Tag Archives: secret negotiations

Studio 60 on Roosevelt Avenue: Episode 7


LOGLINE: Once the nation’s best and most respected baseball GM, Sandy Alderson has been reduced to trying to revive a moribund franchise is the depths of deepest, darkest Queens. Along with his sharp-witted and adoring protégés, he fights off the seemingly endless series of controversies and crises that beset him while trying to run a sports team in the country’s most bustling metropolis, and still look fantastic while doing it. Can the pressures of such an important job crush this singularly talented and gifted individual genius?


The interior of a bus. In the back, players act rowdy, tossing paper airplanes and switching seats like little kids. Toward the front sit SANDY ALDERSON and DAVID EINHORN.

ALDERSON: I still don’t like this corporate retreat idea. Especially since we have to forfeit three home games to take it.

EINHORN: Gotta spend money to make money, Sandy. Sure, it’s three losses on our ledger, but you can’t put a price on an invaluable team building experience like this.

ALDERSON: But we already are a team. That I built.

EINHORN: I, I, I–too much of that word, Sandy. There’s no “I” in team. You have to be more of an organization guy, like me. Everything I do I do for this team. I am the consummate team player. Ask anyone about me and they’ll tell you that! C’mon, get into it! Look, even Old Man Wilpon’s jazzed for this trip.

Quick shot of FRED WILPON completely passed out in a bus seat, snoring.

Cut to: Hotel conference room. Entire team sits cross-legged on the floor in pairs, trying to build pyramids made out of clothespins and hardboiled eggs on top of a skateboard while one partner is blindfolded. The ACTIVITY DIRECTOR, a loud, blond, tanned type, shouts encouragement through a bullhorn.

ACTIVITY DIRECTOR: That’s it people, you can do it! Remember, the blindfolded person must trust his partner to give correct direction, and the non-blindfolded partner must trust his partner to listen! And to not crack any of those hardboiled eggs if you can, because they’ve been sitting around a while!

Pan over to ALDERSON, who is blindfolded, and EINHORN, attempting the activity. ALDERSON gingerly tries to place a clothespin onto his construction.

EINHORN: Easy, easy…[whispering] Listen, this whole thing is just a front.

ALDERSON: The clothespin?

EINHORN: The whole trip. I organized it as cover so we could initiate some secret talks with Grant Linwood for a contract extension.

ALDERSON: I thought Linwood said he wouldn’t negotiate in season.

EINHORN: Publicly, yes. Privately, his people have reached out to me. They’re willing to talk, but only if we can keep a lid on this thing. Problem is, there’s no way we can keep quiet about talks like this back home. Our offices are crawling with reporters and spies. I found Bill Madden in my washroom last week. That’s why we had to skip town.

ALDERSON: Don’t you still need Wilpon’s signoff on any big contracts like that?

EINHORN: We’re not going to actually sign a contract with him. We’re just going to hammer out the finer details, like how much money he wants and for how long.

ALDERSON: Oh, so just the little things.

EINHORN: Exactly! Then, we’ll leak word to the press that the negotiations are going on and whip the fanbase into a frenzy. By that point, Wilpon will have to approve the whole thing.

ALDERSON: Why not just conference with Wilpon to see if he’s on board with this?

EINHORN: You might have a lot of book-smarts, Sandy, but you don’t know jack about business. You don’t talk to your partners directly. You have meetings behind their back, strategize how to work around them, close all channels of communication. Then, right at the end, you loop them in and make it seem like what you decided is not only a good idea, but their idea.

ALDERSON: Sounds like the epitome of teamwork.

EINHORN: Of course it is! You know how many people you need to help you execute a proper back channel screwing? [pulls out a map, points to a spot] This is the golf course at this resort. There’s a bench right here, next to the 15th hole. You’re gonna meet Linwood there at 4pm today. You ask him, “Has the weather cleared up yet?” If he says, “Cloudy with a chance of meatballs,” negotiations are off. If he says, “Why yes, the forklifting is superior today,” that means he’s ready to talk.

ALDERSON: I don’t think all of this John LeCarre stuff is necessary. Can’t I just knock on his room door, or have dinner with him…

EINHORN: Not unless you want the press all over this and the word leaking out before we want it to. This has to be done in complete secrecy. Not a word of this to anyone. Not your assistants, not Wilpon, not your wife, not even me.

ALDERSON: But you came up with the plan.

EINHORN: [covering ears] I know nothing, la la la, not listening…

The ACTIVITY DIRECTOR suddenly stands over the two of them.

ACTIVITY DIRECTOR: [through bullhorn] Chop chop, gentlemen. Less talking, more communication!

Continue reading Studio 60 on Roosevelt Avenue: Episode 7