Results tagged ‘ Winter Meetings ’
Throughout this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment seeking experiences. (Meet them all HERE.) In this installment, Clint Belau finds himself becoming part of “one big semi-functional family.” Clint’s first entry can be found HERE.
Monday, 12/3/12: Hurry Up and Wait
The word of the day was patience. The interview scheduling room didn’t open until 9AM, which is late when you’re someone who woke up at 5 due to uncontrollable excitement. I took the opportunity to check out the MLBTV sets first thing in the morning. The madness has begun, and the overall action in the hotel’s various lobbies has increased tenfold since yesterday. Essentially, everyone who is anyone in baseball is here, and they’re all now roaming amongst the commoners. Trying to keep my head from spinning as I attempt to keep up with all of the baseball celebrities around me has become a concern.
As the bell struck 9, the interview scheduling room was flooded with eager baseball wannabes, all assuming the posting boards would be full of lists with their name on them. Well, they couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, there were three jobs that had interview lists posted. You could almost hear the collective inner thought of “um…what?” running through everyone’s mind. It became immediately apparent that today would be a day of waiting.
As the morning progressed, more lists were posted. At 10:39, I saw my name on a list for the first time. Was it the greatest feeling of elation ever? No, but it was quite a relief. The “team name that shall remain anonymous” wanted to speak with me. I penned my name in the 11:15 interview slot, and with that, had secured my first interview of the week. At 11:07, I nervously stood in the interview room, waiting for the previous interviewee to wrap it up, so I could meet with my prospective employer. At 11:15 sharp, I began what would be the best first round interview of my life. Within seconds, it was confirmed. I’ve finally chosen the right path for my life. I’m very rarely more comfortable than when I’m around baseball…and that has obviously carried over into my professional pursuit. A twenty minute interview felt like two seconds. And in seemingly an instant, it was over. The gentlemen who had interviewed me were now handing me their cards and offering to buy me a beer at the bar later. And, being from Wisconsin, it’s deeply embedded in my DNA to never, ever, turn down a free beer.
Back to the majority of the day, which was spent hanging out in the workroom area, then checking, then re-checking, then checking again, then borderline obsessing over the job posting and interview scheduling boards. That was typically followed by conversations with other job seekers about how there didn’t seem to be much movement. However, it was a great time to trade stories with fellow attendees. Calling it a friendly group is comparable to calling the the Opryland Hotel mid-sized. Everyone was bouncing around from table to table, getting to know each other. It was as unstuffy as unstuffy could possibly be. Occasionally, veterans of the business would pop in to offer their advice, encouragement and general well wishes. One thing that stood out for me is how much everyone in the business seems to look out for each other. It really does appear to be one big semi-functional family.
During the afternoon, the posting boards picked up. I had another interview during which I was so relaxed it was suspicious. Having two interviews seemed to be the overall average for the day. As the 5 o’clock posting room closure hour drew near, talk shifted from “how has your day gone” to “where are we drinking tonight?” After all, networking is key. And the opportunity to be rubbing elbows with such a ridiculous number of baseball greatest minds is not to be passed up.
And this brings us to the most completely awesome story of the day – After meeting the creator himself, Benjamin Hill, for a couple drinks at the bar, I bellied up to close out my tab. As I was doing so, I looked over my shoulder and saw none other than Eric Wedge. Between checking to see if I was having a heart attack, and assuring myself that my bladder remained under control, I mustered up enough courage to offer to buy him a drink. Not only did he pull a complete reversal and buy ME a drink, but we proceeded to have a lengthy chat about the Mariners, my current situation, and the Winter Meetings in general. As a devoted Mariners fan, I cannot imagine there will be a bigger highlight for me this week. If I can say that there was one specific experience that made this entire trip “worth it”, that was it. Yes, jobs are fantastic, and I certainly hope I leave here with one, but I believe life is about experiences, and that was an experience that will remain with me forever.
Throughout this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment seeking experiences. (Meet them all HERE.) In this installment Chris Miller recaps his first two days in the Music City.
