Monday, March 31, 2008

Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld, so I can sigh eternally

Well the season is upon us and I suppose it was a great opening day. I'm not going to lie, the highlight for me was watching George W. Bush get booed throwing out the first pitch at the new ballpark for the Washington Nationals. The only thing better than that was watching Keith Olbermann point out that the man catching Mr. President, Manny Acta the manager was not in fact the days starting catcher, Paul Lo Duca, who himself was named the mitchell steroid report that Mr. President fully supported. Sweet sweet irony.

Ive been sick the last few days. Spent time with one client who has been in town on his off days. I am going to Daytona for opening day then headed to Brevard County friday. It's going to be a long season but someone has to do it.

Managing the draft on what seems to be an almost never ending cycle of phone calls, insomnia, and bad movies like Batman and Robin which very well might be the worst movie in the history of cinema, even worse than manos the hands of fate. I did get some time the last two days while sick to catch up on some films. Watched No Country for Old Men, Shattered Glass and The Darjeeling Limited. Loved the first 1:45 minutes of No Country, loved Shattered Glass and really loved Darjeeling.

I like to consider myself someone who understands cinema. I love good films, indie films, well made films but films like no country occasionally piss me off. I hate Frailty, I hate Boondock Saints, I guess I hate any movie that has spiritual undertones throughout the film. It's not that I didn't understand the symbolism throughout No Country, it's just that I couldn't care less. I also think the Coen brothers intentionally were deceptive in the way the shot some of the movie but whatever see it for yourself.

Hope all is well

All in All


Friday, March 28, 2008

Spring is here again Tender age in bloom

I havent had time to post in a few days. Spring Training finally wrapped up and I cant begin to explain how happy that makes me. Everything is in its place now and I am ready to get the season started. Nothing is static in this game so whatever is promised today doesnt really mean a whole lot tomorrow. It's up to each player to get themselves motivated to play or else they dont stand a chance. It is the Law of the game as they say. Motivation ends at the edge of ones eyelids. Beyond that, they all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. (To paraphrase the great HST as usual).

A big moment came this week when Taylor Green and Lorenzo Cain got called up to a big league game this week for the brewers. It wasnt just any game, it was being broadcast on WGN. I had no idea they were playing until I accidently passed the channel when I got home from work. It was a breathtaking experience seeing Cain on TV after all the years Ive known him all the way back to his days at TCC and Madison HS. Taylor's parents were at the game and I know they could not have been prouder.

Another HS game today too. Total blowout. 19 runs scored by my old HS. Great game played at the field I last played baseball at.

Kind of tired. Going to practice the guitar

Peace Love Empathy.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

An ominous assignment with overtones of extreme personal danger.

First a total random comment. I love Keith Olbermann. I love Countdown. I love Keith Olbermann even more. That is all.

Spent most of the day manning the phones. This is crunch time for everyone now. Players are starting to finally find out where they will be playing this year and in what role they will be placed in. We had a bit of good news today too. Two players we've represented for a long time, Kyle Crist and Patrick Green will be starting off in AA. They deserve it too. Kyle and Greenie have had setback after setback with regard to injuries so it's nice to see an actual payoff finally.

Had a very big crisis to deal with today. One player who I sadly wont name just to avoid a situation with had threatened to quit today. I signed this player back in 2004 and over the years my relationship with said player has gone from strictly professional to overwhelmingly personal. I love this player as if he was my brother (I love all my players but like any situation each one of them in a different way) This player has had many professional hardships and finally he has a genuine opportunity to advance and he was about to quit today because he was unhappy with his initial assignment. I spent all day talking to the player, his father and the team and FINALLY I talked him out of quitting. He has a great deal of pro options if baseball does not pan out. I told him if he struggles this year then I would support his move to another sport however it would be insanity to make this move before he has an opportunity to see what he can do with a full season on the diamond. The worst thing in life is wasted talent and I would hate to see someone I care a great deal for have a lifetime of lament because of an impulsive decision. I'm glad he's sticking it out.

