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Scott Boras said the Jays are suffering from “Blue Flu”

Slick speaking Scotty Boras addressed the media Wednesday and spewed some things that he needed to get off his moneyed chest. I’m guessing it’s probably because he has been experiencing some financial discomfort lately (I’m being sarcastic – sort of).

It’s here we go dollar dollar bill time, and Scotty needs to make the cash-rules-everything-around his players MLB. So Wednesday night he decided to use the landing above some stairs in whatever hoity-toity hotel as his stage to deliver his charged speech.

Whenever I read about Scotty B and the things he says, I can’t help myself from thinking about some good ol’ vintage Ric Flair interviews. He doesn’t have the charisma of the Nature Boy, but he’s stylin’ and profilin’ and so are most of his clients. So, when the man speaks, it’s heard around the MLB just like a Ric Flair WOOOO.

Now, I’m sure most of you have already read the latest Scotty B quotes because he targeted the Jays organization in his little dramatic whatever. The Newport Beach agent did actually say some interesting things if you take the Boras out of it. But, usually whenever I read between his lies, the only truth I see is M O N E Y, which is all he should care about because he is the high profile agent in the MLB.

What he thinks the league should do is set up some sort of reward system for owners. A system that would influence these billionaires (or corporations) to want to win, so, of course, then they would spend more m o n e y:

We have to create a performance model that is the equivalent of what we require of our players with owners in the sense of there’s a reward for winning. If there’s a reward for winning, I guarantee you they will do things differently.

Ah, sure, I guess. I mean, isn’t the reward for winning higher attendance? TV ratings? More money? And, of course, a parade and a flag that flies forever? I’m not trying to shit on Scotty’s point here, but there already is a reward for winning.

Now, sure, it would be cool if the MLB (and other professional leagues) did reward teams in the draft for winning rather than the way the current system is set up, so that teams don’t deliberately ‘tank’. But, also there is no reason for the MLB to reward the few organizations that don’t give a shit about going over the luxury tax that seem to be in it every September and October, who also back up truck loads of cash to a player’s house when a Bryce Harper superstar hits free agency.

It’s really shitty that big market teams like the dumb Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers seem to always be competitive year-in-and-year out, but we’re all used to the nature of the MLB. There’s nothing like watching Oakland get murdered by the Yankees in a Wild Card game. So, I guess if Boras is concerned with what the fans aren’t buying into and attendance and all that stuff, maybe the league should think about implementing a salary cap. But, that’s probably not good for Boras’ business or the players. But, Scotty B seems legitimately concerned for the fans and baseball:

We have 17 teams in baseball where the attendance has declined — 17 out of 30. We have six stadiums where they had the lowest attendance of their stadium history. We’ve had a total drop in attendance of roughly 4%. Now, some of the things we heard about this was it was due to weather. However, the two largest drops in attendance, of over 800,000 fans, have been in domed stadiums — Toronto and Miami.

And, sure, Toronto’s attendance was down last year after having three really successful years at the gate. But, losing does do that, which makes winning kind of, ya know, a reward for ownership.

Atkins politely reminded fans that:

No organization is going to win absolutely every year, there are always going to be lulls, and there are going to be teams that are spending at the very top of the payroll potential and still not go to the World Series.

When we talk about sustaining success it means building from within and having that depth of talent that’s constantly coming and then recognizing the opportunities to double down on that in free agency and trades.

It’s hard not to agree with what the Jays’ GM is saying and any reasonable thinking baseball fan knows this. The Jays aren’t going to go out and spend this season and that’s fine. The organization is going to have plenty of payroll to work with when the future Vladdy Jays need a little help through free agency. It’s just not the right time for the Jays right now.

Scotty B’s money quote, which I know you have all seen by now, is this:

Toronto’s a wonderful city, it’s been a great franchise, they’ve drawn over three million fans, (but) they’ve lost nearly a third of their fan base due to the ‘Blue flu” of not bringing attractive players that fans find interesting to their market.

The first time I read this quote, I thought he said the ‘Bird flu’, which kind of makes more sense because everything that could’ve possibly gone sideways for the Jays in ’17 and ’18 did. It was like some ailing sickness just seemed to linger, a kind of two year hangover after two years of fun.

Even if the Jays would have went out and spent money on an ‘attractive’ outfielder like Lorenzo Cain last offseason, the team still would’ve missed the playoffs. Even if the Jays were able to sign Arrieta, they wouldn’t have won enough games to earn the opportunity to lose to the Yankees in the Wild Card game.

If Aaron Sanchez, who we all know is represented by Boras, could’ve pitched like he did in ’16, that might’ve helped the attendance at the Rogers Centre. But, a suitcase injury and overall mechanical issues kind of got in the way of that. In the past two seasons, Sanchez is 5 – 9 with a 4.57 ERA and a 1.642 WHIP – those type of blistering numbers don’t help the team win and losing doesn’t ‘attract’ fans.