When I registered for the Winter Meetings, knowing it was in Nashville, I was pretty eager for the chance to land a full-time gig. Secretly, however, I was also glad it gave me a chance to see the city and put on my on my non-existing cowboy boots and hat for a few days.
After getting a meal and seeing some sights of the city on Saturday evening, Sunday brought the first official day and a chance to see the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. There are few words that can really describe The Gaylord Opryland but if I had to pick one, it would be stunning. It’s just an unreal facility.
The personal highlight of the Baseball of Business Workshop on Sunday was listening to President of Minor League Baseball Pat O’ Conner, who touched on his career in MiLB (where he started as in intern out of college making less than desirable wages). He mentioned something that I have found to be prevalent in my three years in baseball: “Getting the job done.” At the end of the day, regardless of your position, skills, or anything else, you have to pitch in to get the job done to have the game go on.
Once the job postings went up, it was somewhat of organized chaos as everyone flocked to the postings similar to people seeing if they had made or been cut from their high school sports team. It was relieving to finally see the jobs go up.
Monday was a routine of checking my phone, the job postings, and the interview scheduling. I also had the chance to meet a few nice people looking for jobs and saw a few celebs (I was pretty disappointed when Ken Rosenthal walked by me and wasn’t wearing a bow tie).
The day’s events concluded with the Baseball Trade Show where everything and everything that has to do with the Minors—uniforms, inflatables, food options, European acrobats performing routines on a balance beam—were on display.
On Monday I had an interview and a few good leads on jobs, but the highlight of my day came at the very end, as I followed Craig Counsell up an escalator. I can’t wait to see what Tuesday has in store.
There will be much more to come from Chris and our other three job seekers throughout the week. In the meantime, my own recap of Day One of the Winter Meetings can be found HERE.
Throughout this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment seeking experiences. (Meet them all HERE.) In this installment, Linda Le recaps her first two days in the Music City.
12/2/12: Hello Music City!
The week started early for us job seekers (one day earlier, to be precise) and was filled with inspiring guest speakers and their stories about endeavoring into the world of long work days, low paying opportunities, yet rewarding moments – also known as the world of professional baseball.
The Business of Baseball Workshop was an all day event that provided information on the ins and outs of working in professional baseball. When I entered the designated room where the workshop was being held, I instantly felt the eagerness and the anxiety amongst all the other job seekers. One may think that it would feel intimidating too see 400 – 500 other job seekers all in one room knowing that we are all here for the same reason, but for myself it reiterated how beloved this industry is and how much people are willing to do to get their foot in the door.
The reality of working in professional baseball was repeatedly illustrated through the presentations of both Juliana Paoli, the CMO for the San Jose Giants and Giovanni Hernandez, the Scouting Assistant – International Operations for the Detroit Tigers. I was trying to count how many times the words “ramen noodles” came up in Giovanni’s presentation, which was concise and pretty much blunt on the topic of becoming an intern. Oh, how memories of my university days were flooding my mind.
After the workshop was completed and we got a chance to view the current job postings, I was exhausted. Needing to reflect and take everything in I decided to grab a quick meal. At the bar of one of the restaurants in the Gaylord Opryland Resort (which by the way is a city on its own), I was able to strike up a conversation with the gentleman sitting next to me, who happened to be a scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Upon introduction I thought to myself the amount of people that attended the workshop earlier in the day who would have loved the opportunity to be sitting next to a scout, let alone a scout for a Major League team.
The moment in the bar illustrated the power of networking and how easily a connection can be made from just a simple conversation. This particular conversation happened to start off with the scout indicating he was from Chicago, then I proceeded to profess my love for Chicago food (Deep dish pizza, Harold’s Chicken Shack and Al’s: anyone from Chicago will know these references).
After exchanging contact information I walked away thinking that the conversation I had was just as informative as the all day workshop. It also made me realize how here at the Winter Meetings, there are endless opportunities to meet and connect with great individuals – it doesn’t just pertain to the confines of the job fair.
12/3/12: Let’s Play the Waiting Game
I was hopeful to walk into the interview schedule room to see if my name was listed on any of the postings I had applied to in the previous evening. Of course I was not the only one there and it was overwhelming to see the faces of disappointed individuals who either did not see their names listed or even the posting itself.
