Scott Boras went full Scott Boras on Tuesday, holding his annual winter press gaggle full of vivid metaphors, cheeky one-liners and all the bravado baseball fans have come to expect from the game’s most powerful agent. Even virtually.
He talked about new Mets ownership, quipping “it’s nice to have ownership with big apples.” He said MLB needs to hire a CEO to grow the game. He riffed on MLB not yet making a ruling about the DH in 2021 by saying that in the commish’s office “DH may stand for dragging their heels.”
Also classic Boras? He reiterated his stance that no MLB teams lost money because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As baseball’s leading supporter of paying players every single cent possible, Boras pushed back on the narrative that MLB teams are suddenly in the poor house — timely since the headlines about ownership wanting players to take scaled-down salaries in 2021 have already started.
He said instead, the pandemic-shortened season caused MLB teams to lose “profits.”
Scott Boras disputed MLB’s assertion that it lost money in this pandemic season today on his annual winter meeting chat, saying teams “lost profits” — not money. An MLB spokesman reasserted in response that “clubs lost $3B — $100M per team.”
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 16, 2020
These are, of course, two different things. When your P&L doesn’t look the way you hoped at the end of the year, that doesn’t necessarily mean you lost money, just that the year didn’t go the way you hoped. And in 2020, whose did?
Boras maintained that teams made money when they put players on the field, regardless of whether fans were there to watch. They just didn’t make as much as usual.
Scott Boras on MLB teams claim of losses in 2020: "A lot of teams lost profits. Great profits. But we know this -- in operating the game and having baseball games teams make money. ... Even without fans, we know that players playing baseball games makes money for MLB teams"
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) December 15, 2020
According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, MLB pushed back on Boras pushing back, saying clubs lost $100 million each around the league.
Who’s right? Well, we’ll never know. Teams have no reason to open up their books. This was true during the contentious negotiations earlier this year to restart the shortened season — the players union point-blank asked team owners to open the books to back up their claims of being poor — and it’s true now.
“There’s no team in baseball that lost money last year,” Boras said last week to the L.A. Times, making it clear we’re probably going to be hearing a lot of this from him.
And we’re probably going to be hearing more of this debate, since the league and the players union are already clashing about starting the 2021 MLB season. We might be in for a sequel to last spring.
Gotta figure Boras has a snappy movie sequel pun loaded up ready for his next interview.
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