[翻譯]Alex Rodriguez Gets A Surprise Assist From Fan in Omaha
你還以為人稱"奧馬哈神諭 (Oracle of Omaha) "、創立Berkshire Hathaway、
Alex Rodriguez Gets A Surprise Assist From Fan in Omaha
As Yankee Slugger Whiffed On Contract, He Turned To Buffett and Goldman
By KATE KELLY and DANA CIMILLUCA
Published : November 17, 2007 / The Wall Street Journal
In the public imagination, sports negotiations unfold along the lines of "Jerry Maguire" and other fictional portrayals -- fast-talking, bare-knuckled agents going to head-to-head with cigar-smoking team owners in a game of "Show Me the Money."
一般人對於職業運動合約談判的想像, 多半和電影" 征服情海(Jerry Maguire) "中的描寫相去不遠 : 講話速度可比機關槍、氣勢咄咄逼人的經紀人, 對上了從容抽著雪茄的球團老闆, 在合約金額的談判戰爭中你來我往、互不相讓。
But when New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez stumbled in his efforts to ink a stratospheric new contract, he turned to a different set of characters: Omaha investor Warren Buffett and two executives from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
不過當洋基三壘手Alex Rodriguez在合約談判中不幸觸礁時, 他轉而求助的對象卻出乎我們意料之外 : 股神Warren Buffett和兩位來自高盛證券的高階經理人。
Thanks to their assist, Mr. Rodriguez, one of the most talented but also one of the most controversial players in the game, is finalizing a 10-year deal with the Yankees which could reach $275 million over its duration, according to people familiar with the situation. The deal, if it comes together, would represent a high-water mark for any professional sports franchise. Mr. Rodriguez's previous contract, set to expire in 2010, was for $252 million over 10 years.
得力於三位高人的協助, A-Rod這位棒球場上最具天賦也最富爭議性的球員, 和球團方面針對那紙為期十年、總值兩億七仟五佰萬美金的合約談判終於步上正軌, 熟悉內情的消息人士透露, 該合約一旦拍板定案, 將成為史上金額最高的職業球員合約, 並超越A-Rod前一筆原訂在2010年截止、十年總額兩億五仟兩佰萬的超級合約。
While Wall Street often lurks in the background of big-money sports, this was a rare occasion when financial titans played an intimate role in contract discussions for a professional athlete. Their involvement effectively sidelined the third baseman's longtime agent, Scott Boras, the aggressive dealmaker who first turned Mr. Rodriguez into the highest-paid man in baseball.
儘管華爾街一直都在獲利驚人的職業運動界扮演藏鏡人角色, 但是這種由企業界巨擘直接插手運動員合約談判的狀況還真是不常見, Buffett等人的介入, 有效地降低了以極具侵略性的談判技巧聞名、並在多年前讓A-Rod首次成為史上最高價合約擁有人的Scott Boras在這筆交易中的影響力。
The Goldman executives helped reopen a dialogue that had been severed dramatically more than two weeks ago, when, at Mr. Boras's urging, the third baseman had declared free agency, spurning the $72 million he stood to make in the final three years of his contract and opening himself to offers from other teams. Mr. Rodriguez's move, leaked during the fourth game of the World Series, upstaged baseball's premier event, angering the Yankees, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and many baseball fans. It also infuriated the player's critics, who had long grumbled about Mr. Rodriguez's post-season performance and voiced doubts about his loyalties to New York.
兩位高盛集團的高階經理人幫助A-Rod和洋基球團重啟談判窗口, 在此之前, 雙方的關係在A-Rod選擇接受Boras的建議、在幾週前宣布放棄合約中所餘三年七仟兩佰萬的薪資成為自由球員後, 可說是冰到了極點。A-Rod選擇在世界大賽第四戰仍在進行中時宣布其決定, 不僅僅搶走了參賽兩隊的風采, 也惹惱了洋基球團、聯盟主席Bud Selig以及千千萬萬的棒球迷, 而對原先就因為A-Rod季後賽成績差強人意而對他感到不滿、並懷疑他的球隊忠誠度的人來說, 更是罪不可赦。
As a free agent, Mr. Rodriguez -- who left the Seattle Mariners for a bigger pay day -- was available to all 30 Major League Baseball teams. But interest was tepid, according to published reports, spurring speculation that Mr. Rodriguez and his agent may have overreached.
作為一個自由球員, 幾年前就為了更高薪水而離開水手的A-Rod可以接受來自全聯盟30支球隊的出價, 但根據報導指出, 這次其他球隊對高價引進A-Rod似乎興趣不高, 這也讓許多人認為A-Rod和其經紀人實在有點弄巧成拙了。
Discussions between Mr. Rodriguez and Yankee executives occurred over a frenetic three-week period that included a worried phone call the third basement placed to Mr. Buffett late last week.
A-Rod和洋基高層的談判在溝通窗口關閉三周後終於再度開啟, 對此僵局感到憂心的A-Rod在上週末打給Buffett的一通電話, 起了關鍵性的作用。
As money managers for the Steinbrenner family, which controls the Yankees, and significant investors in the team's Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network cable network, Goldman's ties to the organization run deep. By sidestepping Mr. Boras, Mr. Rodriguez was not only breaking tradition, but ran the risk of alienating the baseball player's union. But it appears the risk paid off: Though the deal has not yet been finalized and could still fall apart, people familiar with the matter say it is coming together.
高盛除了是掌控洋基的Steinbrenner家族的資金管理人, 同時也是YES Network的重要幕後金主, 高盛和洋基的關係之密切由此可見一般, A-Rod選擇跳過Boras直接和洋基球團溝通的方式, 不僅有違常理, 更冒著有可能因此得罪聯盟球員工會的風險, 不過就目前的狀況看起來, A-Rod的選擇是正確的, 雖然合約尚未被正式簽訂、仍有隨時破局的可能性, 但據熟悉內情的消息人士透露, 合約拍板定案看來只是遲早的問題。
The agent "has represented his clients well and has gotten them precedent-setting contracts," says Lon Babby, a sports lawyer at Williams & Connolly. But "it's the player that creates value, not the agent."
依照在Williams & Connolly律師事務所負責運動相關事務的律師Lon Babby的說法, 作為一個經紀人, Boras"在過去很成功地扮演其客戶代理人的角色, 並且為兩造雙方的合約談判奠定了基礎," 但是Babby也強調, "真正能創造價值的是球員本身, 而非經紀人。"
Mr. Boras did not return calls for comment, and the Yankees declined to make Mr. Rodriguez available for comment.
Mr. Rodriguez's initial defection happened in late October, a tense period for the team during which its beloved manager Joe Torre was effectively ousted after the Yankees were eliminated in the playoffs. Hoping to net a richer contract elsewhere, Mr. Boras advised his client to exercise his opt-out clause, a move reported Oct. 29. The player reluctantly took his agent's advice, say people familiar with his thinking, even though he and his wife Cynthia were eager to stay in New York and have him continue to play for the Yankees.
A-Rod是在十月底時才有了離隊的想法, 當時備受愛戴的前總教練Joe Torre正因為洋基無法闖過季後賽首輪的表現而被迫選擇離開, 為了想幫其客戶爭取到更高價的合約, Boras建議A-Rod行使脫逃條款, 並在10月29日時正式對外宣布, 據了解A-Rod想法的消息人士指出, A-Rod和其老婆Cynthia其實一直都想留在紐約、並繼續為洋基效力, 但他們最終還是心不甘情不願地接受了Boras的提議。
Amid deafening criticism by sports writers and on talk radio, a worried Mr. Rodriguez called Mr. Buffett, say people familiar with the matter. The two had become friends a few years ago, after the slugger flew to Omaha to meet with the investing guru and rabid baseball fan. After that, the two met socially several more times, say the people familiar with the matter. Signifying their mutual admiration, an autographed Rodriguez jersey hangs at Berkshire Hathaway's Omaha headquarters.
面對來自運動專欄作家和廣播節目一面倒的批評聲浪, 憂心忡忡的A-Rod撥了通電話向Buffett請益, 這兩人會成為朋友起因於幾年前的一次會面, 當時A-Rod特地飛到Omaha去和人稱股神並且也是個狂熱棒球迷的Buffett會面, 後來兩人還陸陸續續見過幾次面, 雙方對彼此的惺惺相惜, 從一件A-Rod親筆簽名的球衣高掛在Berkshire Hathaway的Omaha總部中就可窺知一二。
Mr. Buffett's advice was simple, says a person familiar with the matter: approach the Yankees solo, without Mr. Boras. "A-Rod really loves being a Yankee," says Mr. Buffett. He declined to comment on the substance of any conversation with Mr. Rodriguez, saying he doesn't discuss private talks.
Buffett給A-Rod的建議很簡單, 那就是 : 自己去找洋基球團溝通, 不要讓Boras插手。
"A-Rod真心想要留在洋基陣中," Buffett說道, 但他拒絕透露任何他和A-Rod的談話內容。
The day after his opt-out was publicized, Mr. Rodriguez contacted Goldman wealth manager John Mallory, whom he had met through family in Miami. Although Mr. Mallory had moved to Los Angeles, Calif. about a year ago, where he now manages Goldman's southwest wealth-management division, the third baseman had stayed in touch, say these people, and the Goldman executive continued handling the Steinbrenner family's wealth-management account, giving him a close link to the team's owners.