I really could go on and on about this stuff, as we all know the 2018 woes that were Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Marco Estrada, Roberto Osuna, and Marcus Stroman, but there’s no point in diving into all that terrific stuff and the ifs that had to break right for the 2018 team to be good that didn’t break at all.

I guess my point is that the Jays had attractive players that should’ve brought fans to the Rogers Centre. But, when all of those attractive players are on the DL or playing well below their expectations, there’s not a heck of a lot that the front office can do.

Now, one thing that I think might’ve negatively affected the drop in attendance in Toronto, besides the shitty baseball that was played, was the price of tickets. If it weren’t for Internet sites like Stub Hub and Seat Geek, I wouldn’t have gone to any games last season.

My mom came up from St. Catharines last summer for the weekend and we were walking along the waterfront on a Saturday afternoon. We ended up near the Rogers Centre, so I thought it would be cool to take my mom to a game (because Washington was in town and I wanted to see Bryce Harper). I didn’t buy tickets in advance, it was an in the moment decision. So we went to the box office while the game was in the third inning to get tickets and two seats in the ‘upper bowl’, the 500 section, came close to $70 dollars. I passed and I took her out for lunch with that money instead. Jays games are expensive. I will never spend that kind of money on a seat in the ‘upper bowl’.

I digress. I figure since Mr. Boras seems so concerned about how the fans are responding league wide to their losing teams, maybe the MLB should consider a salary cap to even out the playing field – or drop the luxury tax payroll thing to 150 million. Maybe there would be more competitive teams in the league and that would help attendance. But, I know that a radical idea like that is probably not in the best interest of Mr. Boras or any of the players, but it would be better for all of the fans.

  • dolsh

    I’ll start by saying that I completely agree with your last paragraph.

    The other thing is, he’s right too. Naturally, he’s 100% interested in finding Harper a 400M contract, and is off on his promotional campaign to do so. But, nearly EVERY team in MLB should be lining up a contract offer for Harper. The last time a generational talent showed up as a free agent, A-Rod proceeded to be amazing for 10 years and hit a bagillion dingers. Toronto really should be interested. We know they’re more likely to screw around with Vladdy to delay his payday, but they should be interested.

    The team has the money (arguably), Harper will still be in his prime in a couple years when the rest of the team is ready, and he can play RF. If they’re really thinking sustained success, they can be in a position to play Harper on a winning team every year of the contract. Toronto has a bigger market than all other teams in baseball, and if he does well, will hit folk hero status for a country.

    He’s right to call out a team that won’t use its distinctive competitive advantage to make its team better. Even if it is actually for selfish reasons.

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      Posters like Dolsh show why Scott loves to play the folks on Toronto social media and get them worked up about things they know little or nothing about. Scott’s largest Chump Chapter is in Toronto, where social media is full of nonsense like this:

      “He’s right to call out a team that won”t use it (wait for it, ed…..) DISTINCTIVE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE (BWA- HA-HA-HA) to make it’s team better.” (Excuse me for a moment BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA. oh fuck, “distinctive competitive advantage”, HA HA HA HA HA of fuck stop, HA HA HA HA )

      Maybe by “distinctive competitive advantage’ Dolsh thinks that having perpetually shitty attendance and selling cheap tickets in baby dollars in a market that only really cares about hockey, is a ‘distinctive competitive advantage’.

      How shitty is Toronto as a baseball market? Over the last 20 years, Toronto hs finished in the bottom THIRD of attendance half the time, that is 10/20 times. They’ve finished in the bottom half of MLB attendance 15/20 times, 75% of the time. Only the Rays, the A’s and the Jays manage that.

      As Rob Manfred pointed out, Toronto has one of the three lowest incomes from its bottom bowl, along with the Rays and the A’s. This is because of how cheap the tickets are, unlike in most US cities.

      The only thing Scott is right about is where the chumps are. Only in Toronto do people on social media pretend they’re hard done by because the team doesn’t usually sign moronic contracts like 400 million for Harper.

      • Abogilo

        While I agree with you that the “distinct competitive advantage” may not exist for the Jays over most markets, its also unfair to suggest that they are in the same financial ballpark as the Rays and As.

        The value of the Jays is that their “regional” TV market is the entire country of 30 million Canadians, and while the team may not see the milk from that cash cow, you better believe that Rogers (who leverages the Jay’s success with their media division) does. I would guess that the line between in stadium attendance and profit for Rogers is very different than a team that has a US regional TV contract.

        The other side of that coin is that Rogers may not see much different in its revenue based on the success or failure of the Jays, and merely uses the Jays as a source of content (win or lose). They would then just be trying to operate on the lowest payroll to keep some glimmer of hope and banking on equity growth/content output.