I circulated around the room which by 11am only had about 20 – 30 lists for scheduled interviews. None of the postings I had applied to were up yet for scheduling interviews – not a big deal I thought, it was early in the day. I didn’t want to be like most of the attendees there who were nervously checking every 30 minutes for any new information, so I decided to wander off and explore the rest of the Winter Meetings. If I learned anything from the previous day it was to build on my network and to foster new connections.
During lunch I had the opportunity to meet with the Director of Corporate Sales for one of the minor leagues. I looked at this whole waiting game situation in a different perspective. My down time waiting for new job postings or interview schedules encouraged more opportunity to meet baseball executives.
I went through another round of checking for new postings I was interested in as well as checking up on any new interview schedules. I left the day still not seeing any of the interview schedules for the postings I had applied to from the previous day. The waiting game continues.
At this point it was the opening night for the Baseball Trade Show, a nice distraction from the chaos of the job fair. As the day was winding down, I thought it well needed for myself and other job seekers to be surrounded by inflatable mascots and free beer!
There will be much more to come from Linda and our other three job seekers throughout the week. In the meantime, my own recap of Day One of the Winter Meetings can be found HERE. I’d really appreciate it if you check it out.
Throughout this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment seeking experiences. (Meet them all HERE.) These journal entries were scheduled to start running on Tuesday, but job-seeker Clint Belau just couldn’t wait to begin sharing his experiences. Hence, he has sent in this “bonus” entry, covering Sunday’s “Business of Baseball” orientation. Enjoy, and check back throughout the week for more from Clint as well as our other three job-seekers.
Sunday, 12/2/12: OPEN THE FLOODGATES
I departed the fabulous Days Inn on foot bright and early, making my way towards the Gaylord Opryland Hotel for the orientation-style Business Of Baseball workshop. Apparently I was a little on the excited side, since my walk – which had taken 21 minutes in my test version last night — took a mere 13. I’m sure the skinny bald guy in a black suit with briefcase in hand, walking at a furious pace down the streets of Nashville at 7:00 AM on a Sunday morning, looked completely normal to cars passing by. Alas, at 7:13, I had officially arrived at the Winter Meetings.
The day was emceed by the recently appointed President of the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders, Rob Crain (sidenote: that dude really knows how to emcee a workshop). The morning session began at 8:15 sharp, and included an impressive roster of Minor League executives, all of whom had helpful hints about the interview process, tips for what to do/what not to do during the upcoming week, and most importantly, offered incredibly blunt insights as to what life in Minor League Baseball is all about. At points, it seemed as if they were trying to talk us all out of our respective pursuits. In reality, their candor was greatly appreciated. With a room made up of 95% bright-eyed, ready to conquer the world 20-somethings, the reality check-themed speeches were a bit predictable. If anyone in the room was surprised to hear that Minor League Baseball is made up of understaffed, overworked, minimally paid people who are in it for all the right reasons, they neglected to do their research.
As I mentioned, the crowd was mainly comprised of upcoming/recent college graduates, although I (age 35) was far from the only old timer there. Of the younger attendees that I spoke with, the fact that I’m basically a decade their elder didn’t seem to bother anyone. (Although, if I’m patting my own back here, I’m a pretty easy guy to get along with.) Whenever there were breaks, most of us wisely used our time polishing our networking skills. As was repeated countless times by each and every speaker, that will be the single most important skill during this week, and more so, going forward in our career.
We broke for lunch, at which point I made a very important phone call that I’ll get to in future entries. The afternoon session included a panel of esteemed industry professionals, a session on how to locate the job posting board, and where to submit your resumes. The workshop was capped off with a hilarious, incredibly thought-provoking, 45 minutes with the extremely entertaining Vice President and COO of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Todd “Parney” Parnell.
The day closed with the unveiling of the job posting room, where some 278 jobs were on display. Yeah, that room got real busy, real quick. However, there were no “Wal-Mart at midnight on Black Friday” incidents, so there was no need for a safety helmet. The job-seeking crowd was very cordial…for now. Most of us mingled a bit in the “Job Seeker Workroom” area, labeling our resumes to be placed in the appropriate box, according to job posting number. Me, I was on a mission for Mexican food…so after submitting my resumes, I was off to eat, and to begin my week at Networkfest 2012.
