“The Extortionist”

A few weeks ago the New Yorker printed a fascinatingly deep profile of Scott Boras.  In lieu of the goings-on since Game Four of the World Series, including the impolite opt-out by Alex Rodriguez and his subsequent renewal of discussions with the Yankees (along with a massive amount of personal defamation hurled towards Boras himself), I thought I’d link back to the piece by Ben McGrath.  It fleshes out Boras beautifully. 

It’s a long read, and worth every minute.

22 comments… add one
  • I finally got around to reading this article this past weekend and found myself thrilled by the possibility that Boras has considered working on behalf of teachers to get higher salaries. I want to be known as the A-Rod of public school teachers. Yeah, the parents and kids will boo me every day but I’ll be rich, blonde highlights rich!

    Nick-YF November 15, 2007, 11:29 am
  • This is a good article with some nice insights but I didnt feel it revealed anything too new. His Manny article last year however, that was one of my favorites.

    sam-YF November 15, 2007, 11:49 am
  • Agreed, Sam. It’s a good intro to Boras for the uninformed.
    I actually mentioned this article in a comment I posted in an ARod thread on this site. (hey, look at me tooting my own horn.) ;)

    rz-yf November 15, 2007, 11:56 am
  • It’s a good intro to Boras for the uninformed.
    I consider myself somewhat informed, and I thought it gave more depth to Boras as a person and as a businessman. It was more than just an intro, at least to me.

    SF November 15, 2007, 11:58 am
  • I in no way meant to disparage your opinion, SF. You are far more informed than I

    rz-yf November 15, 2007, 12:07 pm
  • You are far more informed than I
    ha, I wouldn’t make that assumption! I just felt that McGrath’s piece went well beyond the more typical “Player or Agent X is not such a bad guy” Sports Illustrated-type stuff we are used to as a “personality profile”.

    SF November 15, 2007, 12:09 pm
  • This article is brilliant. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Ben McGrath is on my list of ‘must-read’ now.

    Carlos November 15, 2007, 12:10 pm
  • re: SI
    Completely agree.
    If SI (or one of their ilk) decided to do a profile piece, I don’t think they get nearly the level of accessibility McGrath did.
    Hmm, I wonder if Boras used the New Yorker article as a PR play? Nah….he wouldn’t do something like that. ;)

    Anonymous November 15, 2007, 12:16 pm
  • Ben McGrath is great. I didnt mean to demean the article, I quite enjoyed reading it. I was just saying I had read/heard most of what was it in from other sources (ESPN magazine?). Maybe my expectations were too high as a rabid New Yorker reader and baseball fan.

    sam-YF November 15, 2007, 12:16 pm
  • Would it be too hipster a move if I got a Team Boras shirt?
    I also found the article insightful. I didn’t know his history within baseball for one thing. Also, the Boras corporate headquarters are a little creepy, kind of what I envision goes on inside a Scientology center.

    Nick-YF November 15, 2007, 12:25 pm
  • Hmm, I wonder if Boras used the New Yorker article as a PR play?
    But this article isn’t entirely flattering. It doesn’t paint Boras as any less of an egomaniac than the applicable conventional wisdom. But it does flesh him out.
    For me, I shudder when someone labels a guy like Boras as “evil”. Egomaniacal, driven, ruthless, etc., these are all words that don’t have as much weight as calling someone “evil”. This has been done a lot lately. This article shows that Boras is hardly that.
    It’s no PR coup, though. I don’t necessarily like Boras a whole lot because of this article, but at least I feel like I know a lot more about his substance.

    SF November 15, 2007, 12:26 pm
  • Sam,
    I dont think this article told me anything I didn’t already know. But it did provide a larger context. I liked to see the community of agents around Boras and what that world is like.
    More importantly, even if the article was not chocked with new information, it was written beautifully. And sometimes thats just as important. (I usually agree with Lupica 60% of the time, but he writes beautifully and so I keep reading.)

