Was I the only one who laughed a little and smelled a rat yesterday afternoon when ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick perhaps sarcastically released a bit of information on free agent outfielder Michael Bourn’s potential destinations via Twitter?
“Rangers still seem like best fit for Bourn unless Boras can convince Mike Ilitch to sign him,” Crasnick tweeted. Heh. Funny stuff. Ilitch always buys the most exciting Boras clients or helps bail his favorite super agent out, so why wouldn’t he be in on Bourn? That’s specially true if the Tigers were rumored to be adding another outfield bat this winter.
Naturally, the major media outlets jumped all over this delicious social media nugget whether it was fact or fiction, humor or truth. As of this morning, The Detroit Free Press was listing their “Should Tigers go after Bourn?” story as one of the top five most read over the past 24 hours on the site. People were likely debating the rumor’s legitimacy on Twitter, radio and in comment sections on other similar news articles all over.
Just like that, the “evil genius” had worked his magic again. Boras, whether you like him personally or not, plays the game he needs to better than anybody else. He’s cooler than Jerry Maguire, and knows his stuff way better too. Lee Steinberg and Maguire never had the benifit of Facebook and Twitter. Boras does. Whether he leaks tiny tidbits to the media or not, suddenly, we’re talking about his biggest remaing client just one day after Justin Upton landed in Atlanta. Coincedence? I think not.
Whether the Tigers are actually interested in signing Bourn, there’s still talk about him, which beats the recent alternative. Now, with the thought of Ilitch looming considering his close relationship with Boras, someone might now be tempted to move fast in negotiations. While he was perhaps a non-factor before, Bourn suddenly seems like the biggest remaining hot ticket item.
Why? As usual, it’s perception and nothing else. Boras has used the media, in all its forms, to his advantage. By showing up grinning at press conferences, he’s gotten his face known. By releasing select bits of information to the press, everyone knows who’s a “Boras client.” Could you even name another baseball agent? With his wry smile and the big dollar deals he commands, Boras just begs you to loathe him.
Yet still, I don’t. There’s an air of brilliance to what Boras does and how he does it so well. Just like we shouldn’t hate the faceless advertising executives who gently lead us to the products we want to buy, there should be no disdain for a brilliant salesman who does his job best. Boras has developed himself into a brand. Give him credit for being shrewd enough to command our attention on a cold January day when baseball practice is still a month away.
Whether Detroit is actually interested in Bourn or not, Boras has already gotten his wish. We’re all thinking, talking and speculating about his last big client.
Once more, bravo Scott.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax