.g. Matt Holliday and Johnny Damon) is a conflict of interest.  But there’s more than one side to every story. When it comes to Boras, almost everything we read is negative.  It’s probably worth taking a look at the positive for once and giving him the same benefit of the doubt we’d give anyone else.

Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

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Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.