A few people have e-mailed asking what the Winter Meetings are about. Here is the deal:
Where: Gaylord Opyland Hotel, Nashville, Tenn.
Who attends: Everybody. All 30 MLB teams send a contingent. For the Yankees, it will probably be up to 20 people. There are actual meetings for the GMs, trainers, PR people, player development people, travel coordinators, etc.
Minor leagues: This is their convention as well. There is a giant trade show showcasing any sort of product you can imagine in a stadium, from hats and bats to cups and grass seed. Every minor league team will have staff members here.
Job seekers: Every college kid with a resume and a dream of working in baseball will be here. They stalk the halls and lobbies looking for people to pitch to.
Players: It’s rare but every once in a while a player shows up looking for a job. Barry Bonds was there to beg the Giants last season. Just a hunch, he won’t be there this year.
Highlights: There is an annual media luncheon with every manager. Joe Torre never used to show up, but Joe Girardi will be in town. The Rule 5 Draft is Thursday. Baseball America holds a banquet to honor assorted award winners.
Media: Put it this way, if a media outlet isn’t there, then it isn’t serious about baseball coverage. There will be, roughly, 20 print reporters from New York alone along with two radio reporters. Most teams set up as meeting with their local media and the GM every day. There is a giant media work room and usually some radio stations set up in the lobby. ESPN will have five or six people there.
The good: If you really like baseball, it’s great being in the same place as everybody in the game. It’s a chance to break some news, make contacts and have a beer or two in the evening. The Meetings are sort of the unofficial close of business for baseball. Most everybody in the game goes on vacation at the end of the month.
The bad: The Opryland Hotel is a sprawling mess. There is no central lobby, which makes it difficult to stake out the person you need to talk to. The Meetings also coincide with their “Country Christmas” display. So the place is full of tourists gawking at the lights.
I’ll be there this evening and will start blogging then.