Baseball mega-agent Scott Boras has never been shy about offering his opinion. So when his most prominent client is facing a suspension after punching another player, you know Boras is going to leap into the fray.
Boras was at it again Tuesday, offering up a defense of Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper. Despite Harper’s actions during Monday’s brawl with Hunter Strickland and the San Francisco Giants, Boras believes Major League Baseball should be lenient with the 24-year-old outfielder, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
“Major League Baseball cannot allow this to be a County Fair duck shoot — ‘Here, I’m going to do something for myself.’ Because of that immediate sense of fear a player has when someone throws the ball 100 mph at him, his response is not any way like it normally is when you have a notice of provocation.
“(Harper’s) response was an act of fear … a moment of reaction to a dangerous stimulus. He was unmindful and unaware … It’s very different from a player who is aware of a situation where immediate and or current previous acts of provocation have occurred.”
Boras’ entire argument hinges on Harper acting in the moment and being “unaware” of what he was doing. He’s saying that Harper did not premeditate the incident, and that he shouldn’t be punished for reacting harshly after being hit in the hip with a fastball.
It’s a bold argument, though not exactly surprising. Boras represents Harper, and the agent has a history of speaking up for his players no matter the situation. And, hey, most of the time it works. There’s a reason Boras is considered one of the best agents in the game. He gets his clients loads of cash.
There’s no real downside to him taking this stance either. It’s not like the league is going to punish Boras. His statement only makes him look better and more attractive to other players. Harper can see Boras’ loyalty and appreciate the sentiment. Other players who aren’t represented by Boras may gain respect for him because he went to the mat for one of his guys. No matter what happens, Boras can’t lose.
That’s the point, though. Boras is smart enough to know the league isn’t going to listen to his arguments. Rob Manfred will ignore everything Boras said and slap Harper with a suspension anyway. If anything, Boras’ statements could make Manfred so angry he adds games to the suspension. But even if he does that, Boras comes away looking like a martyr. He fought the all-powerful league and the league won. But at least he fought.
It’s all just window dressing at this point. And by coming out and making the statement now, Boras has the opportunity to do it again when Harper inevitably gets suspended. This is how Boras operates, and it’s one of the reasons he’s so successful at his job.
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