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Volume 24 No. 158

Labor and Agents

SPORTS ON EARTH’s Jack Dickey profiled former MLBer Gary Sheffield, who is “an MLB player agent now, representing one major leaguer -- Jason Grilli, the Pirates relief pitcher -- and a handful of minor leaguers.” He “founded his company, Sheffield Management Group, in 2011 with his wife, DeLeon, and Xavier James, his attorney and a former bigwig for HBO Boxing.” The agency's stated mission is to “prepare athletes for life after professional sports by setting them up with the proper investments and legal advice.” Its "real mission is to let Gary Sheffield negotiate with MLB's general managers." The agency “doesn't consume too much of Sheffield's time.” He takes calls from the players “when they want to hear from him, and if a minor leaguer is struggling in the Tampa area, he'll pay a visit.” Since his group is “so small, he doesn't have to handle much day-to-day stuff.” Sheffield “didn't ask to do it, but they beckoned him.” Players “just wanted Gary Sheffield on their side.” So he got his license “just in case he decided to get involved in the business.” Then Grilli "called in 2010." Sheffield said, "I didn't really want to put my name on the line, but me knowing Jason Grilli, I said I'd be on his side.” Meanwhile, Sheffield “thinks he might enter broadcasting soon.” He did “some radio for a sports-talk station in Tampa, and a few shows on the MLB Network, and he got good feedback.” He said that ESPN “wanted him to come to Bristol, but he said no -- too far” (, 10/23).

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: In Milwaukee, Lori Nickel writes Brian Mackler “doesn't work two phones at once," yet in “every other way, he is a big time NFL agent.” Mackler and his partners “represent about 100 players." Nickel: “His job is to get contracts worth as much money as possible, but his role goes way beyond that -- to mentor and [counsel].” Mackler travels “all over the country to look after his clients.” But he “does not sound like the parasite that might be the stereotype of an NFL agent.” Mackler said, "Fans have this image of Jerry Maguire. I've been doing this for 22 years. I'm married with two kids. And there's nothing better than seeing your players, who you've helped, play on the field" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/24).