Fan smuggles grass into Fenway Park

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This is the kind of thing that makes the rest of the country look at the Yankees-Sox rivalry and shake their heads:

Ian Ferris, 30, a Bombers fan in the heart of Red Sox Nation,
green-thumbed his nose at Boston by planting Yankee Stadium grass in
the Fenway infield during a May 31 Phish concert. Yankee Stadium grass
seeds went on sale this year. Ferris hid the seeds in his pants as he
entered Fenway, filled the bag with water and tossed it onto the
infield. “This is payback,” said Ferris, who manages a Hooters in
Vermont. “If even one blade of grass sprouts on the field, I feel it
was a success.”

Not that I can be too judgmental about this. I live in
Columbus, Ohio, and this sort of thing — and stranger things — are
par for the course in these parts when college football season rolls
around. And It’s not even the weirdest thing in the article. Tell me:
if I had bet you $1000 that there was a Hooters in Vermont, you
probably would have wanted in on that action, wouldn’t you? As a
kicker, if I had told you that a guy would bring a clandestine bag of
grass to a Phish concert and that bag contained actual turf as opposed
to something illegal, you would have bet the exacta, wouldn’t you have?

Anyway, three cheers for derranged fan fervor, even if the non-Yankees and Red Sox among us have a hard time understanding it.

Scott Boras: Conflict of interest for agent to become GM

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Earlier, Craig wrote about the latest in the Mets’ search for a new general manager. Their list has been pared down to three candidates: Chaim Bloom (Rays senior VP of baseball operations), Doug Melvin (Brewers senior advisor), and agent Brodie Van Wagenen (of Creative Artists Agency).

It’s a diverse list, for sure, which makes one wonder what process allowed them to arrive at these final three candidates. Bloom is new school, Melvin is older-school, and Van Wagenen is… just inexperienced. Van Wagenen in particular is an interesting candidate as he has spent years advocating on his clients’ behalf. As a GM, he would do the exact opposite: he would try to take advantage of his players whenever possible, like every other GM in baseball does (e.g. manipulating service time).

Per Mike Puma of the New York Post, agent Scott Boras thinks there would be a conflict of interest if an agent were to become a GM. Boras, in fact, says he has turned down opportunities to lead front offices. But there is no verbiage saying that an agent must divest himself of his business interests before taking a job in a front office. Dave Stewart and Jeff Moorad are two examples of agents who later went onto the ownership side of the business. Stewart, in fact, moved into the front office after retiring and held various roles in with various organizations until he started Sports Management Partners (renamed Stewart Management Partners). He transferred control of the agency to Dave Henderson before he joined the Diamondbacks’ front office near the end of the 2014 season.

Ownership and labor are in constant conflict, even when things seem peaceful. Ownership wants to extract as much labor as possible as cheaply as possible. Labor wants to be paid for their work as much as possible. Their goals contradict each other and yet they need each other. While not required, usually being deeply on one side or the other — as agents and GM’s are — speaks to one’s personal ethos about the eternal tug-of-war. That Van Wagenen is so eager to switch sides speaks, perhaps, to opportunism. I would be, at minimum, unsettled if I were a client of Wan Wagenen’s at CAA. How might he use the sensitive information he was privy to as an agent to his advantage as a GM?

We have seen the analytics wave take over front offices around baseball. As ownership looks for ever more ways to pocket more cash, Van Wagenen’s candidacy may signal an upcoming wave of agents transitioning into front office roles. Hopefully that doesn’t become the case. There may be no one better equipped to take advantage of labor than someone experienced on that side of the battlefield.