CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Futures Guide 2014 is Now Available in Paperback and Three E-book Formats.

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: When... (02/11)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article An Agent's Take: Navig... (01/30)
Next Column >>
Premium Article An Agent's Take: Sprin... (04/03)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Draft Ten Pack: High S... (02/11)

February 11, 2014

An Agent's Take

Three Ways to Work in Baseball

by Joshua Kusnick


Joshua Kusnick is an MLBPA-certified agent who periodically writes about his experiences representing professional players. You can subscribe to his podcast on iTunes, and reach him via email at JoshuaKusnick@aol.com and on Twitter @JoshuaKusnick.

When one decides he or she wants to have a career in baseball, one must have a crystal clear idea of which area of the industry they would like to work in. Let’s start with the area I know best, player representation. If someone of any age were to write me a letter asking me for a job, the first thing I’d look at would be their writing skills. Communication is what this job is about, and if the person writing me wants to be an agent, they have to be able to communicate at the highest level.

Next I look at the person’s experience level. Lack of experience can sometimes be an asset, since veterans tend to be set in their ways. Here is where the line between failure and success becomes evident. If you are inexperienced and can problem solve with some guidance, you have a chance to work as an agent. But if someone were to email me a list of questions when asking me for a job, such as “How do you secure endorsements for players?”, “How do you recruit amateur players?”, and “Do minor league players get endorsements?”, I would likely pass on that person—just not for the reasons you might think. All of those questions are quite reasonable, but they are far down the line and have nothing to do with securing a position in an agency.

Finding a job with an agency comes down to one thing: your ability to make the agency money, either via the draft, by marketing the current player roster, or by securing what we in the industry call “earners.” An earner is a player who will pay a fee someday. Signing marginal guys who’ve had a cup of coffee is a great accomplishment, but like everyone else, I have a life and business to support, and thus I need to find players who will someday generate an income for my company.

That leads me to another very important point: In order to be an agent you have to be able to scout. You cannot solely rely on publications or word of mouth to discover players; you have to know as best you can how to scout all by yourself. You have to know what you’re looking at, what you’re investing your time and money in, and what you’re devoting your life to.

Being an agent is not a hobby or a game for me. This is my career, and if I fail at it I’m homeless. I went all in on this, and anyone I work with would need to do the same. I met with someone at the Winter Meetings who flat out told me that they wanted to dip their toes into the agent business, and that if it worked out they’d keep at it but if not they’d keep their day job. It was the worst thing that person could have said. Being an agent is a difficult job, because it requires you to manage so many personalities and their professional lives—a responsibility that’s not to be taken lightly.

Clients are not fantasy baseball players or video game characters. Among my clients, Michael Brantley (who just signed a long-term extension) was a groomsman at my wedding, and I attended David Herndon’s wedding last year. To agents, representing players isn’t just a hobby or a game. It’s our lives, and if anyone wants a chance to work on the agent side of the industry, it needs to be their whole life as well. The bottom line is that you have to give up everything to have a chance at success, and if you want to get hired, you need to be honest, outwork everyone, and generate money.

And lest I forget, education is also important. I enjoyed my time at FSU, and I absolutely loved Tallahassee. I signed my first players there and would never have “discovered” Michael Brantley, Lorenzo Cain, Darren Ford, Jaye Chapman, Barret Browning, and Steve Clevenger had I not lived there. I will also say this: Nothing I learned within my sport management major at FSU helped me at all in my career, so I can look back and say how useless that degree ended up being. In fact, it was an affront to education, with one class, “Facility and Event Management,” that was taught by a Volleyball Hall of Fame coach and loaded with athletes who concluded our final exam with the important question, “List your five favorite stadiums (25 points).” At that point, I knew that my degree probably couldn’t help me do what I wanted to do with my life, and a lot of what I learned I had to learn on my own by going to the games and being around the fields.
May of the traits valued on the agency side translate to the team side, on which I haven’t worked for many years. For all the worthlessness of my degree as an agent, degrees are very important when it comes to positions with clubs. If you’re interested in working for a team, it makes sense to pursue higher-level learning.

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

25 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: When... (02/11)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article An Agent's Take: Navig... (01/30)
Next Column >>
Premium Article An Agent's Take: Sprin... (04/03)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Draft Ten Pack: High S... (02/11)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Daily League Strategy: Two Servings of Fland...
Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: Three-and-a-Half Months ...
Notes About Baseball, 7/22
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Boston Gives 'Em A Li...
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Monday, July 2...
Premium Article Moonshot: Accounting for Count
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: What Did I ...

MORE FROM FEBRUARY 11, 2014
Premium Article Draft Ten Pack: High School Winter Workouts
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: When Sabermetrics Gets Per...
Premium Article Barry Bonds, Race, and Public Perception
Fantasy Article Fantasy Tier Rankings: Third Basemen
Fantasy Article Graphical Fantasy Rankings: Third Base
The BP Wayback Machine: Arbitration Negotiat...

MORE BY JOSHUA KUSNICK
2014-05-23 - Premium Article An Agent's Take: Why I Avoid the Draft
2014-04-30 - Premium Article An Agent's Take: How a Player Picks a Team
2014-04-03 - Premium Article An Agent's Take: Spring Training from the Ag...
2014-02-11 - Premium Article An Agent's Take: Three Ways to Work in Baseb...
2014-01-30 - Premium Article An Agent's Take: Navigating Free Agency
2013-12-27 - Premium Article An Agent's Take: An Agent's Winter Meetings ...
2013-11-27 - Premium Article An Agent's Take: The Art of Making Endorseme...
More...

MORE AN AGENT'S TAKE
2014-05-23 - Premium Article An Agent's Take: Why I Avoid the Draft
2014-04-30 - Premium Article An Agent's Take: How a Player Picks a Team
2014-04-03 - Premium Article An Agent's Take: Spring Training from the Ag...
2014-02-11 - Premium Article An Agent's Take: Three Ways to Work in Baseb...
2014-01-30 - Premium Article An Agent's Take: Navigating Free Agency
2013-12-27 - Premium Article An Agent's Take: An Agent's Winter Meetings ...
2013-11-27 - Premium Article An Agent's Take: The Art of Making Endorseme...
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2014-03-06 - Is the Market for MLB Front Office Employees...