Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Meetings, 2009

With December comes the Winter Meetings -- baseball's annual executive get-together, packed with seminars, roundtable discussions, a trade show, awards, banquets, luncheons, and dinners. The 2009 edition has teams from around the country on a pilgrimage to Indianapolis, IN, where they apparently have a football team or something. (You literally can't go more than half a block without seeing a picture of a colt, a horseshoe, Peyton Manning, or Peyton Manning riding a colt while playing horseshoes. Sidenote: I've made it my personal goal to ask at least 10 Indianapolites if they can help me figure out Eli's brother's name. "Not Cooper. The other one." I might not make it home.)

Steve, Mahoney, Gary, and I made the trek this year, and got off to a bit of a rough start on Sunday (this is my bed, this is my air conditioner, and
this is my roommate). After arriving at the airport and spending 20 minutes watching our cab driver unsuccessfully but repeatedly slam the trunk on our luggage (he just needed an Allen wrench and some WD-40, according to Steve), the Meetings got underway on Monday morning with a few seminars, followed by the Opening Session (or a tour of the chicken samplers from the guys in the local mall food court, for those of us that opted out).

Next up was an awards luncheon, recognizing various honorees from various leagues (or "Dine & Dash," for the St. Lucie crew). Steve loved the cake.

Then, we headed to the Roundtable Discussions portion of the day. Lots of idea sharing in categories like "Sales & Marketing," "Fan Experience," "Ballpark Operations," etc. I attended mainly discussions that were themed around new media, social networking, tweeting, and things of that nature. It turns out this whole "Internet" thing is probably going to stick. As you know, since you're reading this, the Cyclones are at the front of the curve thanks to our
website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter page. It's interesting to see what other teams are doing and what some new trends are. I also got to see Ben Hill, who, along with Mark Titus and Joyce Huang, round out my top three favorite bloggers. (Incidentally, an impostor from a team in Lexington, KY claimed during his shpiel that they had the most popular blog in the minors. The little counter doohickey on the right says different. I demand that his false statement is stricken from the record.)

I should mention that our hotel location required us to use the indoor skywalk, which gives us the feeling of being inside a bio-dome, and is approximately seven miles long (at least it feels that way). We walk back and forth about a four dozen times a day, and ride the escalator about a million times. Since many of those times, it was just me and Kevin, and since we were dressed up, and dressed in similar attire, I referenced Rain Man every time we rode every escalator. In all of my references, I was Charlie, and Kevin was not happy.

On Monday night, the Mets hosted a cocktail hour for all of their affiliates, and in a stunning upset, Steve was named the Paul Taglieri Sterling Minor League Executive of the Year! Steve did his best Johnny Drama, thanked Kevin for doing all the "nitty gritty" stuff, and then was congratulated in the unique way males do such things...he was relentlessly made fun of for the remainder of the night.

Updates on the Trade Show, the NYPL meeting, and more tomorrow!

-- Dave

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