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April 29, 1988 - Image 54

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-04-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

% 9 ' os t CAit t WAFFLE

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Continued from preceding page

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—1

me, 'Rick, I like you, go
ahead, handle this negotia-
tion for me.' And I ended up
basically close to doubling
her salary as a principal an-
chor on Channel 2."
His client list has expand-
ed since then, basically, he
says, "by word of mouth!' He
gives each client personal at-
tention, employing no
assistants. "When they call
here, they're calling for me,"
Brode says. "When they're
getting a shoe endorsement
or we're working on a televi-
sion commercial, it's me
that's doing it and they ex-
pect me to do it. I don't really
see how you could really
bring somebody else into
that, because of the nature of
this relationship with the
people. When I hear of a guy
representing 100 athletes or
something, I'm scratching my
head in amazement thinking,
how does he have time, how
does he even remember their
names?"
Just as different clients re-
quire different services, they
also insist on different levels
of contact during negotia-
tions. "Certain clients want
to know everything that's go-
ing on and are kept up to date
on every move I make," ex-
plains Brode. "Others really
just say, 'Rick, go out and do
what you can and let me
know what happens! So . . . in
this business, it's different
from everything else, because
you are dealing with in-
dividuals. There's
psychological things you've
got to deal with, emotional
things you've got to deal with.
It's unlike any other
business."
Brode feels that good agents
are born, not made. How do
you prepare for a career as an
agent, he is asked. "I don't
know, I don't think you can
,prepare for it. It doesn't hurt
to go to law school to become
familiar with contracts. But I
just think it's something that
somebody's kind of born with.
It's like, how do you become a
professional athlete? Unless
you have that special given
gift, how do you do it?"
That is why Brode refers to
his trade as "kind of an art
form." He continues, "If peo-
ple ask me, what am I, a lot
of times I respond, I'm an ar-
tist! And they're confused
with that, but really, a lot of
it is just inherent, natural
ability to determine a per-
son's market value. And then
the secret is, how do you go
out and maximize that
market value?"
To maximize that value,
Brode finds out what others
in comparable positions earn.
In sports, he receives specific
information from the player's

Agent Brode wonders when Woody Allen will make a movie about him.

associations. In radio and TV,
he must speculate and use
word-of-mouth information.
He makes full use of
statistics, such as broadcast
ratings or batting averages.
But does he need to become
an expert in all these dif-
ferent fields?
"No," he responds. "And
what people get confused
about, I think, is that they
feel you have to be a sports
fan in order to negotiate a
sports contract."
While Brode has never
argued a case in court, he has
been involved in salary ar-
bitration, pleading a financial
case instead of a legal one. He
did the first salary arbitra-
tion in which the Tigers were
involved, working for second
baseman Lou Whitaker.
"I had prepared the case
and I was in Chicago in the
arbitration hearing," he
recalls. "I had listed some of
the salaries of the second
basemen on a board to il-
lustrate for the arbitrator
what the values were. I
wanted him to visually see it,
without just me saying it, to
have a bigger impact. And he
asked me to list the teams of
the players. And I said to the
arbitrator, I'd like to, if I could
refer to my notes. I didn't
know 'ern off the top of my
head. So, (Tiger general
manager) Bill Lajoie was sit-
ting there, I said, 'unless Bill
Lajoie wants to help me with
this.' Of course, he knew all
the teams and we listed 'ern.
And we won that arbitration.
The point of all of this is, real-
ly, you have to have an in-
stinct for business and
market value and creativity
in negotiations more so than
what was Babe Ruth's batting
average many years ago."
Another example of artistic
agentry Brode cites involves
the Tiger's double-play duo of
Whitaker and Trammell.
Brode was told about the TV
show Magnum PI whose star,

Tom Selleck, wears a Tiger
cap on the show. "I never
knew who Tom Selleck was
and I had never seen an
episode of Magnum PI in my
life," says Brode. "About 2:00
in the morning, I got up, I just
wrote myself a little note —
`Lou and Alan, Magnum
PI.' "
Brode wrote to the show's
producer the next day, he con-
tinues, "stating that I repre-
sent Lou and Alan and I
think it would be a fun idea
for everybody if they were to
appear on the show, since this
guy Magnum PI is a big Tiger
fan. And three weeks later we
were in Hawaii doing a seg-
ment of the show with Lou
and Alan . . . They don't teach
you any of that in law school!'
Brode does feel that in the
big-money worlds of sports
and entertainment, which at-
tract many unscrupulous
agents, working with an at-
torney provides some securi-
ty. "Anybody can be an
agent," he points out. "There
is no educational re-
quirements, there's no rules
or regulations that you have
to abide by. All you need to do
is have a client and you can
call yourself an agent. As an
attorney, you're bound by a
code of ethics, you have an
education, you have to pass
these requirements. And
there's a standard that you
have to meet in order to call
yourself an attorney."
The best-known cases of
abuses by sports agents in-
volve college athletes. Col-
legians are not allowed to ac-
cept money from an agent
while they attend school. If
they are discovered accepting
money while still in school,
they lose their scholarship,
along with any remaining
athletic eligibility. Brode feels
that some universities share
the blame for recent scan-
dals, along with the
unscrupulous agents.
Continued on Page 57

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