by Kent Sterling
Here is what super-selfish super agent Scott Boras said to the media about the Chicago Cubs at the annual baseball general managers meeting that I found super annoying.
“You’re (the Cubs) developing the infrastructure, but fans don’t come to see seats, grass, cement. They come to see players. They’ve done a great job in the draft and development and they’ve got a really good core of young players coming, but it is just not what’s expected when you have a (family) buy a major-market club.”
There is no doubt the Ricketts Family is doing Cubs fans no favors in attracting the level of talent needed to compete for the National League Central crown, but Boras is crazy to say that Cubs fans “don’t come to see seats, grass, cement.” Actually, he’s technically right because what Cubs fans come to see is ivy, an iconic scoreboard, and the ghosts of their ancestors who sat in the same seats all the way back to 1914 (assuming they were fans of the Federal League team that used Wrigley Field for the two seasons it operated).
What Boras wants is for his clients to be paid more, and when big market teams like the Cubs and Mets are peeling back expenses, it’s not good for his bottom line which is generated by a percentage of his players take.
The Cubs are an embarrassment to baseball because they are trying to rebuild the farm system, admittedly bereft of talent after woeful mismanagement by every general manager that came after Dallas Green, at the expense of being competitive at the major league level. Jim Hendry’s attempt to save his job by trading every young talent of value for mediocre veterans depleted all youth, and led to the ruinous past three years for the big league club.
Tom Ricketts, team president Theo Epstein, and GM Jed Hoyer are selling fans a bill of goods that Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler, and Kris Bryant are a murderers row coming to a north side ballpark near you, but nobody can say that with certainty. Who is going to pitch is a post for another day.
Boras is right that the Cubs are doing everything possible to avoid paying big market salaries to ballplayers by accumulating mediocre talent at all positions, but his myopic motivation for his comments makes listening to him as foolish as lending an ear to Smilin’ Tom.
Boras wants money. Cubs fans want wins. Ricketts wants profits. I’ll leave it to you which of those three will be pleased with the results of 2014.