A Look Back at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, Part Three

Day Three: Tuesday, December 9

On Tuesday, with the Winter Meetings in full swing, an anonymous but clearly exasperated Minor League Baseball employee posted the following to the @MiLBProbz Twitter account:

I can understand the frustration. Only a privileged handful of each team’s employees get to attend the Winter Meetings each year, while the rest are stuck in the office making cold calls (you know, because it’s winter). But, hey, guess what? If those same frustrated front officers ever get the chance to attend the Winter Meetings themselves, then you can bet dollars to donuts that they, too, will engage in disingenuous “wish you were here” social media braggadocio. It’s human nature: Complain about abhorrent behavior until you, too, have a chance to engage in it!

I’m as guilty as the rest. More so, actually, as this series of blog posts has allowed me to extend my Winter Meeting reminisces until more than a week after the event’s conclusion. This is because everything that happened to me while in San Diego was VERY IMPORTANT. Like, on Tuesday morning, while walking to the San Diego Convention Center, I took a picture of this boatload of bananas.

IMG_0519I could produce a lot of these types of pictures, if I so desired. They have mass a-peel, so why not just keep on Dole-ing them out? After all, I’m not the sort of man willing to let a prime punning opportunity potassium right by. Seeking to share the fruits of my labors, I introduced the following concept to my vast Twitter following:

Spoiler alert: this went nowhere. The next day, I conceded defeat:

But that’s okay. In real life, I had places to go and people to see. Namely, the PBEO Job Fair, which I visited early Tuesday afternoon simply because I wanted to get a sense of what that environment was like. This event, a Winter Meetings staple, was situated on the second floor of the San Diego Convention Center. Specifically, it was located at the terminus of an interstellar portal.

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The picture below depicts the scene in the Interview Schedule room. Each piece of paper posted on the boards shows the list of candidates that have been chosen to interview for a particular job or internship.

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Pictured, from left to right: white guy, white guy, white guy, white guy, white guy, white guy, white guy, white guy, white guy, white guy

Job Seekers are generally engaged in one of three tasks: applying for a job, interviewing for a job or, most commonly, waiting around for jobs to be posted and interviews to be announced. But no matter what task one was engaged in, there was plenty of room in which to spread out.

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Imagine, if you will, that the hallway seen above was littered with trap doors. Anyone with the misfortune of falling through such a door would have landed in or in front of the annual Baseball Winter Meetings Trade Show.

IMG_0545I went down to the Trade Show to meet a co-worker, esteemed Minoring in Twitter writer Danny Wild, so that the two of us could collaborate on a short Trade Show video for MiLB.com. In advance of Mr. Wild’s arrival, I took some time to acquaint myself with that which was contained within the Trade Show’s labyrinthian corridors.

There were a lot of things contained within, that’s the nature of the beast, but what fascinated me the most was this.

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How to Master Baseball, self-published, was given to me by its author, Winston B. Lewy, who had obtained a booth at the Trade Show in order to convince attendees that he had indeed invented a way in which baseball could be mastered. The book contains 945 (!) queries related to the game of baseball, divided into chapters such as “How to Master Hitting” and “How to Master Sliding.” Adherents to the program then must construct a variety of PVC-pipe based mechanisms (as seen in the cover illustrations above) in order to practice the techniques outlined therein.

Free stuff is in abundance at the Trade Show, so when Lewy first handed me the book I didn’t think much of it. It was only after flipping through it in my room that evening that I realized I had stumbled upon something truly unique and strange. The book is written as if its target audience is a future civilization that has lost its knowledge of baseball, a civilization which must now use the book in order to understand and master the sport anew. I quickly became fascinated by Lewy and his quixotic mission, but when I returned to the Trade Show the next day to get more detail he was already gone. Had he ever been there?

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Anyhow, after my brief but impactful encounter with Lewy, I did indeed meet up with my esteemed colleague Danny Wild and we did indeed produce a video (and accompanying article) about the Trade Show.

If you watched the above video, then you will see that I, for one, have already mastered baseball. My stroke (as seen at the :32 mark) is impeccable.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

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