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Monday, August 09, 2004

Around the Horn

Various topics of interest today.

1. Hoops. Dave Sez has a nice post on an article from the Greensboro newspaper about coaching trees in the ACC. Fun stuff and a good read.

2. Olympics. Was it a Pyrrhic victory or a Sisyphian exercise? No matter, two Greek baseball players were suspended from the Olympics because their blood tests revealed that they had taken banned substances. What makes it worse is that they are not Greek Greeks, but Olympic Greeks, which, translated, means citizens of another country (in this case the U.S.) who summoned up their Greek ancestry in order to get into the Olympics. I'm sure they had their reasons for wanting to get into the Olympics as badly as they did, but now they look a bit foolish. Read all about it in USA Today (which will not change its name to Greece Today in order to honor the Olympics). This is kind of a sad story all around. (It does remind me, though, of a story when I went to day camp and they staged an Olympics, with different groups playing different countries, and this arrogant counselor, a college kid, told people that he was really Greek and that his name was something like "Ari Papadopolous" and they had the kids changing, "We want Ari, Ari Papadopolous", and many of us were really thinking, "who is this schmuck?" He didn't look or sound Greek to any of us, but boy you should have seen his peacock act when they called his (fake) name like that).

3. Baseball. Just when you think that Donald Fehr, Gene Orza, Bud Selig, Bob Depuy and Rob Manfred were sitting around the campire, making 'Smores, telling ghost stories and singing "Puff the Magic Dragon", the players' union now has a new cause, and it will be quite a dandy. Yes, this new issue is guaranteed to be the cause of a huge, public urination contest between the Lords of Baseball and the Union. The subject of the controversy: the Arizona Diamondbacks and their newly anointed CEO, soon-to-be-former player agent Jeff Moorad (once an associate of Leigh Steinberg). Moorad has enjoyed great success and has a big book of business. I'm drawing a blank as to who he represents, but he has represented some of the biggest names. Now, he's going over to the dark side, so thinks the union, which will examine the D-Backs' management situation very closely. I don't know all of the particulars, and, naturally, the union is concerned that Moorad might have a conflict of interest or reveal confidential information in his new role -- not only representing management, but being management. Somehow, I think that the sides should be able to agree upon the appropriate controls and procedures to ensure that Moorad doesn't use any information to his team's advantage and any player's disadvantage. Reasonable people should be able to agree, but the union and Major League Baseball aren't always reasonable with one another. And there's another wrinkle: the union naturally doesn't like management that much, but they probably hold player agents in only slightly higher esteem. The reason: agents can take and have taken advantage over the union membership, so the union more or less tolerates agents because they have to (and because they don't negotiate wages for their membership the way many unions do). Still, Moorad's joining the D-Backs gives the union something to fight about once again, and, given that they need to stay in bickering shape, the union will sharpen its jousting skills on this controversy if given the opportunity. Good luck to Jeff Moorad. Not only will you have the challenge of trying to rebuild a once-proud, now woeful franchise, but you'll also have to do it while fighting off the union. That's kind of like firefighters dodging bullets to put out a ten-alarm fire. Be careful what you wish for.


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