From Publishers Weekly
Matt Sosnick co-runs a small California agency representing nine major league baseball players, including All-Star pitcher Dontrelle Willis. Crasnick, a baseball writer for ESPN.com, spent months at Sosnick's side, watching him work with clients and try to sign up new prospects. This in-depth profile is especially good at capturing the earnest but earthy young agent's contradictions: he feels so strongly about integrity that he can complain that a competitor's luring away of a player "doesn't add to the goodness or the kindness of the world," yet he plots pragmatically to pry loose some talent for his own roster. The story loses some focus when Crasnick elects to broaden the perspective, abandoning Sosnick and his players to check out the competition, including super-agent Scott Boras. But these outside views prove helpful, rounding out Sosnick's portrait to show the less flattering light in which others see him. The success of Michael Lewis's Moneyball
has aroused interest in the behind-the-scenes financial maneuvers that decide who gets to play, and while this sympathetic look at the frequently maligned role of the agent can't quite match its predecessor's vitality, it should still attract moderate attention. Photos.
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Dontrelle Willis, an early-season favorite to win the National League Cy Young Award with the Florida Marlins, has a tattoo of the logo of his agents' company on his arm. License to Deal
is the story of what those agents, Matt Sosnick and Paul Cobbe, have done to earn the support of Willis and their other clients. ESPN writer Jerry Crasnick, who accompanied Sosnick and Cobbe over the course of a year, paints a portrait of the sports-agent business that is fascinating but far from pretty. There's the monumental investment of time and money the agents pour into wooing potential clients around the country; the constant care and feeding of signees (from the scene of a serious accident in early 2003, Willis' first call was to Sosnick); and the brutal competition from larger, more glamorous agents (like Scott Boras), who regularly make off with the players of smaller agents like Sosnick and Cobbe. An excellent account of a critical but rarely explained component of major league baseball. Alan MooresCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved