Talk with Boras is anything but cheap
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 16, 2009 - It is now Day 21 of Mark McGwire watch.
Three weeks ago today, it was announced that the reclusive McGwire would be joining the St. Louis Cardinals as batting coach.
Yet there has been not a peep from the tainted slugger as to his role with the team, his suspected past use of steroids or why he deserves to hold the coveted job. But I'm not here to talk about that.
This column is about free agency, Matt Holliday and his agent Scott Boras.
My late father told me several things over life that I indeed do remember to this day.
One was: "Don't go over to people's houses who you don't like."
That always made sense to me. And it still does.
Another was "Don't ever begrudge another person's salary."
That one was also iron-clad perfect until the economy tanked and the U.S. government bailed out many huge Wall Street firms.
Once that happened, I decided that the CEO and executives of a company that was basically bankrupt without American taxpayer cash should not receive huge bonuses and/or salaries for doing their jobs poorly.
When it comes to baseball, both still ring true to me.
Why do baseball owners and front office executives visit Boras' proverbial home when they can't stand him?
If the Cardinals think he is a money-grubbing piece of garbage, they should have told Holliday and Boras exactly that when they acquired the outfielder in a mid-season trade.
They should not be talking with him. They should let Holliday go to the highest bidder without even offering him a contract and live with the fact that they lost several top prospects in the trade and then failed to win a single playoff game in 2009.
As for begrudging a man's salary; why is it that so many baseball fans feel as though they should be able to determine what a baseball player should be paid?
If Boras or Holliday came on their workplace and said, "You don't deserve that much money," they would flip out.
And why is it that people expect Boras to do anything less than get every dime he can for his clients?
Would you want someone representing you in a contract negotiation to ever say, "Let's give them a break because I like them?"
Would you want your lawyer to visit you and say "Hey, you can get off without jail time, but let's do a couple of months so we don't look bad in some people's eyes?"
The world doesn't work that way.
If Holliday wanted to be a Cardinal, he could tell Boras, "I want to be a Cardinal. Get it done." That would be that.
But Holliday wants the most money he can get. It is Boras' job to get it for him.
If he were to do anything less, he would be derelict in his duty.
Regardless of the way many fans feel about Boras, if they had a son or daughter who was great at a sport and destined to be a pro, they would sprint to the phone when this guy called.
Why? Because they would want their son or daughter to get every dollar possible during their respective careers.
It's all about the dollars. And that's what Boras is all about.
Alvin A. Reid is editor of the St. Louis Argus and a weekend host on the new ESPN 101.1 FM. His weekly Major League Baseball - St. Louis Cardinals column, which is now published on The Beacon website, was honored by the Missouri Press Association as Best Sports Column in 2004 and 1999. He is co-author of the book, "Whitey's Boys: A Celebration of the 1982 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals" and was a member of the inaugural staff of USA TODAY Baseball Weekly.