The news from Aurora Colorado this morning is awful and tragic. People just wanted to go to a movie and some sick person rains tragedy down on countless lives. Tragedy that will last forever.
There’s horrible evil in the world. We all know this on some level and always have known it. One of the best aspects of the human spirit is that we still go on despite knowing this, probably because we are genetically gifted with the ability to push horror out of our minds. If we couldn’t do that we’d just give up and never bring children into the world. Of course that means when we’re reminded of its existence it’s shocking and jarring.
One of the victims of the shooting was Jessica Ghawi. She was an aspiring sportscaster — hockey mostly — and occasional sports blogger for Busted Coverage and her own blog. Just last month she was in Toronto for the Easton Center shooting and wrote about it. And now she and, at this writing, 11 other people are gone and 50 are injured because of a sick person’s decision to make it so.
We’ll try to understand it all. Ultimately we’ll fail, because that’s the nature of unspeakable evil. But in the meantime we’ll hopefully spend some time remembering how precious and fleeing our time is here and appreciating all that we’ve had and all that we’ve lost.
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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.