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Rookie Success…First Golf Pro…Heir Apparent

Frank Schwindel Wins NL Rookie of the Month for August

Image from Chicago Sun-Times (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Frank Schwindel, rookie first baseman for the Chicago Cubs, has stepped up since being called up on July 30th.

Schwindel won National League Rookie of the Month for August, batting .344 with six home runs, 18 RBIs, eight doubles, and one triple.

Frank, who is represented by Pro Agents, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 18th round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft. He attended St. John’s University.

After the Cubs traded away long-time first baseman Anthony Rizzo at the end of July, Schwindel was called up from the Iowa Cubs, the Cubs Triple-A affiliate, and has not disappointed.

He has continued his success into the month of September. In 56 games for the Cubs this season Schwindel has batted .342 with 13 home runs, 40 RBIs, and 19 doubles.

“It is always rewarding to see a player get the opportunity he deserves; it is even more gratifying when the player capitalizes on that opportunity. Frank has certainly done that,” said Dave Pepe, co-President of Pro Agents, Inc.

IPZ works on marketing and public relations initiatives for Pro Agents and its athletes.

 

IPZ to Represent Sheenah Pegeron

Sheenah Pegeron, a professional golfer, has become the first golf pro to sign with IPZ.

She has been in love with the sport of golf ever since she picked up a club at the young age of 7.

After competing throughout her youth and young adult years, Sheenah now expresses her passion for golf on and off the course. In 2020, she was named the President and is the Co-Founder of the Shady Rest Golf Club, but the Shady Rest Golf & Country Club, the predecessor to the golf club, is steeped in history.  That club, located in Scotch Plains, NJ, just celebrated its Centennial Anniversary, and is now re-named the Scotch Hills Country Club.  That club is the first African American owned Country Club in the United States and home to the first African American Born PGA Golf Pro, John Shippen. The Shady Rest Golf Club continues the original club’s and John Shippen’s legacy after being re-named to the Scotch Hills Country Club.

As President of the club, Sheenah works with the local community to spread awareness of the history of the Shady Rest and to promote the game of golf to African American youth.

She is also a board member of the Preserve Shady Rest Committee, a 501c3 organization that is in the process of obtaining status for the club as a National Historic Landmark.

Aside from her daily 18-holes, Sheenah is a mother of 3 and the CEO of the disability support nonprofit, Peaks Developmental Services. Her passion for golf continues as she uses her platform to teach and inspire young children, especially young girls who look like her, to learn the game of golf.

She is also a brand ambassador for Goat-ish, a sports & golf apparel company, and she is the lead US Kids Golf Certified Coach at We Novas, LLC. Sheenah has also made television appearances, most recently as a golfer on Stephen Curry’s extreme mini-golf competition series “Holey Moley” on ABC.

 

Brad Smith Is the Future of the Whipsnakes

Recently, USA Lacrosse Magazine highlighted Brad Smith as the “Heir Apparent” in the Whipsnakes Midfield. His teammates and head coach Jim Stagnitta believe that the 24-year-old is just getting started.

After missing the 2019 season due to an injury, Smith made an immediate impact in his first season on the field in 2020, finishing with the 2nd most points (15) by a midfielder in the PLL.

He continued his success in 2021 and stepped up when the Whipsnakes battled injuries to some key players. Smith finished the regular season with the 2nd most points on his team (21), 11 goals and 10 assists.

“They have the confidence in me to go out and perform every weekend,” said Smith. “The support from coaches and all my teammates is a big part of the season I’m having right now. They’re a huge part of it. Coach Stags is hard on me, but he says it’s because he knows I can be great. That tough love gets me going. I’ve got the best teammates, the best coaches, and they’re a big part of what I play for.”

Read the full USA Lacrosse Magazine article by Phil Shore here.

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.