    Carlos November 15, 2007, 12:37 pm
  • “But this article isn’t entirely flattering.”
    And I think Boras knew this was a risk, but because of the “prestige” of the publication, was willing to roll the dice.
    I know, SF, that you are not insinuating that I called Boras evil (perhaps I insinuated it by what I wrote, but, whatever). I don’t think that at all. I think he’s incredibly good at strategic thinking, and used the article as a tactic for a larger goal.
    He’s thinking beyond just sports agency, and the article introduces him to a new audience that doesn’t necessarily read ESPN or SI

    rz-yf November 15, 2007, 12:40 pm
  • I’ve asked this before but don’t think anyone’s responded, so I’ll try again…
    How does re-signing your own Type-A/Type-B free agents work against the 3 A/B-FA limit? i.e., if Yankees resign ARod, Posada and Mo, does that mean they can’t sign any other Type-A FA? Like, bye bye Pettitte?

    yankeemonkey November 15, 2007, 12:41 pm
  • Not that I have any basis for saying this, YM, but I assume the logic behind the rule is to limit big-market teams from just buying up all the good FAs. So limiting how many of your own FAs you could re-sign would seemingly work against that logic because a mid- to small-market team with a lot of free agents in one year would be unable to re-sign them all, if they were so willing.
    I can’t imagine MLB creating a rule that would stymie teams of retaining their own players. Of course, I could see MLB unintentionally creating that rule, haha.

    Paul SF November 15, 2007, 12:46 pm
  • the yankees can sign 4 type A free agents because they lost 4 type A free agents. The max number is set by the total number of Free agents in a particular off-season, this year its 3, unless the team loses more than 3. The yanks will have no problem signing AP if he wants to come back.

    sam-YF November 15, 2007, 12:49 pm
  • Haha, cool, thanks Paul. Unfortunately, MLB hasn’t exactly set a gold standard for logical decisions, so who knows…

    yankeemonkey November 15, 2007, 12:49 pm
  • rz:
    the “evil” comments have come from all over, wasn’t pinpointing you by any means.
    Most disconcertingly it seems that people conflate Boras’ job with whether he is a good person or not. He’s been called all sorts of names all over the place. Yet he’s not a (known) adulterer. He’s philanthropic. He works hard. He’s earned everything he’s gotten, it seems. No shortcuts. Yet the venom sent his way from fans is amazingly potent.
    He happens to be in a line of business where being a raging egomaniac, hard-nosed, hard-lined self (or client)-promoting barker is part of the job description, I don’t doubt he understands this and realizes that the negative criticism (sometimes completely justified) comes with the territory.

    SF November 15, 2007, 12:49 pm
  • Yeah, its what i thought: we’re on the same page, SF
    Perhaps the reason why he attracts such vitriol from the average fan is because when they ask, “What does Scott Boras produce?” they can’t really come up with an answer other than, “Higher priced contracts for his clients.” How, besides the obvious and not so obvious economic benefits (which I don’t think most fans even think about, no condescension implied), is this benefiting society as a whole? It’s not like Boras is producing a tangible good. It’s not like he’s curing cancer. It’s not like he’s a fireman who just rescued Sally’s cat from the tree.
    Maybe its this simplistic reasoning that people are using as justification.

    rz-yf November 15, 2007, 1:01 pm
  • how…is this benefiting society as a whole
    Wow, that’s a tough one. I have absolutely no idea. I suppose that I don’t look at in such stark terms, personally. I look at it as he has a job, to get his clients good deals, as well as a corollary task, which is to counter Ownership’s greed. I am, in the end, a supporter of labor over management (even though I own a business myself, ironically).
    Funny, if Mike Lowell moves on his agent probably won’t be a symbol of evil and greed (does anyone even know who is agent is?), though if Boras was advising him and things transpired the way they have the narrative might be very different.

    SF November 15, 2007, 1:17 pm
  • Sorry, didn’t mean to make us think so hard this early in the afternoon.
    Boras, like ARod, has become a symbol and a lightning rod. For good or ill, all who are associated with him will have to deal with the requisite baggage.

    rz-yf November 15, 2007, 1:26 pm
  • I don’t think siding with labor and siding with Boras are the same thing though. The article is interesting, for sure, but I’m not buying the Boras labor mantra.
    He gets the biggest contracts for the players because that gets him self the most amount of money.
    The thing about this is that I agree with Boras, it’s his right in a capitalist society to get as much as he can for him self.

    LocklandSF November 15, 2007, 2:10 pm

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