For all his influence and might, agent Scott Boras finds himself in a similar situation to most. He’s trying to be informed, he’s hopeful a season will begin, and he’s waiting.
Boras, baseball’s most prominent agent and an enormous influence on the Washington Nationals' finances, spent much of this week talking baseball in various media circles. His clients -- including Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Juan Soto in Washington -- are tracking information. Boras is trying to help keep them informed.
He’s set up meetings with medical experts, sent out emails about latest developments and even has trainers from his corporation’s sports fitness institute talking with players about conditioning and nutrition. Boras is watching what is happening overseas -- where South Korea and Taiwan are playing baseball on a much smaller scale -- while he bides the time before a decision is reached in the U.S. about how to move forward.
“It’s like Groundhog Day,” Boras told NBC Sports Washington. “You’re on the phone 18 hours a day talking to a lot of people. So, it’s been a couple months where we’re doing a lot of the things very differently than what we in the baseball world are normally accustomed to, as I’m sure it is for everybody in life.”
Mike Rizzo repeatedly said he is hopeful a season will occur. He would add that feeling is generated by him internally as opposed to specific information. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has used the same term. It’s part of his job to present an ongoing effort for resumption until it’s clear a season is fundamentally impossible.
Boras also falls in the hopeful category.
“On the basis of the information I received from the medical experts, I’m very, very encouraged about what steps we can take and how we can advance and do so within the means of a real environment that I think players understand,” Boras said. “I’m very encouraged [when] studying the models of Taiwan and Korea. Really encouraged that we can do this in the right way, and really give our country a kind of normalcy. Give it a return.”
That last line is a common reference point. Baseball’s internal push to return is framed around three main ideas: normalcy for itself, revenue for those involved, and this concept of being a potential salve for the populace during the coronavirus pandemic.
But a long line of hurdles remains in front of the sport. Daily testing, which was not part of the league’s initial protocol proposal, appears a must in addition to dozens of other safeguards. Even if the players and league can agree on all the health parameters, they then need to agree on the revenue issues. The owners proposed a 50-50 revenue split. The players will not agree to that. Boras referenced the initial March agreement between the sides and mentioned the players agreed to a roughly 40 percent pay cut in the first agreement. That’s code to denote the players already gave on their end.
“So, we’ve got a good foundation to work off of and discuss,” Boras said. “Obviously, there’s a lot to this, but I know they’re working hard and the union and the players are working with MLB to push that goal.”
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