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License to Deal: A Season on the Run with a Maverick Baseball Agent

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The movie Jerry Maguire and HBO series Arli$$ barely skimmed the surface. Now the true inside story of the sports agent business is exposed as never before. During baseball's evolution from national pastime to a $3.6 billion business, the game's agents have played a pivotal role in driving and (some might say) ruining the sport. In a world of unchecked egos and minimal regu The movie Jerry Maguire and HBO series Arli$$ barely skimmed the surface. Now the true inside story of the sports agent business is exposed as never before. During baseball's evolution from national pastime to a $3.6 billion business, the game's agents have played a pivotal role in driving and (some might say) ruining the sport. In a world of unchecked egos and minimal regulation, client-stealing and financial inducements have become commonplace, leading many to label the field a cesspool, devoid of loyalties and filled with predators. Matt Sosnick entered these shark-infested waters in 1997, leaving a job as CEO of a San Francisco high-tech company to represent ballplayers--and hoping to do so while keeping his romantic love of baseball and his integrity intact. License to Deal follows Sosnick as he deals with his up-and-coming clients (his most famous is the 2003 rookie-of-the-year pitching sensation Dontrelle Willis). We become privy to never-before-disclosed stories behind the rise of baseball's most powerful agent, Scott Boras. And we get a novel perspective on the art of the deal and the economics of baseball. By one of baseball's most respected sportswriters, who is now ESPN.com's lead Insider baseball reporter, License to Deal, like Michael Lewis's bestselling Moneyball, will provide fuel for many a heated baseball discussion.


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The movie Jerry Maguire and HBO series Arli$$ barely skimmed the surface. Now the true inside story of the sports agent business is exposed as never before. During baseball's evolution from national pastime to a $3.6 billion business, the game's agents have played a pivotal role in driving and (some might say) ruining the sport. In a world of unchecked egos and minimal regu The movie Jerry Maguire and HBO series Arli$$ barely skimmed the surface. Now the true inside story of the sports agent business is exposed as never before. During baseball's evolution from national pastime to a $3.6 billion business, the game's agents have played a pivotal role in driving and (some might say) ruining the sport. In a world of unchecked egos and minimal regulation, client-stealing and financial inducements have become commonplace, leading many to label the field a cesspool, devoid of loyalties and filled with predators. Matt Sosnick entered these shark-infested waters in 1997, leaving a job as CEO of a San Francisco high-tech company to represent ballplayers--and hoping to do so while keeping his romantic love of baseball and his integrity intact. License to Deal follows Sosnick as he deals with his up-and-coming clients (his most famous is the 2003 rookie-of-the-year pitching sensation Dontrelle Willis). We become privy to never-before-disclosed stories behind the rise of baseball's most powerful agent, Scott Boras. And we get a novel perspective on the art of the deal and the economics of baseball. By one of baseball's most respected sportswriters, who is now ESPN.com's lead Insider baseball reporter, License to Deal, like Michael Lewis's bestselling Moneyball, will provide fuel for many a heated baseball discussion.

30 review for License to Deal: A Season on the Run with a Maverick Baseball Agent

  1. 4 out of 5

    Max

    I feel like this should have been better, but it was interesting.

  2. 5 out of 5

    James

    Interesting look at the world of a baseball agent. Matt Sosnick, along with his partner Paul Cobbe, run a smallish, but growing, agency (at least it was when this book was written). It's a little bit of an underdog story, with the bigger agencies none too shy about stealing their players. Jerry Crasnick spent a lot of time hanging out with Sosnick and provides a great look at how an agent goes about scouting players (or hiring a scout to do a lot of that work), preparing for the draft, working t Interesting look at the world of a baseball agent. Matt Sosnick, along with his partner Paul Cobbe, run a smallish, but growing, agency (at least it was when this book was written). It's a little bit of an underdog story, with the bigger agencies none too shy about stealing their players. Jerry Crasnick spent a lot of time hanging out with Sosnick and provides a great look at how an agent goes about scouting players (or hiring a scout to do a lot of that work), preparing for the draft, working the phones on draft day, and just generally communicating with his clients. It does come off a bit too "Sosnick is a great guy" at times, though there are other viewpoints included from other agents and former clients that paint him as in over his head and slightly immature. The biggest criticism seems to be he's too much about being your friend and not enough about being a tough representative. Others rip him for not knowing enough about baseball itself. After reading this, I'm not sure I'd hire him to represent my son, but I'm sure there are worse choices. The book also includes quite a bit on Scott Boras. It was interesting to me to see some of the bonus-baby flops he's repped over the years. This book is 8-9 years old and talks a lot about players drafted in 2003-04. Most of the ones Boras negotiated big money bonuses for (at least as mentioned in this book) are long since out of the game, many of them without ever having reached the big leagues.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Awesome book depicting the relationship between the mid-level agent and the baseball players they represent. They focus a lot on the relationship of Dontrelle Willis and his agent Matt Sosnick. It's one of my favorites. Awesome book depicting the relationship between the mid-level agent and the baseball players they represent. They focus a lot on the relationship of Dontrelle Willis and his agent Matt Sosnick. It's one of my favorites.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hillary

    Interesting information about managing professional baseball players. Not the most amazing read unless you are really interested in the management business. I thought it would have more about the athletes and the sport itself.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    Baseball agents (SKOW PRESENT) 7/10/2005

  6. 4 out of 5

    Todd Johnson

    A poor man's Moneyball. A little slow at the start, but then it pick up in the middle. Might be more interesting in a few years when some on the players actually make it to the pros. A poor man's Moneyball. A little slow at the start, but then it pick up in the middle. Might be more interesting in a few years when some on the players actually make it to the pros.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Had to read this book as part of a Sport Management class in college. I am a baseball fan & really enjoyed the business behind scouting and the agent/player relationship.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Kwok

    A great book if you're a baseball fan and wondered what it was like to a baseball agent. A great book if you're a baseball fan and wondered what it was like to a baseball agent.

  9. 4 out of 5

    L

    Interesting behind the scenes look at the world of baseball agents. The highlight was a minute-by-minute recounting of draft day.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jonah

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wyatt Lim-tepper

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gary Rivlin

  13. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Crasnick

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  15. 5 out of 5

    Zach

  16. 5 out of 5

    Conor Glassey

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Gillon

  18. 4 out of 5

    Deb

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hasan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Luke

  21. 5 out of 5

    Coop Cooper

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joe Nartowicz

  23. 4 out of 5

    Meril

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aric Wu

  25. 5 out of 5

    Troy

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  29. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Carpio

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tom Eff

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