The Boston Red Sox head to Nashville for the annual Baseball Winter Meetings. Look for trades and free agent signings.
If the Boston Red Sox are looking for a player or two players or more the time is coming up – The 2015 Baseball Winter Meetings! Part of the Winter Meetings are another festival of baseball and that is the Baseball Trade Show. Both run in conjunction with one another and will be in Nashville this season at The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center from December 6th through December 10th. I will not do all the promo stuff for Nashville – been there and my highlight was a car rental and a visit to Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, a city which happens to be dry.
The meetings are where the action is and action comes on many levels. The most significant is the various trades, free agent signings and groundwork that will be formulated by various front office types who will have an open bar, a sumptuous buffet and their own hospitality suites. Expense accounts be damned! You will see the agents or the agencies that represent their high-profile clients roaming the venue and – of course – being wined and dined by upper management and even the owners who attend. And, if “your guy” is not a stud – well, then – trap a management type and make your spiel or roam the hallways looking for someone to trap or ply with booze – I am sure that NEVER happens.
Groundwork is usually planned well in advance since the primary movers in the meat market action are GM’s or baseball operations folks such as Dave Dombrowski. The rumors will fly like a flock of emancipated seagulls discovering a landfill. Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal, Peter Gammons, et al will be overloading servers with a treasure trove of deals being consummated or dreamed up. A virtual cornucopia for writers, bloggers and media types.
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There is, however, another level that is a step down on the ladder. Less profile, but important on an individual basis – the job hunt. Baseball has a tremendous turnover and it often flutters through a system. A new GM will bring in his own guys (or gals) and that may be everything from custodial staff, to baseball ops, to coaching and even the managerial changes. If you are at walking the bricks the annual meetings are the place to connect and where one can hope/pray/wish for employment.
The minors are also a bustle of activity and not just the majors. They have their own needs and despite a symbiotic relationship with MLB there are differences, conflicts and issues that have to be ironed out. The management of minor league teams may have a working agreement, but no harm in checking out other options. And, yes, this is baseball so expect independent leagues to have their own personnel wandering around.
The trade show aspect is significant and you will see stadium equipment, concession information, promotional products, clothing (I’ll Take a Pablo Sandoval game jersey – size XXXX), uniforms and equipment. All this is just like any other trade show.
For the novice who wishes to jump into baseball employment, this is a connection paradise. Broadcasters are there, management is there, the minors are there, the Indy’s are there – so if you have aspirations and can think small you may get a break. Examine how many GM’s started out. Or broadcasters. Or writers.
The meetings are not just about swapping monstrous contracts or offering equally monstrous ones, but about the real grind of operating a business and baseball is a business.