Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Younger Brother's Efforts Pushes Tourney To Prominence

The name Scott Boras is synonymous with term “sports agent.” The 62-year-old graduate of Elk Grove High School has as impressive a list of clients as any of his colleagues: Matt Holliday, Prince Fielder, Magglio Ordonez, Stephen Strasburg and Barry Zito (plus at one time, Alex Rodriguez).

It was just a few years ago, though, that Boras wanted to begin reaching back into the sports community that gave him the roots from which he grew into one of the most successful businessmen ever to hail from the Elk Grove area.

That’s when the idea of helping the high school baseball teams in California come up with some sort of a state championship tournament was birthed. Scott impressed upon younger brother Gerry to quit the banking business and come on staff of the Boras Corporation to specifically birth the Boras Baseball Classic.

Gerry Boras, at the gate of the Boras Classic on Tuesday
Now in its second year, Gerry is beaming at the almost-immediate success the 32-team tournament has obtained.

“I think the players and their talents speak for themselves, but it is nice to have Scott’s name attached to the event,” he said. “I think that helps a lot, but in the end it’s all about the boys.”

The younger Boras was not a baseball player at EGHS, like his older brother was. Gerry was a football player who played for Coach Bill Benton and graduated in 1976. He followed Scott’s path to the University of the Pacific. Scott studied law while Gerry got into marketing.

Next came 27 years in banking and real estate while staying in touch regularly with his older brother. He was impressed with how Scott grew into the biggest name in sports agents.

“I don’t look at him as a big-time sports agent, even though he has that label,” the younger Boras said. “To me, he’s just my brother. We have a normal relationship as any brothers would. He’s down to earth, very giving, just a great person.”

The Boras Corporation is headquartered in Newport Beach, yet Gerry still lives in the Elk Grove area.  So do older brother Jim, his sister and his father.

The Boras Classic takes the top 32 baseball programs in the state – 16 teams in the southern part and 16 in the northern half of California – pairs them together for a four-day, single-elimination tournament.

Elk Grove High School has been the host of the northern tournament the past two years at McAuliffe Fields in Sacramento. The 2014 version just wraps up Thursday. In the south, J Serra and Mater Dei High Schools were the hosts for the tournament, won this season by Temecula Valley.

The champions of each of those regional tournaments will meet May 3 at University of the Pacific. Boras has used his influence to get FOX College Sports to televise that game.

Because there isn’t enough time in the academic year for CIF to organize a state championship tournament in baseball, the Boras Classic has provided a pseudo-state title for the sport.

“In two years we’ve seemed to establish an elite group of teams and hopefully that will continue,” Boras said. “We had waiting lists to be in the tournament this year, both in the southern and in the northern sections. We continue to see this grow.”

Jugs guns, stopwatches and video cameras were quite numerous in the bleachers of the opening slate of games at McAuliffe Field Monday. Scouts from just about every professional franchise and quite a few colleges were in attendance looking at players such as Elk Grove’s Derek Hill, Granite Bay’s Mitch Hart, DeLaSalle’s Justin Hooper and Davis’ Matt Trask.

“We’re here to hopefully give our players the exposure to what they’ve already obtained, from a collegiate perspective as well as a professional perspective,” Boras said.

Seventy-four scouts signed in at the hospitality tent on Monday alone, indicative that there is plenty of talent to behold locally.

“That’s what it is all about, getting the scouts out here to make certain they are seeing the boys,” Boras said.

Boras won’t let the idea of showcasing high school baseball players remain only in his home state. Gerry says they’ve been quite busy expanding the Boras Classic to Arizona and to Texas.

“I’m working with those prospective coaches to get that portion of the tournament going (in 2015),” he said.

Despite the big dollars being thrown around in professional baseball and other sports, Boras knows a small number of players actually earn the large paychecks.

“Very few make it,” he said. “That’s why we feel education beyond high school, going collegiate, is very important because it gives the boys something to fall back on. It’s a tough world. I think everybody sees the glory of becoming a Major League player but there’s only a select few that make it.”

Earning a percentage of the multi-million dollar contracts they negotiate has made the Boras Corporation one of the most successful around. Gerry says his brother’s perseverance has been the reason.

“Our parents ingrained success in us, they provided that to us as younger adults and it’s kind of continued,” Gerry said. “He has been successful as have my other brother and sister and it has worked out well for all of us in our own fields.”

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