Quote of the Day – “If you are looking to begin a career in baseball, you are in exactly the right place.” Pat O’Conner, President – Minor League Baseball
There will be much more to come this week (and next) from Nashville. The Gaylord Opryland Hotel is where the magic happens!
I’ve been pontificating quite a bit about Minor League re-branding efforts over the past several weeks, and a significant one was unveiled this past Saturday in the form of the Reading Fightin Phillies. (read all about it HERE).
But let’s change the pace up a bit. In a little less than two weeks, I will be traveling to Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel for the Baseball Winter Meetings. Yes, a return to the dome! I definitely won’t be having any sort of anxiety attack related to the antiseptic and vaguely alien surroundings, no siree Bob!
2012 marks my sixth Winter Meetings, and by this point I’ve developed a bit of a routine: attend the Bob Freitas business seminar on Monday, explore the Trade Show on Tuesday and check in on the PBEO Job Fair on Wednesday. It’s not a bad routine, as routines go, and I am proud of the fact that I can consistently provide a fresh perspective on what it means to attend the Winter Meetings. (While MLB wheelings and dealings get all of the ink, a far greater degree of the business attended to involves the Minors: it’s a non-stop barrage of networking, hiring, buying, planning, scheming, dreaming and, of course, boozing.)
HOWEVER! I nonetheless would like to freshen things up a bit, while expanding the ways in which I cover this event. Here are three of the ideas that have materialized within my brainspace thus far:
Job Seeker Journal — Are you a first-time Winter Meetings attendee, looking to land your first job within the competitive world of professional baseball? If so, would you like to keep a journal of the experience (from initial expectations to final results or lack thereof) that would run on MiLB.com and/or this blog? Let me know – firstname.lastname@example.org
Trade Show Vendor Profile – First time exhibitor at the Trade Show? I think it would be interesting to cover the origin of the product in question, development of the company thus far, and the expectations regarding this, your inaugural Winter Meetings appearance.
Instant Interview — Are you going to be at the Meetings, and, if so, would you like to share your reasons for being? Send me an email and we’ll find time for a short interview within Opryland’s vast confines that will later be posted on this blog. This is open to ANYONE attending.
But most importantly — what about YOU, a loyal blog reader who presumably will NOT be in Nashville. What aspects of the Winter Meetings do you find interesting, or would you like to read more about? Let me know, and I’ll do my best to pursue. The bottom line is, as always, to provide the best content that I can for my readership!
Finally, as those of you who have attended the Winter Meetings are aware, they are a big-time opportunity for networking (or, stated less elegantly but more accurately: schmoozing). One of the biggest benefits of attending, for me and many others, it to meet new people and to “put the name to the face” of those who I have only dealt with via phone/email/Twitter/etc.
So, please, make sure to say hello! I’ll do my best to brave the hotel lobby hordes each evening, in the interest of engaging with as many people as possible, and am always amenable to conversation. The recognition I receive in Nashville, however paltry, will be used as ego-fuel to get me through the lean winter months ahead. Trust me, it’s needed.
So there you go. The Winter Meetings. They are coming up. I will write about them. I hope that you will find value in what I write.
If you thought that the previous post would be the extent of my Winter Meetings coverage, then I commend you for thinking about my writing.
But the fact of the matter is this: While solidly on the former end of the Empty/Full continuum, my Winter Meetings content tank is not yet barren. This post, therefore, marks my best effort to attain depletion (a spiritual imperative, in some cultures).
It was mentioned in my MiLB.com article, but one of Tuesday’s most intriguing events was the annual “Women in Baseball” speed networking event. Open only to female employees of affiliated MiLB teams (as well as the odd blogger), the event was emceed by Ripken Baseball executive director Amy Venuto and featured three topics over which to “speed network”: putting your ideas into action, how to manage emotions, and transitioning from co-worker to supervisor.
And, let it be known, this is that rare seminar in which alcoholic beverages are served.
Anyhow, I think I’d like to do a longer story on women working in baseball. Not some sort of “Minor Leagues, Major Groundbreakers” puff piece; I’d just talk to people around the sport in order to get some perspective on what it’s like. Let me know if you’ve got something to say.
[Minor Leagues, Major Complaint: can there please be a moratorium on the "Minor This, Major That" story headline? It's been done to death.]
The “Women in Baseball Seminar” also included a brief speech by Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner, part of a whirlwind Winter Meetings for the always-on-the-go industry leader. Perhaps the most significant thing on O’Conner’s agenda occurred on Wednesday afternoon, when he was unanimously re-elected (by league presidents) to a second four-year term.
I missed the election (held in a ballroom of the Hilton Anatole hotel), but was told that it was short and sweet. Here are a couple of photos taken by jack-of-all-trades MiLB.com colleague Danny Wild:
I also wrote about the annual anxiety attack that is the PBEO Job Fair, in which hundreds of ambitious young job-seekers seek to break into the wonderful world of Minor League Baseball. Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs!
But anxiety inducing or not, and whether or not one obtains a position, the Job Fair represents a great networking opportunity. The Winter Meetings are absolutely unparalleled when it comes to the number of baseball people in one place at one time (save for Baseball Heaven, of course).
And, finally, there was Dipquest 2011, in which I and two other intrepid travelers went on a pilgrimage to find what was allegedly the best dip in Dallas.
It all started the week before the Meetings, when loyal reader (and world-renowned DJ) Rex Doane wrote in that I should visit “Matt’s Rancho Martinez for the legendary Bob Armstrong dip. It’s a proud, artery-clogging D-Town tradition.”
When I mentioned Rex’s recommendation on Twitter, Trade Show vendor Chad Walters (founder of Lean Blitz) wrote back that he’d be up for the Dipquest (and he had a car!). Another Twitter recruit was job-seeker Steven Gold (@StevenPGold), who signed on within a half hour of our Tuesday evening departure.
Matt’s Rancho Martinez, from the outside:
Within hung a well-rendered (and somewhat inscrutable, to these Northeastern eyes) mural:
The Dip! (cheese, guacamole, sour cream, ground beef, and seasoning):
A Dip takes a Dip in the Dip!
That was followed by a “Monster” chicken-fried steak, done “Cowboy Style” (smothered with chili, served with side of rice and beans).
Was this Tex-Mex heaven?
Or was it Tex-Mex hell?
After three days of diligent Winter Meetings coverage, I was ready for a party. A Gala, even.
And wouldn’t you know it? That’s just what I got. On Wednesday evening a vast legion of buses cued up outside the Jade Entrance of the Hilton Anatole hotel in order to transport all manner of Minor League personnel to the annual Winter Meetings Gala.
We arrived at the Gala under the cover of darkness, and it took me a while to figure out where we were. After entering through a narrow side entrance, I aimlessly wandered through this mysterious facility’s labyrinthian corridors until coming across a particularly well-lit area.
Overcoming considerable feelings of trepidation, I cautiously navigated the above pathway until it opened up into the following tableau.
Oh, so it was a baseball stadium we were at, was it? I guess I could have seen that one coming. But what stadium? The brobdingnagian dimensions seemed to indicate a Major League facility, but since I’d fallen asleep on the bus I had no idea how long we’d traveled to get here. The lack of a roof, retractable or otherwise, ruled out the likes of Houston, Seattle, Phoenix, Toronto, and Milwaukee, but all else was fair game.
Eager to get to the bottom of this conundrum, I went in search of context clues.
This outfield sign didn’t help matters. I’ve been to ballparks throughout this great land, and one of the few constants are billboards in which a desperate species targeted for mass slaughter tries to appease their carnivorous overlords by advocating for the mass slaughter of a different species.
But wait! This avian murder-promoting bovine is wearing a Texas Rangers cap! Could it be that I was at none other than Rangers ballpark? A search for more clues seemed to validate this assumption.
The solitary lasso-wielding young men on the concourse were certainly Lone Stars.
But what finally convinced me that I was in Arlington was coming across this cup, which commemorates the unforgettable ALCS match-up between the Rangers and their eternal rivals the Boston Red Sox.
