It’s become perhaps the most anticipated tradition of MLB’s Winter Meetings, if only because it’s been echoed so many times by a baseball press desperate for anyone to tell them anything. Long gone are the days of writers and GMs getting loaded in the hotel bar after every game, with the executive letting slip how he really feels about a player, or whatever trade he’s working on, before slapping the waitress’ ass as the scribe vomits all over himself. Organizations and front offices are as guarded as ever, and baseball journalists will deify anyone who makes their job easier, even for just a day.
Enter Scott Boras, who never saw a camera or microphone he couldn’t tope suicida into. There’s no question that Boras ravenously gobbles up every bit of the ample spotlight being the biggest agent in the game has afforded him. Where that fits on the list of priorities for his job is hard to peg, but it’s certainly not at the top. But it also probably doesn’t prevent him from doing the most important part of his job, i.e. representing his clients. Rarely if ever do any Boras clients feel as if they aren’t getting the most out of the relationship.
So one day every December, even if it has to be by Zoom thanks to a virtual conference due to the pandemic, reporters swoop to Boras like gulls to peanut shells in the Wrigley bleachers every day at 4 p.m. And whatever your ethical stance may be on Boras as a whole, or just his seemingly unquenched desire to make himself the story, we can all agree his all-out assault on the English language and prose is a Hague-visit-worthy crime.
Here are some highlights from this year’s edition of “Boras Declares War On Worst Analogies In High School Essays:”
On client Jackie Bradley Jr.: “JBJ is kind of the PBJ of the major leagues. He’s sweet, smooth, and spreads it all over and covers it well.”
As far as Boras language offenses go, this one is more minor. But the easy-to-reach, “JBJ is one letter from PBJ” is the kind of genius Boras spins. What’s really disheartening is that these almost certainly aren’t off the cuff. Imagine Boras practicing this at his desk every day since somewhere around when the World Series was being played, and when he got to “JBJ=PBJ” turning to a full-length mirror and saying, “Scotty you’ve done it again, you diabolic!”
On the Blue Jays, whom Boras is now very interested in because they’re one of the few teams looking to spend money: “I said before that they built the lamp and now they’re looking for the right light bulbs.”
I mean, I guess? Generally you wouldn’t build a lamp without knowing exactly what light bulbs it takes or y’know, having them on hand. Also, these days, aren’t we all using light bulbs that are more economical? Wouldn’t that be the antithesis of what Boras wants? But Boras is so desperate to carve out his own analogies here that this is the route he chose. And it’s Canada, so it’s entirely possible that a light bulb search is a giant undertaking. Who knows?
When it came to the Cubs, where star client Kris Bryant for now is employed, the full Boras arsenal of gobbledygook put on a show. First up, the change in bosses from Theo Epstein to Jed Hoyer:
“In many ways with the Cubs, there’s a lot of stars there,” Boras said. “I guess when you have Star Wars, then who best to handle it than the Jedi.”
Again, Boras really crunched his brain to get the one letter change from “Jed” to “Jedi,” and then nearly pulled both hamstrings and an oblique jaming in the space/Star Wars connection. You almost have to marvel at it. Again, you can be sure this took weeks, if not months, of construction, and that Boras has never seen any Star Wars film.
“The ingredients to his recipe were aided by Theo,” Boras said, “but I assure you that the Chicago pot pie will be different.”
I will head this off at the pass and assure you that there’s no such thing as a “Chicago Pot Pie.” If you want to make some joke about deep dish being a pot pie, go ahead, I’m too tired of that fight to argue. If there were a Chicago Pot Pie, it would be gross and involve some sort of cheap alcohol. Even our “handshake” does. We would claim to like it, and perhaps even convince ourselves that we do, even though anything called a “Chicago Pot Pie” would bat at least .500 on making us shit ourselves. Anything to appear to make this place more special in our minds to justify living in a place where the winter causes us to literally try and fight the air. But again, there is no such thing.
It’s funny, when you’re a kid, Scott Boras is painted by owners and their stooges in the media as the absolute mortal enemy, because he’s the reason your favorite player left in free agency or via trade before free agency because he’s just a greedy pilot fish leaching onto players and doesn’t care about anything other than the size of his commission and fees. It’s certainly not because your owner or GM was too cheap or too stupid or too both to keep that player. No, it’s Boras the puppetmaster forcing that player, through the tears, to go somewhere he never wanted to go to only to make $10 more, and really that player wanted to stay but Boras wouldn’t let him. That’s the narrative they’ve sold. If you’re my age and grew up where I did, it was Greg Maddux, but every fan has one.
As you get older, you realize that Boras is just the best and biggest at representing a class of workers that had been boned over for nearly 100 years (and still are in a lot of ways). He might not be the good guy, but he’s not the bad guy, either. He’s just a guy like everyone else in this morass.
But his demolition derby of words and sentences every December…that makes him a bad guy. They’re the baseball version of the improv show your co-worker begged you to come to when you were 25 and then watched him (it’s always a him) proceed to make everything an overtly lewd sex joke because he thought what was funny in the frat house applied everywhere. It’s Bill Walton or Clyde Frazier without any of the whimsy, and without the whimsy.
it’s just ooze.