Gave an interview yesterday to one of my former interns who is actually engaged to one of my clients now. She is fantastic and works very hard so I didnt mind being mildly candid. One of the things Ive learned over the years is that I am not like everyone else. I am okay with this fact and after 25 years I am moderately comfortable with who I am but occasionally I still slip up. I work in a business dominated by perception. I always make it a point to be my true self in every facet of my life so every time I give an interview I just kind of let it go. The thing is up until this point in time all of my interviews have either been via phone or radio or some other medium and I have actually never read back anything Ive said in print before. Well, that changed today. It turns out I am insanely abrasive, borderline arrogant, hypersensitive, and have a big time shortage of professional modesty. You know what though? Everything I am has gotten me to where I am at. I have this motivating rage in me and it's the rage that drives me. If people only knew (they will now) how motivated I am it would be interesting to see their genuine reaction. Nobody is harder on me than myself. I know where I am at and I know where I am going to be. Anyway, the point of this part of my rant today was to let people know that I'm now sharply aware that anything I say professionally could possibly be an ominous assignment with overtones of extreme personal danger.

Plan tomorrow is to talk to scouts, figure out living assignments for some of our players, and work on endorsements.



Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You better take care of me Lord, if you don't you're gonna have me on your hands.

These are strange times indeed. Ironic danger is all around. Who decides who wins and who loses becomes even blurrier by the second. I stay up until 5 am. I sleep until noon. Every day becoming more and more repetitive the longer I am alive. It's what I signed up for and I am not complaining by any stretch of my rubbery imagination, but man that light at the end of the tunnel seems like it's located somewhere between Antarctica and Venus. I'm working longer hours this year even more than I can remember. The draft is in June, spring training ends this week, the season starts next week and then the real fun begins. I'm not complaining though, it's what I signed up for after all.

I spent today covering the draft again for 7 hours. Watched a massive blowout which would have been more enjoyable had the winning team scored their 10 runs before the last inning. I also spent a good deal of time today trying to figure out when each teams draft workouts would be held. I also was getting a lot of "signability" questions too. The draft is such an arduous process it's amazing anyone gets signed these days. There is so much red tape between associate scouts, area scouts, cross checkers and scouting directors I honestly dont know how teams operate on a daily basis. Whatever they're on their team and I'm on my own and thats all I care about. My side has all the positive momentum and somehow our energy will win out over the opposition. I really believe that or else Id be doing something else in this world.

More scouting tomorrow, will update later.



Saturday, March 22, 2008


Im in Clearwater tonight. Had a nice spring training dinner with a good deal of our yankees clients. Francisco Castillo, Carlos Urena, Abe Almonte, Prylis Cuello, Angel Reyes, Jose Gil, Eduardo Nunez along with Chad Blackwell of the Blue Jays and Mike Durant of the Phillies. We ate at a Columbian resturant in Tampa that is absolutely awesome. Finished up some paper work at the resturant then we ventured back to the hotel so everyone could make curfew. Ill be at the fields tomorrow. Ill tell you what, look out for Francisco Castillo and Angel Reyes to make big come backs this year. Both are finally healthy and should be tremendous.

Going to the fields at clearwater tomorrow.

Happy Hollidays everyone

More from the road tomorrow


Friday, March 21, 2008

Ive seen it all I was here first.

In another random hotel on the road. I drove with my father to sarasota tonight after the HS game we scouted. Good game and another good day at the office. Im tired from the drive but I am look fwd to seeing Sean Danielson tomorrow morning. I love Sean and he's a personal favorite of mine. He's 5'8, an undrafted free agent, and he just was recently traded to the Red Sox for Joel Pineiro. Sean has come a VERY long way and he's so close to the big leagues right now I feel nothing but excitement for him. I hung out with Sean in Las Vegas this year with he and his girlfriend just as a random aside and it was absolutely awesome.

Seeing the Yankees crew in Tampa tomorrow night. Will have a substantial update after the weekend.