The next question to flicker through my mind was just as pressing: Where is everyone? Save for solitary lasso-ers, the place was deserted. If a mechanical bull is in the stadium, but no one is there to ride it, then does it make a buck?
After much hypothermia-inducing wandering, I came across a cluster of industry executives staring toward the ground with intent focus.
There’s one thing, and one thing only, that could command that sort of rapt attention: Armadillo Racing!
Unfortunately that’s the best picture of the armadillos that I could muster, as my camera is morally adverse to any photographic attempt involving movement. But, yes, to reiterate: the 2011 Baseball Winter Meetings Gala featured Armadillo Racing as entertainment.
But in life, as in the dictionary, alcohol comes before armadillos. There were even more folks gathered at the upstairs Jose Cuervo Club.
With the location of my whereabouts finally ascertained and my heart therefore unencumbered, I went on a wandering spree.
But soon enough it came time to re-board the buses and head back to the Hilton Anatole. The following signs were up in the lobby, signifying an end to yet another industry confab.
In yesterday’s post I focused on the Winter Meetings Trade Show, and in today’s article on MiLB.com I spent some time discussing the Job Fair (among other things).
So, in keeping with a style that has come to characterize the fragmented nature of 21st-century discourse, now it’s time for a mash-up! What follows is a post on people who were looking for jobs at the Trade Show.
First and foremost, yesterday I landed an exclusive interview with YouTube sensation Domingo Ayala. He is the self-proclaimed “#1 Free Agent” of the Winter Meetings.
“Multi-year deal is big for me, so maybe 20-25 years and a couple hundred million,” said Ayala. “There’s about 30 teams discussing with me right now.”
Ayala’s stint with the Eugene Emeralds was voted this year’s “Best Celebrity Appearance” on MiLB.com, and Ayala said he’d be amenable to another stop in the Minors to “maybe teach the young guys how to play.”
Baseball superstars of a different sort could be found manning Booth 1101. The vaunted Skillville Group could be found there, whose roster of touring performers includes the Zooperstars, Birdzerk, Myron Noodleman and Breakin’ B-Boy McCoy.
The tough economy has resulted in less sponsorship dollars for Minor League teams, which has led to a decrease in touring performers on the schedule. But Skillville impresario (and lead Zooperstar) Dominic Latkovski nonetheless expressed confidence.
“The fans want something above what they’re used to seeing, a national act they don’t see every game and we offer that” he said. “We have a good reputation and always deliver, and feel like we’re the best bet out there.”
Meanwhile, at booth 1404, a new touring act was trying its best to make its presence known: The Fur Circus. Here are three of the primary performers, with an idiotic blogger thrown in for good measure.
I liked the concept behind Fur Circus, and am looking forward to seeing their show. It was described to me as a “circus gone wrong” as well as a “cross between the Three Stooges and Shrek,” in which a hapless ringmaster increasingly loses control of his subjects throughout course of five in-game acts.
The Fur Circus crew is aware of how difficult it can be to break into the game, and part of their pitch is the extent to which they’ll go above and beyond standard touring act obligations via pre-game media appearances and commitment to fan engagement.
“Pre-game, we’ll let everyone know that the circus is in town,” said Jeremy Legg, one of six performers in the Fur Circus posse. “And post-game, we’ll be there posing for pictures until the last fan leaves.”
An even scrappier post-game touring entity was “The Utility Man” aka Ben Youngerman. This former Trenton Thunder employee didn’t have a booth to his name, instead opting to traverse the corridors in search of a receptive audience.
While with the Thunder, Youngerman developed “about a dozen go-to characters,” including the “wacky food vendor” as well as R & B sensation “Benyonce“. He also stresses that he can develop new characters as needed for theme nights and other special events, and specializes in both on-field skits as well as one-on-one fan interaction. Hence, the “Utility Man” moniker.
Youngerman’s operation is a lean one, and as such he says “his price is cheaper” than other touring acts. Whether this results in a plethora of ballpark bookings remains to be seen, but so far his approach has been a good one.
