On Tuesday, we had our New York-Penn League meeting, which is sometimes filled with unique and interesting tidbits from around the league. This was not one of those times. After a scintillating start to the meeting ("Do I have a motion to adopt the minutes?" "So moved." "Is the motion seconded?" "Second."), each club gave a brief update/recap of the 2009 season (apparently, it rained last summer...I hadn't noticed), followed by a look ahead to 2010 ("we're looking forward to the 2010 season").
We were then briefly addressed by the president of Minor League Baseball, Pat O'Conner, which provided an oasis of interestingness, but then we got back to things like umpires uniforms and schedules. (Sidenote: we were informed that umps will be using "hand-held lightning detectors" this year, which were described as "inexpensive." I spent the next 10 minutes imagining an umpire standing on the mound, holding a fork in the air, waiting to see if a lightning bolt would hit it.)
Next up was a recap of the league's finances, contributions, etc. The charts on the projection screen were approximately this small (actual size), so I couldn't make out one single letter or number from my vantage point 50 feet away...but the overall message was that the league is in good shape (I think).
The NYPL as a whole drew over 1.75 million fans again last year, and has done so in every year since 2003. Pretty impressive for a Short-Season league. Granted, I haven't personally been a part of any other leagues, but I have to say that I think this one is filled with well-run teams and talented executives, from top to bottom. A really good group to be involved with.
Last but not least, the league awards were doled out, and the Cyclones received the Vincent J. McNamara Award as the league's outstanding club. But you already knew that.
After the meeting, we hit the Trade Show floor to check out some new promotional items, inflatable games, staff shirts, food, tarp covers, seat cushions...anything you can possibly experience at the ballpark is being hawked on the Trade Show floor. It's pretty cool, and traditionally my favorite part of the week. Some fun stuff in store that I'll leave up our collective sleeve until a later date.
On Wednesday, we had another NYPL meeting, during which Steve gave a presentation on the league's Charitable Foundation, and Kevin ran the nitty gritty of the Power Point presentation. (Pretty sure the "nitty" was his computer help, and the "gritty" was when he followed up the good will of the report by almost coming to blows with Oneonta GM Andy Webber...who was, admittedly, asking for trouble when he politely requested that an email of the presentation be sent to him. The gall of some people!)
We then discussed an exciting initiative the league will be taking this year to form an all-time team (more on that, too, at a later date), and then listened to a couple of pitches from vendors, before adjourning.
That afternoon, we gathered the crew from St. Lucie to form our traditional "pack," and headed to a popular Indianapolis restaurant called Harry & Izzy's for the inaugural "60/40 Dinner." It's partially owed by Peyton Manning (as is, I believe, every building, person, dog, cat, and horse in Indianapolis) and is renowned for its world-famous shrimp cocktail (which, incidentally, is slathered in a freshly-ground horseradish sauce that burned like wildfire through my nasal passage and singed my frontal lobe...and may have sent Gary to the hospital with an enlarged uvula). A good time was had by all.
Later that night, The Pack attended the MiLB Gala at Lucas Oil Stadium, home to -- you guessed it -- Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis
The tour also led us to the highest point of the stadium, where I was amazed to find a completely foreign concept to me...a press box from which you can actually see the field! Huh. Imagine that:
It's really a great-looking stadium, and the tour was a fun perk. (I also used it as an opportunity to ask the guide if everyone in Peytonapolis got excited when the Giants came to town, because they got to see the "good" Manning. You know, the last one to win the Super Bowl. Elijah. She gave me a death stare and ignored me for the rest of the tour.
All in all, a good Winter Meetings trip, although somewhere a little warmer in the heart of the winter might be a good idea. Maybe someplace where dreams come true and we can all get a bit goofy. Just an idea.