So it goes.....


Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Favorite Patient, A Display of Patience, Diseased Covered Puget Sound

Went to the Florida Panthers Hockey game tonight. Good game, Panthers choked as usual and lost in the shootout. Another busy day at the office..

Trying to find Jose Campusano Eric Newton and Travis Talbot a job still. Worst comes to worst they go to indy ball and get reestablished that rout.

I got Javier Brito a big endorsement deal today. He'd be asking about this one company for a while so it was nice to get done. I know he's going to have a big season in AAA.

Stephen Chapman made a web gem on sportscenter yesterday. If anyone can Youtube it, Id be forever in debt.

Managing the draft tomorrow.

All in All


Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards

Insanely long day today. Trying to rest up for my hell road trip coming up. Thursday Jupiter Friday Ft Lauderdale Friday night Ft. Myers Saturday Tampa Sunday Clearwater Monday Vero and Tuesday home again, finally.

I got to hang out with a couple of good friends at the local bar we frequent when they're down from school. It's nice to occasionally get away from baseball and attempt to have some semblance of a normal life that doesn't involve pro sports. So much of my life is defined by pro sports that people tend to forget I have many interests that have absolutely nothing to do with baseball. I love reading, I love philosophy, I love science and I love movies. Sports sometimes get put on too high of a pedestal that people tend to forget what really is important in life. I'm in no way shape or form trying to be on a soap box here but there is life after baseball believe it or not and that is why education is so important to me. It's not often I get to "shut it off," so I really do appreciate the rare times I get to.

Back to work though, it was another mixed day at the office. Jose Campusano was released by the marlins today in a somewhat stunning move. Campy is an 80 runner with decent instincts in the field. I honestly did not see his release coming and thought he had a shot to be a utility player in the bigs by September. I worked the phones hard today calling every scout I am close with to try to get Campy back with a team. Hopefully the hard work pays off and I can get him back to where he needs to be.

Everything else is on the up and up. For anyone interested (I doubt anyone is) I spent 20.00 on songs at the bar tonight. The set list was..... Pixies,Placebo,Nirvana,Crystal Method, Bloodhound Gang, Bright Eyes, Elliott Smith and the Shins.

All in All


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Angel Left Wing Right Wing Broken Wing

Late night again. Watched my high school team demolish some other team 14-4. I'm advising a kid on the team this year so I'm at my alma mater even more this year. Tons of scouting directors were in town to catch the game so I didn't get a chance to catch my breath until the game was over. Best part of the night came when I think I found my new intern. My old intern is graduating from FSU soon and I found my replacement by an act of god. I'm excited.

Finally finished all of our clients autograph deals this week. The winner for the nicest looking graph goes to Jeremy Haynes of the Angels. Baller status. He's my pick to explode on to the scene this year. I've know J-rock since his days at TCC. Anyone who has ever met him knows how dedicated he is to his craft. Like I said, he's my breakout pick for 08.

Talked to a lot of the guys today on the phone. One of my newest clients, Trayvon Robinson has a bad habit of calling me from dead areas so it always seems like when I call him back he's leaving me a message on my machine and vice versa. I do however enjoy when he prank calls me with blocked numbers like I dont know it's him or Josh Bell. And for the record Luis Pena may have the funniest voice mail on his cell phone this side of vintage John Buccigross.

Albert Laboy had a rough week. A ball hit him in the face on a pickoff attempt then a 93 mph fastball hit him in the head the next day. I'm sure he'll hit 30 home runs this year to balance things out.

The worst part of my job is finding out a player you have has been released. We had two casualties today, both players I am very close with. Eric Newton of the Brewers and Travis Talbot of the Marlins. I have grown very close to both players off the field so this news is especially devastating. Newton has massive power but cant shake the injury bug while Talbot was a victim of a numbers crunch. I will do everything I can to get them back to affiliated ball this week but if I can't I hope both guys keep it going in indy ball because I know in my heart both guys can still play and someone will eventually give them a second shot.

