It Was Just A Mission Statement

Good morning folks,

Allow me to begin this small dispatch by stating that I love the movie Jerry Maguire.  Tom Cruise’s Oscar nominated performance as a renegade agent dumped by his company and left for dead who picks up his one good client(Cuba Gooding Jr.) and makes a drastic attempt to stay in the game.  Jerry writes a mission statement, a memo informing the agency how they need to conduct business better and connect emotionally with clients more and make a personal effort.  A good hearted plea to be better.  The agency fires him.  He takes one of his guys and tries to stay afloat.   Along the way, he meets and falls in love with Renee Zellweger(when she was warm hearted, unknown and good looking to a degree) and also becomes a father figure to her son Ray(Jonathon Lipnicki). The classic comeback story. This made you feel good about agents.  What if they were all like Jerry?  As he reminded people throughout the movie,    Cruise reminded you how good he was when given the right role.  Maguire was an agent with a heart of gold and exposed it in every scene of the film.   It nearly makes him homeless, but when it comes to ethics and pride, Maguire leads the pack.   And then I read an article on Deadspin on Dan Lozano, Albert Pujols’ agent.   Interesting stuff to say the least.  A column that gets you thinking.

The oldest rule in the book is to think of agents as angels in suits.  The cutthroat sharks who attack the shores of teams for their players and don’t leave until they’ve eaten all the goods.  Lozano is a liar like the other 95 percent of agents in the sports world.  The article portrays Lozano as your typical agent.  A guy who never graduated from college, ordered escorts for his clients, and poses as the ideal man for each of his clients.   For Mike Piazza, it was a party man.   For Albert Pujols, Lozano was a man of faith.   The column includes the theory of Lozano being the main problem in Albert finding a landing spot this offseason.   Written that he messed up chance for Albert at the negotiating table once and may do so again.  The article goes on to tell us that Lozano owes several players money.   That’s where things get dicey.  Every sports fan has went to Shark Agents 101 school, but the intrigue here is what Lozano isn’t telling Albert.   The idea that Lozano is using Albert’s big contract to pay off his own personal debt.  Albert may not like that.  Look, Pujols can fire Lozano and still get a huge contract.  He doesn’t need a super agent.  He isn’t a hanging on the thread of his talent player.  Pujols can sell himself.  Is Lozano hurting Albert’s future here with his demands?  Personal debt is Lozano’s business, but Pujols is a true man of faith and may not like the acting from his agent.   If he smells dirt on Lozano, he may cut him loose.   This is what makes this a topical piece for Cards fans.  What if Lozano is pushing Albert Pujols away from the Cardinals?  This is where I get enraged.  Are his actions hurting Pujols?  Financially, there is no chance.  Albert will get a boatload of cash somewhere.  However, if Lozano is leveraging Albert elsewhere to make a few million on his own, I want his neck.  Most players love this kind of wild gun activity, but not Albert.   He’s Tebow deep on god and doesn’t like bullshit.  I only hate Lozano if he is holding up a deal with the Cards by being extra greedy for himself instead of serving his client.  This has nothing to do with working a room or being a good agent.  This is client-agent ethics.  Jerry Maguire territory.   All agents become chameleons for their clients.  They shape themselves for each player’s needs.   The question is Albert not liking that kind of role playing.  Albert wants to get a deal done and Lozano may be standing in the way.   Bad news.  It becomes a problem when agents start serving themselves more than their client.   Scott Boras did it with A-Rod and got fired.  Lozano may be doing it.  Albert Pujols may need to get new representation or pull a Matt Morris and work his own deal.  This redefines the idea “It’s not all about the money”.   Its about player-client relationships and keeping those healthy at all times by pumping honesty into them.  It was just a mission statement.  Good agents would sell their home to get a deal done.  Great agents would sell their home with the family inside to get it done  Where does Lozano fall in the end?  Honestly, I want Pujols a Cardinal and if Danny is in the way, that’s when I get mad here.  Otherwise, let it ride.  Will Albert step out and make his own choice?   How hard is it to walk up to the Cardinals and say, “I’m the best.  Pay me like it.”

Here’s the link.  Enjoy.

Other Things Before I head to a Thanksgiving party-

  • Great NFL games tomorrow.   Three decent games are on the television tomorrow.   Dolphins and Cowboys, Ravens and 49ers and The Packers against the Lions.   The chance to see Romo shine during his best month.  Seeing two Harbaugh brothers go up against each other with bruising defense with Balty and San Francisco.   My game of the day will be Packers and Lions.  The undefeated Packers going against the suddenly powerful Detroit Lions.   Can Matthew Stafford pull off an upset and dismantle the Packers?  Will Aaron Rodgers pick apart the Lions secondary or be crushed like a turkey by Ndamukong Suh.   Every game involving two great offenses comes down to the defenses.   Game on.
  • The Blues lose a close game last night to the Kings 3-2 on a late goal again.  Barrett Jackman contributes to his most valuable player for the other team routine by coughing up the puck twice, leading to 2 Kings goals.   The main issue on this team is giving up the puck in their defensive zone.  Halak played well and the Blues pressured the Kings with great chances and scored a pair of slick goals but came up short.  This team is still headed in the right direction.  This was their first regulation loss with Hitchcock in 7 games.  Work to be done but I like the play out there.  Tonight, the Blues walk into Pittsburgh to face Sidney and company with Brian Elliot in goal.  This win would be huge and a loss would be a step back.
  • To the people who think we need to let Albert walk in order to plug other areas.  Let me ask you a question.  What other areas?  This team is nearly set to compete.   Bring back Furcal, Dotel, and Skip on 1-2 year deals and you can easily give Albert a healthy raise.  If the payroll gets raised, so be it.  This Cardinals franchise makes a ton of money and can afford to raise the payroll, and that doesn’t always mean season ticket prices will go up and the cost will go up.  Every ballpark in America raises their season ticket prices and its called a rise in consumerism.   Don’t blame Albert for it.  Man wants to get paid like the best and doesn’t need the most in the league but a healthy package.   Stop saying we don’t need Albert.  Look at what he has done for this team for 11 years.  What he means to the team.  The Cards made the mistake in waiting and they must pay up.  Last year, his stats were down slightly, but his production in August and September was huge and picked up this team.  He singlehandedly put Game 3 of the World Series out of reach and hit .330 in the playoffs.   What don’t you people understand?  Pujols deserves and needs to stay a Cardinal for life.
  • Staying home for Thanksgiving carries only one bit of grace.  We don’t get to drive 10 hours this weekend.   Road trips like that kind of suck, especially with a 2 month old who loves attention.
  • Movies to see this weekend.  Clooney’s The Descendants or Matt Damon in a special screening of “We Bought a Zoo”.   Clooney or Damon?  Tough choice.
  • Movie to rent.  The Devil’s Double.   Dominic Cooper stars as the man who doubled as Saddam Hussein’s sadistic son, Uday.   Cooper plays the man doubling as Uday and Uday himself in this explosive true story that feels like Scarface mixed with Traffic.    Imagine being someone wanted dead in several countries who was known as the Black Prince?  Dangerous.  Cooper is a firecracker of a young talent, so I am intrigued.

That’s all I have today, folks.  Have a good Thanksgiving and stay safe on Turkey Day.   All the best from this corner of cyber space.

So long until next time,

Dan Buffa

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