        I would guess as with most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and that the executives in charge of Rogers are assigning a budget to the team that they feel will produce the most profit for the parent company. That line probably sits somewhere close to where we see them now – just enough money to be frustratingly close, and unfortunately is not satisfying to most people.

        I would argue that while a salary cap may improve parity across the league at the expense of the players… perhaps the better solution is a salary floor defined as a percentage of league wide revenue (whatever percent is negotiated as the players’ share say 50%) and a luxury tax soft cap some 5-10% higher than the floor. The proceeds from the luxury tax could be split among all teams not over the soft cap to help subsidize spending up to the floor level. This would strongly encourage teams to be on similar footing with regards to payroll, would incentivise wise spending, would allow teams to spend more to win and would keep the player’s share of revenue reasonable – everyone wins except the billionaire owners… this will totally happen…

        • Nice Guy Eddie

          OK. First point fair. We can agree that there is no ‘distinctive competitive advantage’ but that the Jays are in better shape than the A’s an Rays.

          As to the second point, the TV market, we have to disagree. A ‘market’ is not just a list of bodies – it’s actual demand. Otherwise, Bangladesh is a great TV market for hockey. It’s not. They don’t care about hockey and don’t have money to waste on it.

          Similarly, Canada is not much of a TV market for baseball. Some people have compared its population to Texas and believed because the population is similar the market is similar. They confuse population and market. They’re not the same.

          Texas supports two major league baseball teams. It supports an AAA in El Paso and next year in San Antonio. It supports a number of AA teams.in the Texas League.

          By contrast, baseball has failed everywhere in Canada now except Toronto. A major league team failed in Montreal. All the AAA teams failed – in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa. AA ball failed in London ON, and A ball failed in Medicine Hat and St. Catherines. Canada supports only 1 MLB team and a short-season team in Vancouver. Usually short-season A teams are in small towns but in Canada it takes. one of the country’s largest cities to support a short-season team.

          So having TV rights in a place that doesn’t care about baseball that much is no big deal. Sure, the Blue Jays can be a novelty every once in a while if they are in the playoffs, but otherwise baseball in Canada is a niche sport – in the area of motor racing and UK football.

          I don’t say this to diss Canada, it is what it is and the fans that are fans are great. But the bullshit that Boras and his local chumps spread about this alleged ‘advantage’ is just that – complete bullshit, usually followed by some whining about not signing a stupid deal for one of Boras’ stable.

          • Abogilo

            Thanks for the reply. My point was not to say that Canada is a great baseball market – American TV markets are different, and can extract more value from fewer people because of alot of reasons including the baby dollar.

            My point was simply that using attendance numbers to judge the interest in the Bluejays is misleading because their market is geographically large, a smaller percentage of that market has the opportunity to attend and inflate those numbers. Thus, TV ratings comparisons would be a more fair evaluation of market interest than attendance at the Dome. Those tell a similar story to the attendance numbers I am sure (i agree than most fans I know are fairweather fans) but I think you are underestimating the market by saying we only care about hockey.

            I think Canadians care about the Jays way more than you give them credit for even if they are not the best baseball market, I think that they are significant.

            Maybe I am wrong, but I believe that someone at Rogers has done the math, and come up with a number to invest in the team to get the best return… and that’s the number we will see for payroll. The only certainty in baseball is that the owners never lose – and that Jose’s bat flip was historic.

          • Flash McLennan

            You are wildly, insanely, wrong on the value of the TV market. Here are actual numbers that you could have researched before spouting off:
            NYY: 277k average prime time viewers
            BOS: 176k
            Cubs: 166k
            NYM: 163k
            And then a significant drop. At the bottom are the Padres (23k) and the Marlins (18k). These numbers are from Forbes, and you could have Googled. That article only does the 29 US teams.

            Finding the Jays number IS really hard. I was able to dig out the following:
            2016: ~870k
            2017: ~780k
            And a tweet from a rando saying “Wow, Jays having a tough season in 2018, this Sunday afternoon’s viewership down in low 300k” Obviously that 300k number is low relative to the Prime Time weeknight average. If you want a proxy, attendance was down 27% 2017 to 2018, so let’s assume that 2018 ratings were also down 27%. That would be roughly 580k.

            THAT NUMBER IS TWICE THAT OF THE YANKEES WHO HAVE MASSIVELY MORE VIEWERS THAN THE NEXT TEAM.

            Sorry to shout, but you are so insanely uninformed on this topic I think it’s required.

            The TV value of the Jays is wildly higher than that of any other team. Yes, this gets obscured because there is no 3rd party negotiated broadcast rights contract, and it’s all just Rogers. But internally, they know the numbers, and they know what it’s worth.