在其行使脫逃條款的決定正式對外發布後隔天, A-Rod主動連絡了身為高盛集團高階經理人的John Mallory, 兩人是在同住邁阿密時透過家庭成員介紹認識, 儘管Mallory已經在近一年前搬到洛杉磯去接掌高盛集團的美國西南區資產管理部門, 他和A-Rod仍然保持聯絡, 而在此同時, Mallory也繼續協助Steinbrenner家族管理其資產, 這也讓Mallory和洋基大老闆有著密切及友好的關係。
During the call, Mr. Rodriguez appeared to be "beside himself" that he was on the outs with the Yankees and eager to extend an olive branch, say people with knowledge of the matter. Mr. Mallory promised to see what he could do, this person adds.
在和Mallory的電話交談中, A-Rod表達了他願意主動向洋基遞出橄欖枝的意願, 而Mallory也允諾將盡其所能地協助A-Rod。
Mr. Mallory called Gerry Cardinale, the Goldman partner who handles media and telecommunications investments for the firm's private-equity unit. "You're not going to believe this," said Mr. Mallory, according to people with knowledge of the matter. He explained that Mr. Rodriguez had called, and that the player wanted to "reestablish a dialogue" with the Steinbrenners.
"你一定不會相信我接下來要說的話," Mallory用這句話作為兩人談話的開場白, Mallory接著跟Cardinale解釋了事情的來龍去脈, 並傳達了A-Rod想要和Steinbrenner家族重啟對話窗口的意願。
Mr. Cardinale, 40, was confident he could do something. He had been well acquainted with the family since 2001, when Goldman invested in YES. He immediately called Yankees president Randy Levine and told him of Mr. Rodriguez's remorse. "He's genuine," Mr. Cardinale said, according to the person with knowledge of the matter. "I think you guys should hear him out." Shortly thereafter, Mr. Mallory flew to Miami to help Mr. Rodriguez strategize.
現年40歲的Cardinale知道自己能為此出一臂之力, 因為自從高盛在2001年決定投資YES Network之後, 他和Steinbrenner家族間就一直保持相當友好的關係。在結束和Mallory的談話後, Cardinale馬上致電洋基球團總裁Randy Levine, 並轉達了A-Rod對其決定感到相當後悔的想法。
"他是真心的," Cardinale這麼對Levine說道, "我想你們該聽聽他的說法"。之後Mallory更飛到邁阿密去向A-Rod獻策。
Mr. Levine got in touch with Hank and Hal Steinbrenner, the sons of Yankee organization Chairman George Steinbrenner. Their response: They would talk, but only if Mr. Boras weren't involved.
Levine為此聯絡上Hank和Hal Steinbrenner兩兄弟, 而他所得到的回應是 : 我們願意見面聊聊, 但不希望Boras在場。
Over the next several days, Messrs. Cardinale and Mallory acted as the go-betweens for the player and the team, say people familiar with the matter. While the Rodriguezes huddled with Mr. Mallory in Miami, Mr. Cardinale kept in touch from New York, these people say. Once the player had made contact with the Steinbrenner brothers, the Goldman executives stepped aside, leaving the parties largely on their own to talk.
在接下來的幾天中, Cardinale和Mallory扮演了稱職的中間人角色, 當A-Rod和Mallory在邁阿密闢室密談時, 人在紐約的Cardinale則和兩人保持聯絡, 不過當A-Rod和Steinbrenner兄弟的會談正式展開後, Mallory和Cardinale便選擇退居幕後, 讓A-Rod和洋基球團自行主導談話。
One reason the Goldman executives recused themselves is baseball's Collective Bargaining Agreement. According to the regulations, the agent of record is the only person besides the player himself who can negotiate on the player's behalf.
兩人會選擇不參與會談的主要原因, 是怕牴觸大聯盟的Collective Bargaining Agreement, 根據該規範內容, 球員的經紀人是唯一可以代表球員進行談判的合法代理人。
If the deal goes through, it's a happy ending for most everyone involved. The 32-year-old Mr. Rodriguez gets a richer pay package, which includes incentives if he manages to reach goals like breaking the home-run record set by Barry Bonds. The Yankees and Goldman get to keep Mr. Rodriguez's star power, which helps sell tickets and attract cable viewers.
如果這個合約最後能夠談成, 對所有參與此事的人來說都是個十分樂見的結局, 現年32歲的A-Rod得到了金額更高、且還包含打破生涯全壘打紀錄獎勵條款的合約, 而洋基和高盛也得以將A-Rod這位明星球員留在陣中, 幫他們吸引更多球迷進場觀看並刺激球賽轉播的收視率。
And Mr. Boras still gets his commission.
謹祝 吉祥如意 消麻敬上