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I am not really sure what conflict James is getting at though. Agents and their union are both good for players, and they would suffer without either.
He didn't say it was a conflict, just that it's an odd situation. I can understand what he is talking about, if this was a normal union. Having two people bargaining against the employer just seems weird if not somewhat unfair. But this isn't a normal union as Walt pointed out, it's a craft guild. The union negotiates minimum rights for all employees, while the agents are there helping to get the best possible deal for their individual client.
I don't see anything weird, and certainly not unfair, about any of that no matter what sort of union we are talking about. Unless one thinks unions are somehow inherently communist or something.
Yes, it is my opinion that dual representation by an agent and a union is. . ..an odd situation presenting some issues about what is appropriate.
. For example, there was a movie a couple of decades ago (forgotten the title) that was about Vietnam, and one scene called for a helicopter to come down and rescue a couple of small Vietnamese children.
The director told the special effects guy to shut up. The special effects guy shut down the shoot, until the director caved. Saved the actor's career, very possibly, because he saved the actor's face. In the film industry, that's a lot of what the unions do. They negotiate for their highly-trained guys to have control over the things they are trained at, rather than having to submit to a director who may be caught up in his own ego and emotions, and who is likely not a trained special effects guy anyway.
It probably makes as much sense to speculate that "we" were so focused on keeping Morris out that we didn't form a Blyleven-like campaign for Raines (a bit of one) or Trammell (not at all near as I can tell) or Edgar (ditto). Of course I consider Raines and Edgar kinda borderline and, with the ballot packed, there's not much hope for any grassroots campaign. (A campaign to push Bagwell over the line would be good but he's at too healthy a percentage to really be "grassroots")
Walt and Don are getting at something that I think is important to the whole development of free agency: Why don't players just negotiate their own contracts, instead of paying percentages to agents? I have always thought, without really ever knowing the answer, that the reason is that the GM is, in effect, the agent for the owner. GMs are trained in how to negotiate. Baseball players are not. Player agents are. I think it may be as simple as that. If the players negotiate their own contracts, they are doing so as untrained agents, while the GM they are negotiating with is a trained agent. I think there is little doubt that, in contract negotiations, you can view the GM as the owner's agent and pretty much get everything right. But I would be VERY willing to be educated on this subject, because I don't really know anything.
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