SBD/December 4, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Late MLBPA Exec Dir Miller Paved Path For Contemporary "Super Agent" Boras



Boras credited Miller for growing the game to where it is today
Late MLBPA Exec Dir MARVIN MILLER influenced agent SCOTT BORAS as he not only reaffirmed Boras' "belief that the agent's efforts serve as a counterbalance to the owners' considerable power" but he furthermore "helped Boras accept his villainous image," according to Michael Silverman of the BOSTON HERALD. Boras said, "He said something very profound to me. He said, 'It is time that will truly measure you. It is not the others of the moment who will vilify you. Don't worry about what's said in the moment. You worry about how you'll be viewed in time.'" Boras: "And that was so true. And ironically, in Marvin's passing -- the commissioner, everyone -- is saying he was one of the game's greatest threads in the fabric of the game. And when we talked about the Hall of Fame, we both agreed it would not happen until after his death." Boras said Miller told him, "Your job is to make sure the quid pro quo, the balance of the game, is kept, and in making sure the players' rights and values are appropriately preserved as revenues increase. There never is a popular explanation for work that you do because it's so easy to pull this arrow of greed from the quiver and fire it at the target. The moving target is the necessity because you're always running towards the balance of the game and talking about it globally while club officials and owners, it's easy for them to say they're the game." Boras said, "When he brought in free agency and rights advancements and all the other dynamics through collective bargaining, like revenue sharing, (it) allowed the game to grow." He added, "Ironically, it was those advancements that allowed franchise values and TV contracts, star development to evolve. We've seen owners make billions of dollars because of the platform Marvin built. I wanted to thank him for his work, his efforts because I told him, 'You've given me wings.' I get to walk on the stage he built. I'm very appreciative" (BOSTON HERALD, 12/2).

COOPERSTOWN BOUND? In N.Y., Benjamin Hoffman wrote in consideration for Cooperstown along with Miller, "another name also comes to mind: Scott Boras." In a way you can not "discuss Miller, who was largely responsible for the remarkable growth in player salaries, without also addressing Boras, who, as the sport's long-established super agent, has become the person most emphatically following through on Miller's masterly efforts." Why not an "eventual spot in Cooperstown, if he is indeed the best at his craft and has had a real effect on the game that has clearly benefited those who play it?" The first "obstacle for Boras on the path to Cooperstown is that under current guidelines, he is simply not eligible." Currently, the HOF is "open to only managers, players and league executives, which Miller was considered to be in his role as a union leader." One of the "biggest arguments in favor of Miller's induction is that one cannot tell the story of baseball's last 50 years without him" and the "same is true for Boras over the last 30" (N.Y., 12/2).

LOOKING BACK: In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, NHLPA Exec Dir and former MLBPA Exec Dir DONALD FEHR's summary of Miller's "importance to sports business when he accepted the Champions of Sports Business honor on Miller's behalf at a March 2011 ceremony" is featured. Fehr that day said, "The central point of the entire enterprise was to make sure that players understood -- athletes much younger than he was, negotiating against individuals most often much older, more experienced and much more well-educated in the traditional sense than they were -- that the players could influence their own circumstances, they could have a large degree of control of their own future and that they could have confidence that they could accomplish that if they went about it in the right way." He added, "You have to be in constant communication with your membership. Obviously you always tell them the truth, but you tell it to them bluntly. And that's something that a lot of athletes and a lot of celebrities are not used to hearing. Second thing is you educate them." Fehr: "You have to make sure that the players are involved and that they participate in the activities of the organization. And most often that means being present and participating during negotiations" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/3 issue).
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