Wish them luck if you see them on the trail.



Monday, March 17, 2008

Finding my nest of salt

Finally back in Florida after 8 days on the trail. Im exhausted but what can you do? Tomorrow I have a HS baseball game to go to at my alma mater which as always weird. I feel like I should be on To catch a predator every time I go back to my high school. Wed I am going to Jupiter and Friday I hit the road again but in Florida.

Big day in Brewers land. Cain,Ford,Brantley,Brewer,Chapman all played in big league games today. Ford swung the bat well today with a couple of hits. Anytime you get called up it's a big deal so for us at the agency it was great to see that many guys playing up one day.

Im about to crash more from the road this week.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.

"You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.' ----Friedrich Nietzsche

I like being an agent. Let nobody ever forget that statement. I am forever in debt to all the families and players that allow me to do my job. Without them I'm just a person talking to myself. I'm very fortunate to be the co-owner of my own agency. If I worked a normal 9-5 Id probably be fired within 15 minutes. I have an "unconventional" approach. I talk a great deal, I'm sarcastic, I'm funny, I'm myself. I have the same doubts everyone my age has but it never impacts my career. I got a message the other day from a rival agent who does not think too highly of my work. My voicemail says my title "This is Joshua Kusnick the V.P. of DDSM" etc.... I enjoyed the message he left me. "Grow up, you're a joke, Vice Presidents don't act that way" etc. etc..... I love stuff like that. I always think about other agents and what they do. It reminds me of a great Elliott Smith lyric from the song Stained Glass Eyes.
"But they can't be people
Not if I'm one
If I have to be like them
I'd rather be no one"

If I ever had to run my agency like everyone else Id shut down and do something else. I like what I do and if anyone tried to change the agency....... well...... it would never happen. I'm just saying to each their own and we'll see each other at the finish line.

Sorry for the late posting tonight. I had to finish up a few autograph signings with some Brewers players for Tri-Star and Just Minors. Tonight is my last night in Arizona and I am very much looking forward to the season starting. I got to watch the high A team work out in Maryvale today which was good because I got to see Darren Ford (double and infield single), Lorenzo Cain (Outfield asst) Jimmy Mojica, Stephen Chapman, and Eric Newton play. Taylor Green was in camp but is still awaiting his physical before he can start playing.

I had the pleasure of finally meeting Stephen Chapman's parents after several years of representing Stephen. We spoke for about an hour and it was really a great experience getting to know the parents of a player I consider myself to be very close with. Being an agent sometimes puts you in a very bizarre position within your players lives because you are in a position of authority but at the same time you're their friend as well (at least I am). When you take on a player you take on the responsibility of representing the entire family, so I did let the Chapman family know that whatever they needed I would be happy to help. I tell all of our players this but sometimes the message gets lost in translation. I'm just glad they seemed to like me so they didn't feel an overwhelming desire to fire me. If you anger mom and dad, you're done for in this business no matter how old the player gets. Mom is always going to be mom and dad will always be dad. It's a good lesson to learn early on.

Had dinner at chase field today with Brantley, Pena, Cain, Ford, Chapman and Newton. It was such a surreal experience eating on top of the field where these guys someday could be playing. These guys are all so close to achieving their lifelong dream of being a major league player just bringing them to the field really drove the point home. You could reach out and touch the field. The dream may seem out of reach when you're stationed in Helena or Maryvale or West Virginia but it's still there for the taking. My father and I basically had our going away dinner which is always emotional. I love all these guys so much it's hard being away from them. I call everyone often and travel 300 some odd days a year. Letting go of them and letting the play out the season is always the hardest thing to do. All I can do now is wait for the season to start and hope to God all the work I've put in has made an impact on my players lives.

Watching Chappelle clips on youtube. Listening to Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley, Nirvana and Bright Eyes. About to fall asleep watching the edited version of major league on TBS which is aweful. Why even try to edit it??? Who knows? I hate Jack Valenti. RIP.