“You’ve just got to throw yourself into the fire,” he said.
That’s a good way to sum up the attitudes of so many here in Dallas, be they job seekers, Trade Show vendors or members of the media. Therefore, I declare this to be the official song of the 2011 Winter Meetings. All hail a true rock legend.
Mao Zedong was a huge proponent of both consumerism and baseball, so it only makes sense that one passes his picture en route to this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings Trade Show:
It’s a lot to take in, this Trade Show, and at first I was intimidated.
But there’s nothing you can do but dive right in.
My first stop of the day was Booth 1711, occupied by Lynn University Sports Management students. Each season professor Ted Curtis organizes a trip to the Meetings, so that students may look for jobs whilst learning from industry leaders (and, since I was also asked to speak, the occasional idiotic industry anomaly).
After that meeting, I simply tried to make sense of the spectacle that was laid out before me.
That inflatable gator seen above is no anomaly. As always at the Trade Show, there were plenty of of characters lurking about.
The folks over at Rasta Imposta fulfilled a life-long dream of mine — being able to dress up as a beer-chugging Wiffle ball bat.
Later, I played a more subtle game of dress-up. Pretending that I was a Major League catcher, ensuring that I didn’t get my signs crossed up by applying Game Signs to my fingers. No more nail polish for me!
I then got thrown for a curve, upon noticing that Coyote Promotions was using my MiLB.com story as a means to advertise the supremacy of their bobbling product.
The other Coyote bobbles had no choice but to look on jealously at the exalted Mr. Braden.
I’ll have more from the Trade Show — and the Winter Meetings in general — throughout the week (and who know? Maybe even into next). But I’ll close this current dispatch in the interest of sociability. It’s the Winter Meetings, and there are always more people to talk to.
This picture, of myself and Altoona Curve general manage Rob Egan, is indicative of how I spend 40% of my day.
What am I doing with my life?
The answer to this query, at least for today, is this: Writing about the Baseball Winter Meetings, live and direct from the Big D.
Or, as people who aren’t insufferable call it: Dallas.
The location, specifically, is the Hilton Anatole seen above. For reasons I have not yet ascertained, a statue of American orating legend Will Rogers graces the outside of this quite magnificent facility.
But this is a location best seen from the indoors, especially since the climate in Dallas hasn’t exactly been hospitable (40 degrees and raining).
A triumvirate of sideways-glancing goddesses project a welcoming aura, whilst elephantine sentries stand guard for the media elite.
My day started at the Bob Freitas Business seminar, an annual cavalcade of idea-sharing. And you know what this means, don’t you? Poorly-composed photos of people sitting in conference rooms!
This is the sort of Winter Meetings coverage you just can’t find anywhere else.
From there I headed to the Stemmons Ballroom, to check out the Opening Session speeches (more on all of this can be found on that old internet stalwart MiLB.com. My coverage there has actual substance).
Even more people in an even bigger room!
I skipped the annual Awards Luncheon, because no one ever gives me awards. But before heading back to my hotel room, I met up with Lake County Captains announcer Craig Deas so that he could give me this wonderful piece of Herman’s Head-related memorabilia:
The story behind this signed artifact is explained within this blog post on last season’s visit to Lake County, and further elucidated in this interview with pitcher Cole Cook.
But such issues cannot be explored on an empty stomach. Due to time and transportation constraints, lunch options at the Winter Meetings are severely limited. Fortunately, a short walk brought me to Buck’s Prime, who specialize in “mesquite-grilled burgers.”
The meal was more than acceptable, considering the circumstances:
After lunch it was to the biggest room yet, this time to engage in the rapid-fire “roundtable” portion of the Bob Freitas Seminar. MiLB.com jack-of-all trades Danny Wild took the following photo, which illustrates just how much effective a high-quality camera can be.
From there I joined the innumerable media hordes, in order to bring my words to you.
As for what the evening will bring — who knows? But there’s a good chance that instead of sitting in a room with a bunch of people, I will instead be standing in a room with a bunch of people. This “room”, most likely.
But only one thing’s for certain: I have no idea what I’m doing with my life.
See you tomorrow — live and direct from the Trade Show!