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How is the league going to crack down on “mystery team” reports?

Nov 5, 2010, 9:20 AM EDT

Boras sulking AP

In addition to shortening the period in which a free agent’s current team gets exclusive negotiation rights, the September agreement between the union and the league sought to impose “restrictions on the abilities of the Clubs, players and agents to conduct their free agent negotiations through use of the media.”

What that means is anyone’s guess. I assumed it was aspirational more than anything else because, really, how is the league going to stop an agent or an assistant GM or whatever from texting a reporter about this, that or the other? If the policy does anything it will only make matters worse. Instead of having a bunch of anonymous stories coming from “a team source” or “a league source” you’ll simply have a lot more 100% unsourced stories or, at the most, stories that cite “sources.”

Which, while a problem when the story is about sensitive or important topics, isn’t something I care all that much about when it comes to silly things like free agent rumors. Those are ephemeral, relatively unimportant and more fun than anything else. And, ultimately, if a reporter or a blogger constantly whiffs on such rumors, people will ignore them anyway. It’s kind of self-policing in that regard. The league cares, though, and I don’t know that they’ll be happy with what results of their new policy.

But no matter how little the policy helps, it’s already a worthy one, because it gave Buster Olney a chance to use it as a means of slamming my buddy Jon Heyman.  From Buster’s column this morning:

And the mechanism by which the Players Association and MLB would investigate media leaks is unknown; maybe these are rules put in place that both sides want the participants to enforce on their own, like an honor code. Maybe the greatest indication that we would see that the rules are actually working would be if we never see another “mystery team” tied to a Scott Boras client.

Rowr.

  1. BC - Nov 5, 2010 at 9:23 AM

    Aw, c’mon!! Don’t crack down…. you’ll take all the fun out of this….

  2. Jason @ IIATMS - Nov 5, 2010 at 9:31 AM

    Sources say: There is no mystery team

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 5, 2010 at 10:33 AM

      My sources claim otherwise. My sources tell me that there is a team in an independent league with the unofficial nickname of “Mystery Team”. I think that they play in a Field of Dreams.

  3. Adam - Nov 5, 2010 at 9:35 AM

    But what if there actually is a mystery team? Does this mean teams have to be completely transparent about which free agents they’ve contacted?

    If I’m Carl Crawford and a team is interested in me but doesn’t want everyone to know about it, I’m going to make sure every other team knows someone is interested in me, even if I have to call them a “mystery team”. Is the league going to do an in depth investigation every time the term comes up in a story?

    • bradlidgesmole - Nov 5, 2010 at 9:46 AM

      Heard This: A Mystery Media outlet is negotiating with Calcaterra.

      • Old Gator - Nov 5, 2010 at 11:00 AM

        Can you imagine Craig on the Trailer Park Network? Oh boy.

  4. Old Gator - Nov 5, 2010 at 9:51 AM

    Roll up, roll up for the mystery team.
    Roll up, roll up for the mystery team.
    Roll up OR GO TO ARBITRATION, roll up for the mystery team.
    Roll up IS THAT A CONFIRMATION , roll up for the mystery team.
    The magical mystery team is waiting to sign you away,
    Waiting to take sign you away,
    Sign you away….

  5. easports82 - Nov 5, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    How about going with “A Team to be Named Later”?

  6. Jonny 5 - Nov 5, 2010 at 10:20 AM

    “How is the league going to crack down on “mystery team” reports?”

    The way i see it, they have two options.

    1) Shoot Boras
    2) Shoot Heyman

    I choose Boras, Heyman serves other purposes which I enjoy.

    • Utley's Hair - Nov 5, 2010 at 11:05 AM

      Why do we have to choose? And can’t we add Bud Light to the list—just for shits and giggles?

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 5, 2010 at 1:00 PM

        Doesn’t drinking Bud Light guarantee the shits and giggles?

      • Utley's Hair - Nov 5, 2010 at 1:54 PM

        Shits—yes…giggles—not so much…which is why I stay away from Bud Light and he needs to go.

  7. lardin - Nov 5, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    Boras gets a bum rap from fans because he tries to get every last dollar for his clients and sometimes this means players leave their teams. But If I were a player I would want him as my agent.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 5, 2010 at 11:13 AM

      Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

      And now I want to shoot myself…

  8. apbaguy - Nov 5, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    We see this every year. Boras makes absurd pronouncements (“Beltre is a greater third baseman than Brooks Robinson. Third is a scarcity position. Therefore Beltre deserves a Texeira-like contract.”)

    He leaks it to the press through Heyman. We react with incredulity and in some cases hostility, even though we are only marginally affected (rising ticket prices, the remote possibility our team may bite on Beltre for 6 years at crazy money).

    Beltre sign for too much money and too many years somewhere else for a soon-to-be-unemployed GM, and we move on to the next outrage. Boras’ work is done. His guy is signed and for money we’d all kill for.

    But make no mistake: this crazy money circus has absolutely increased baseball’s fan interest. You see the same thing in the EPL. Middle of the season and coaches and players are commenting on whether Gareth Bale will get insane money to leave Tottenham. Two weeks ago it was Wayne Rooney, who got really insane money to stay at Man U. Fans love this stuff, really, and we’re all fans. Boras is just part of the circus.

  9. Panda Claus - Nov 5, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    Mystery team? I’m pretty sure that was just Shaggy and Scooby driving the Mystery Machine past Boras headquarters. It just an honest mistake really.

  10. Walk - Nov 6, 2010 at 5:49 PM

    If we see a story about penalties for this in a few weeks giving it teeth, then i will believe it. Otherwise i will believe it is an honor system type of deal and if the agent or player believes the benefit is greater to use the planted story then they will.

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