Ill talk to you all soon


All In All Is All We Are

Well, another night on the road. Had an awesome night with a lot of clients at Game Works in Maryvale AZ. A lot of the guys thanks to me have taken to playing a game called Derby Owners Club. It's a horse racing game where you breed, train, and race your horse. Mike Brantley, Lorenzo Cain and Myself are the undisputed top 3 of the group. Most of my guys from the Brewers were there today sans a couple of no shows. It's always great to get the guys together in one place. We rented the VIP room and just had a good day away from the field.

At the field I got to watch the AA game for the Brewers. Spent some time with Chris Dennis and Cam Robulack's families who were in town from Canada. I also finally got to see Taylor Green who is back from China playing for the Canadian olympic team. Lorenzo Cain also hit a home run today. Awesome!

On a strange note I do have a somewhat revealing story to tell. I ran into a former client who actually was the 4th client I ever signed. I was recently fired for absolutely no reason what so ever and it really did upset me. No matter how long you're in this business getting fired to someone you are close with is not something you ever get used to. I grow attached to all my clients. I make it a personal point to know them and their families because that is how I want to run my agency. This guy is a marginal prospect at best due to his age, but we've been in his life since 2003. I got mildly emotional talking to him trying to figure out what went wrong but he just didn't see things the way I did. I told him I would never take him back no matter what and I did tell him how disappointed I was with his choice. It's sad but to me he's gone forever. He wanted to stay friends because in his words business and friendship are separate. He's wrong though. Both friendship and business are mixed in this field and there is no way to untangle the two. You lose a lot of clients in this business but more tragically, you lose people you grow to love and care about. I will never get used to that and I will always work hard so I can avoid that feeling as long as I can.

Maryvale again tomorrow!


Friday, March 14, 2008

Dangerous Gypsy Magic

Luis Pena was optioned to AAA today. Not entirely unexpected but still disappointing nonetheless. Myself, my father, Luis and his wonderful wife all went to PF Changs in Tempe tonight. Nothing eventful happened but much to my relief Luis was in good spirits. I got to the place early and I didnt think we'd be talking about baseball much, however the first thing Luis's wife said to me upon entering the resturant was "what the hell happened?" I couldnt stop laughing. I have a very close relationship with all of my clients but my relationship with Luis and his wife is especially close. I wasn't really worried about his mood, he's a closer, he has a closer mentality, but it was certainly nice to be laughing about my messed up personal life 90 percent of the evening. I had a giant saki bomb I had to mix myself since PF changs doesn't serve "bombs" . Ive worked hard this week and it's friday. Sue me.

Went to the Royals camp today and had a good talk with JJ, one of the big boys in the PD department for KC. Got to talk to him about our Royals guys (Crist,Green,Francis,Walton,Chambliss,Raglione). Overall good day, even got to watch Chambliss pitch 3 innings today. Was nice to hear he is going back to the bullpen where I think he will have a better chance to get to the bigs. He throws one of the best curveballs I have ever seen so I think it's a real good move for him. Trayvon Robinson stole a base in a big league spring training game. Thats about all the updates for today.

I also represent John Buccigross of ESPN sportscenter fame. I finalized his trading card deal with Donruss a couple of weeks ago so everyone be on the lookout for the rare Jersey Autograph card of John Buccigross that says "winner winner chicken dinner".

Going out with the brewers guys in maryvale tomorrow. Cheers


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Truth Covered In Security

Just got back from an entertaining night on the town. Had dinner with several players at the Macaroni Grill. Not good at all but we did have some mild excitement. Javier Brito, Daniel Mayora, Steve Mena (god bless him for translating) and Leyson Septimo were all there. At the end of a dinner some insane guy claiming to be a magician shows up at our table and starts performing these insane pick a card tricks. If you've ever seen a slight of hand trick you probably are well aware that they offer the same amount of wonder and bewilderment as a pep rally for the deaf. Anyway nobody knows what the hell this guy is talking about and half way through the act I told the guy nobody at the table really spoke english as a first language. Not to be out done this guy actually starts doing his act in spanish!!!! One trick really freaked out Leyson Septimo who had the good sense to call this "entertainer" El Diablo. All went well and now I am finally back in my hotel room.

