Bud Selig was just on the Mike & Mike show, and covered a couple of topics:
- Greenberg asked him if he had any advice for Roger Goodell and the NFL as they wade into labor hell. Selig dodged the question with some talk about how all leagues and businesses have to deal with this stuff from time to time. I may be imagining the suppressed schadenfreude-inspired chortle. He did add, however — referring to the 1994-95 strike — that “I don’t think any of us at the time understood just how much the work stoppage hurt the sport.” Which is the closest he’s ever going to come to an apology, I presume;
- Asked about the Dr. Galea investigation that has led to Jose Reyes and now Alex Rodriguez being questioned by the feds, Selig said “I don’t think there’s a great deal to worry about.” Given that the man is incapable of ordering a sandwich without three qualifiers and four dependent clauses, I take that as pretty strong evidence that there’s really nothing there as far as baseball is concerned;
- Jayson Stark asked Mike & Mike to ask Selig whether, in light of the success of Olympic hockey, baseball would reconsider its stance on stopping the season to send major leaguers to the Summer Olympics in the event baseball is reinstated as an event, Selig gave an unequivocal no, citing that length of the season is already a problem, and saying that “telling our fans we’re going away for two weeks in not pragmatically possible.”
Good on Bud for that last answer. Between the winter leagues, the WBC and the increasingly diverse pool of players in Major League Baseball, the sport is pretty damn international already. The game isn’t appreciated in countries that don’t already play it, and Olympic exposure does virtually nothing to enhance the sport. If I were commissioner I’d put baseball back in Olympic Stadium before I’d put it back in the Olympics.
Oh, one final note: Selig said that he had heard Stark ask that question earlier in the show “while I was working out.” Mental picture of the day: Bud Selig in some tight Under Armor, sweating and pumping iron while a highly paid personal trainer says “PUSH IT BUD!!!”
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.