This was the sort of meeting where you had to check your cell phone at the door. The Major League Baseball Players Association does some of its finest work in secrecy, and what was discussed inside the Gershwin Ballroom at the Westin a block from Times Square on Sept. 11, 2012, was no different. About 30 baseball agents gathered for what was supposed to be a conference about salary arbitration. It ended up as a summit on their future.
At the front of the room was Michael Weiner, the head of the MLBPA. His lieutenants at the union flanked him. Over the course of the next five hours, they would talk about everything regarding the arbitration process, a laborious topic. Only when they hit the seven bullet points about arbitration on the agenda did the union leadership pivot to something else.
They handed out copies of a six-page document. At the top was a bolded, italicized, underlined header: “Cubs Standard Guaranteed Language.” All of the agents knew what this was. It’s the contract beyond the contract, the minutiae with which only the most rigorous agents concern themselves.
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