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Volume 24 No. 113

Labor and Agents

The competition between agents Scott Boras and Jay Z is "the most improbable rivalry in sports," according to Brian Costa of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Boras is the "60-year-old scourge of owners everywhere," while Jay Z is the "43-year-old rapper turned entrepreneur" who has been a baseball agent for about two months. Jay Z' signing of Yankees 2B Robinson Cano and the "verbal barbs that followed have ignited the sports-agency equivalent of a hip-hop feud." It is "at once a clash of egos and ideas." At issue is "to what extent are established agents like Boras missing out on marketing and endorsement opportunities for their clients," and "to what extent should a baseball player even care." Jay Z  recently said that his Roc Nation Sports agency is "part of a larger goal 'for all artists to get their just due.'" Boras said, "Anyone who thinks playing the game of baseball is like being an artist knows nothing about the game of baseball. I don't worry about others, because you know what, in the end, as always, there are few survivors in (the agency) game." Boras said that MLBers have "less time for endorsement deals than athletes in other sports." Boras: "The reality of it is those deals have shrunk. The executives of companies want more time from the player. They want him to get up at 7 a.m. and do an ad after arriving home at 3 o'clock in the morning? I don't want a player doing that. I want him at the field at 3 p.m. and rested." Cano cited a marketing deal he signed with Pepsi last month as "evidence of what he believes Jay Z will do for him." Boras made an "indirect reference to the rapper's famous line about making a Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can." Boras: "When your agent wears a Yankee hat, how seriously are they going to take you?" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/20).