Managing the draft as usual, nothing new on that front. Finished up some autograph deals with clients today. Leyson Septimo and Daniel Mayora had to sign 1000 stickers each.

Most importantly however I got to see Luis Pena close ofF the Dbacks in person today. What an absolutely amazing experience it is watching your very own clients pitch at the big league level. You struggle for years and years behind a desk or waiting on hold for hours on end on a cell phone. Sometimes you become so detached from the game itself you forget why you fell in love with it in the first place. There is still something incredibly pure about America's past time that not even money can corrupt. In Luis's case I have gotten to know him and his family so very well this year so I understand what this year means to him. I was one of two non Spanish speaking people at his wedding (my partner and father being the other) and let me tell you Spanish weddings are way more awesome than Jewish weddings (I'm Jewish so I know). He has been in the minors for 7 years, been hurt, and experienced every kind of professional struggle you can think of. Luis was added to the 40 man this year after being taken off of it a couple of years ago so in a way he's come full circle. As of now he has a flawless ERA this spring and is so close to the bigs. I work in a cynical business but days like today make it worth it.

On a seperate note I am listening to a live Nirvana concert from Palasport, Modena, Italy. Kurt Cobain is my favorite and most beloved singer of all time. More on that later I promise.

See you on the trail


Strange happenings and weird danger in Tucson

Today I am headed over to Tucson to watch several of our clients. Leyson Septimo, Javier Brito, Jereme Milons, and Steve Mena on the Dbacks. On the Rockies we have Spence Nagy, Daniel Mayora and Phil Cuadrado and on the White Sox there's Cody Allen and Izzy Chirino. Dinner was solid last night. We all ate at a local place called Claim Jumper. Should be a smooth day today. I am managing the draft everyday for all the players we're advising and I'm fighting with a ton of agents trying to steal my guys from me. We've signed up some new guys recently and I don't think that sat too well with the establishment of agents. One of the reasons I feel I have been able to function in this business is I may be one of the few guys here that tells the truth. The sad truth is that the truth when finally revealed, no matter how smooth and liberating it can feel at the time, is often virulent and toxic. This is the rub of life and the massage feels violent. Experience drives society but who issues the license? I am partially to blame for the smog of the industry but I still breathe it in gladly.

So many people lie in this business just so they can take their piece of the pie. It's disgusting to me to see these renegade rejects of the third reich parade as the gate keepers to the promised land. I'm an agent. I can't make my players play any better on the field. It's going to be their talent that gets them to the major leagues. All I can do is work hard for them 24 hours a day and do whatever it is I am supposed to do. I have never paid a player to sign with me and I have never stolen a client. Most of my players are referrals from other players and I cannot envision a time where my business model would ever change. Most importantly I have never lied to any of my clients ever. And that is why I am still here. If you get caught lying one time you're finished. Everyone knows everyone here and if you screw one guy you'll screw them all. It's better to do what's right. Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

Thats the rant of the day. Ill leave you with an edited HST quote.

"The (sports) business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."

Mahalo. J

And so it goes........

Well, I figured I would finally join the rest of the universe and start a blog. I have no idea what the hell I am going to be saying here but I assure you all it will be more candid, depraved, hilarious, and amusing to all. I think I want to give the world a glimpse into what the life and times of a young sports agent is actually like behind the scenes. I will shamelessly plug my players given the chance and I look forward to hearing from you all over the upcoming months and years. I spend a great deal of my time on the road so during my down time (which I rarely have) this should give me something to do. I go to bed at 5 am EST everyday and wake up at noon. None of my clients have ever gotten in trouble from 5 am to noon so I think thats actually the safest time for me to sleep. Well, I dont want to ramble too much on my first post. Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

All in all J