Postcard from the GM Winter Meetings

The 2010 Winter Meetings
have officially commenced in Lake
Buena Vista, Fla.
this week, I am happy report and in the time-honored tradition, the hotel lobby
is teeming with journalists, baseball execs and job seekers.  As of this morning, still no sighting of
Mickey or Minnie, however.  


We’re lodged
at MLB headquarters, a place called Walt Disney Swan & Dolphin Resort, a
man-made monstrosity that puts the Emerald
City to shame.  I must admit I’ve never been a big fan of what’s
referred to as “the Disney Complex.”  In
fact, I kind of have a personal complex
about the Disney Complex.  Yes, it’s
beautiful, squeaky clean with palm trees and lush surroundings.  But I always feel held captive for some
reason, probably because it’s isolated from downtown Orlando and your only entertainment or dining
options are within the world of Disney.  


Of
course, we’re hear to attend the annual Public Relations Meetings each morning,
press the flesh in the lobby in the afternoons, and coordinate media interviews
with the A’s traveling contingent headed, of course, by GM
Billy
Beane
, Assistant GM David Forst and Manager Bob Geren.  So, I’ll spare you with any more references
to the Disney Penitentiary–er, I mean Resort–while I’m here.

This morning, I’ll join my
team counterparts at the opening session of the MLB Public Relations Meetings,
where league VP of Communications
Patrick Courtney will open the festivities with a look back on the 2010 season, as well
as a look forward at the coming year.  Among
agenda items this year will be the ever-burgeoning world of social media, ways
we can curtail expenses by reducing our publishing projects with green
initiatives, reviewing various “best practices” and case studies by individual
clubs, participating in round-table presentations by many of MLB’s partners
ranging from MLB Network to ESPN to XM Radio. 


I will be ducking out a little earlier today to participate in the Sports
Management Worldwide Baseball Career Conference, appearing on a “Public
Relations and Media” panel with Hall of Fame baseball writer
Tracy Ringolsby, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick,
NBCSports.com blogger
Craig Calcaterra and Biz of
Baseball’s
Maury Brown.  We’ll be addressing about 200 attendees
interested in careers on the business side of baseball.  I’m always amazed about the growing hordes of
young people pursuing jobs in our profession. 
I plan to share my professional experiences, plus offer some pearls of wisdom
like….”find a team to work for that wins championships and you’ll be considered
a PR genius!”…and… “always remember the Golden Rule–the players with the most
gold rule”…and “if you can master the
art of updating daily game notes while keeping your Xerox machine from going
sideways, you’ll make it in this business!” 
I suspect I may not be invited next year.


Of course, the
meat-and-potatoes of these meetings are always the daily appearance of your GM
with your beat writers and other media. 
In recent years, there’s been very little news of substance emanating
out of the hotel suites of baseball GMs, Mr. Beane included. As die-hard A’s
fans–hey, if you’re reading this obscure blog, you absolutely qualify as a
die-hard supporter of The Elephants–you already know that some potential free
agents, most notably
Lance Berkman (Cardinals) and Adam Dunn (White Sox), have already flown off the shelf with
recent deals.  So, I’m sure Ms. Slusser
or Ms. Lee will be drilling Billy on the prospects of acquiring new RBI bats
among a still-eligible pool that includes
Adrian Beltre, Hideki Matsui, Vladimir Guerrero and a few others of note.  Billy, as is his custom, will then remind the
well-intentioned scribes that is A’s policy not to comment on free agents
unless we sign them.  


Then the
conversation will rapidly turn from free agents or potential trades before
entering the inevitable “Small Talk Zone” that might cover anything from the
quality of snacks provided in suite, to why FIFA snubbed the U.S. in awarding
World Cup sites, to why the Ramones continue to hold significance in American
culture, to the merits of having Brad Pitts portray you in a major motion
picture.  In other words, don’t expect
much baseball news this week.  But, as
noted baseball philosopher and erratic right-handed pitcher
Joaquin Andujar once said, “There is one word in America that says it all, and that
one word is ‘you never know.'”  Stay
tuned.

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