You don’t become the game’s most successful agent without being able to multitask.
So, yes, Scott Boras fielded a reporter’s call Sunday while watching baseball.
“Every game,” he replied. “I have 44 TVs, screens and things in my house.”
Boras is relieved that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred did not follow through on his threat to cancel the season despite the Miami Marlins’ outbreak of 21 COVID-19 cases, the St. Louis Cardinals’ continuing flare-up and the postponement of 17 games, including three more Sunday.
“The protocols work,” Boras said. “Frankly, the clubhouse is safer than the supermarket.”
The unsafe aspect of this dense 60-game schedule, Boras said, is the effect on pitchers. A host of stars already have been sidelined, including Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Corey Kluber, Marcus Stroman and Cole Hamels.
“The biggest injurious threat to players in this COVID time is not the virus,” Boras said. “It is the mass of injuries to these men’s arms because their routines were interrupted and we had too short of a spring training.”
Boras wants to add nearly two weeks to the regular season, which is scheduled to wrap up Sept. 27, to reduce doubleheaders and increase days off, easing the burden on pitchers. (His client stable includes the Washington Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg, the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole and Dallas Keuchel of the Chicago White Sox.)
As a bonus, Boras pointed out, the MLB playoffs would be less likely to overlap with the NBA Finals, which could conclude Oct. 12.
2. Make sure every team has a Spanish-speaking ‘marshal.’
Last week MLB began requiring all teams to have a compliance officer to make sure health and safety protocols are being followed. The Cubs assigned traveling secretary Vijay Tekchandani to ensure players are socially distancing on the team charter, at the hotel and in the road clubhouse.
“We know that the protocols work,” Boras said. “We also know that baseball is a social distancing sport so that even when the Phillies played the Marlins (on July 26) with players that were infected, it didn’t spread to the Phillies players. We can play the game on a competitive level.
“But the protocols are complex, and we need marshals — and bilingual marshals — so the explanation of the protocols can take place. We need broad explanation of the protocols in the primary language of the players.”
Three of the first four Marlins infected — pitcher Jose Urena, catcher Jorge Alfaro, outfielder Harold Ramirez and infielder Garrett Cooper — speak Spanish as a primary language.
3. Create a World Series bubble.
MLB’s expanded 16-team postseason calls for the higher-seeded team to host all of the games in the initial best-of-three series. But the division series, league championships and World Series are set for home/road formats that add the potentially sticky layer of plane travel.
Boras is calling for the World Series, at the very least, to take place in one city. Think of it as MLB’s Super Bowl.
“We need to prepare the greatest environment to make sure it goes on without incident,” Boras said. “An event like the World Series, you would want to choose (a city) so maybe we can have fans there. Pick a jurisdiction that is the best COVID-free environment and set up a World Series week.”
Great in theory, harder in practice. Warm-weather cities such as Miami and Phoenix are COVID-19 hot spots, and California is under severe restrictions.
With regions seeing day-to-day rises and falls in cases, Boras recommends completing an analysis four to five weeks before Game 1.
4. Keep the rosters at 30 players.
It’s a no-brainer plea for an agent on commission, but it’s also common sense considering all the felled players. Rosters are slated to drop to 28 on Thursday and eventually 26 (27 for doubleheaders).