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COVID-19 vs. 9/11

I sent an email to a client (and friend) this morning, congratulating him on his company’s decision to provide insurance coverage to furloughed workers during the crisis we face today.  I sent that email right after I had an email exchange with a basketball colleague in Italy. He has been in lockdown for several weeks in a much more difficult environment.

Both asked me about our current situation, compared with being at the NYSE on 9/11.

I understand the comparison, and I understand the market reaction.

But the events are so different.  The events of 9/11 were quickly realized to be the work of a very visible enemy – one we had the opportunity well before 9/11 to take down and didn’t, both because of our President’s unwillingness, and our inattention to details that could have uncovered the terrorists’ plot.  Our surveillance and caution around security issues has changed dramatically post 9/11.

This current killer is invisible.  But, like 9/11, it will forever change some of our habits and aspects of social interaction…and – my guess – where some of our biopharma companies invest in the future.  I can envision investors (and governments…and insurers) funding research and discovery that can identify where the “next” COVID-19 might come from, and vaccines that can prevent transmission.

Col. Jack Jacobs is a very dear friend.  Sitting here in quiet Tewksbury is a blessing compared to what he went through in Vietnam.  And none of us are trying to charge up the cliffs on the beaches in Normandy.

Yes, this is difficult…but there are many worse things we’ve been confronted with.

I’d rather be faced with having the virus than standing in a window on the 98th floor of the World Trade Center, knowing my choice was to burn or jump.

And financially, we will survive.  One of the first (and one of the smartest) guys I ever worked for on Wall Street was Paul Tudor Jones.  He was on an extended interview on CNBC this morning.  It was excellent.  He captured it perfectly.  Here’s a link: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/26/tudor-jones-says-this-is-the-greatest-fiscal-monetary-bazooka-ever.html

To everyone out there, be safe!

(and – for the record – to me at least, 9/11 was much worse.)

New GM? Dave Weighs In

Time will tell.

OK – you’ve heard that one before.

But it’s especially fitting when taking a look at Brodie Van Wagenen being named the New York Mets’ new General Manager.

So we decided to talk with our baseball guy, Dave Pepe, about his thoughts.

Dave is no slouch to baseball. His dad was the lead baseball writer for the Daily News. Dave grew up in ballparks.

His partner is Billy Martin…JR. Yes, son of the former Yankee…and Yankee manager.

Van Wagenen made his name in baseball as an MLB agent and, prior to accepting the role as GM with the Mets, was a co-head of Creative Artist Agency’s Baseball Division. The 44-year old built his career on relationships.

While the MLB has a significant population of young GMs that are analytics driven, the Mets decided to hire someone who the organization has established a strong relationship with over the years: Van Wagenen. Maybe the pendulum is swinging back??

There’s no question that Van Wagenen formed a robust rapport with the Mets, as six of the players on the team’s 2018 25-man roster were represented by him.

Two of the six are 2014 NL Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star pitcher Jacob DeGrom and 2016 All-Star pitcher Noah Syndergaard. Much of the controversy surrounding Van Wagenen being named GM has to do with these two guys.

As DeGrom enters his third year of arbitration and Syndergaard goes into his second, Van Wagenen and the Mets will be scrutinized about the appearance of impropriety.

They’ll have to build a “Chinese Wall” around Brodie, just as banks and law firms have done for years to guard against conflicts.

This will undoubtedly be tricky territory for all parties involved, as the role of GM encompasses overseeing these hearings. But we’re told the organization is steadfast that it will work.

Whether or not Van Wagenen stays away from the cases dealing with two of the Mets’ best players and his former clients is going to be something to keep an eye on.

Another element to keep in mind is that Van Wagenen has always been known as an agent that gets really good deals for his clients and less-so for the clubs. It will be interesting to see how – forgive us for another cliché, but – the tables will turn.

Kudos to the Mets for going outside of the box. And per Dave Pepe, Brodie’s experience in building relationships will be paramount to his success.

And oh yes…we and Dave have some players we think you might be interested in.

Pro Agents Forms Strategic Alliance with IPZ

Baseball Agency Teams Up with Sports and Entertainment Agency

WOODBRIDGE, NJ, and WARREN, NJ, June 12, 2018Pro Agents, Inc., a full-service professional baseball agency, has formed a strategic alliance with IPZ, the companies announced today.

Pro Agents was established in 1995 by Major League Baseball (MLB) agents David Pepe and Billy Martin, Jr. Over the past 23 years, Pepe and Martin, Jr., combined, have negotiated more than $200 million in contracts. Among the players the agency has represented or currently represents are 6-time MLB All-Star Joe Nathan, former MLB pitcher Carl Pavano, current Dodgers’ pitcher Tom Koehler, and Angels’ 2016 first round pick Matt Thaiss.

Known for its expertise in sophisticated contract negotiation and shrewd off-field management, Pro Agents will receive support from IPZ with public relations and marketing opportunities for current and former baseball clients.  In addition, IPZ, through its network of coaches and sports contacts, will refer baseball players to Pro Agents for representation.  Mr. Pepe, a member of the New Jersey Bar, will also be available to assist with other contracts for IPZ athletes.

“It is an honor to work with the professionals at IPZ to help us continue to provide the best service available to all Pro Agents’ clients,” said Pro Agents’ David Pepe.

“I had the pleasure of working with Dave’s father, the great sportswriter Phil Pepe of the Daily News, and covering Billy‘s dad, the former Yankee manager, during my days as a sportswriter,” said IPZ Founder Robert Zito. “I’ve followed Dave’s career and am thrilled we will now have the opportunity to work together. Pro Agents has the same family philosophy and commitment to integrity that IPZ has. Together, we will provide a trusted resource for players and their families.”

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.