Live from Indianapolis – The Winter Meetings explained!
by Mike Salk
Greetings from Indianapolis where we are getting ready for the start of the Winter Meetings on Monday!
This is the fourth year I have covered this event but the first time I have been able to broadcast directly on site. I think it’s going to be pretty cool and I want to give you a preview of what you can expect this week.
First of all, a common question I get is “what are the Winter Meetings?”
Essentially, it is a misnomer. Yes, there are some big meetings held (including the annual baseball writers’ meeting where they decide who they should exclude from their association!), but it’s not like everyone in baseball gathers around a boardroom table for four days with a printed agenda. Really it’s just an opportunity for the entire baseball world to gather in one hotel for four days. And those four days just happen to coincide with the start of free agency, so it’s a great spot for GM’s to connect with their peers (to talk trades) and to meet with agents about their clients. Usually, a handful of trades are made, dozens more are set up, and a portion of the free agents find new homes.
Most of the GM’s have war rooms set up in hotel suites. They bring their top lieutenants (assistant GM’s, head scouts, player development directors etc.). During the day, the GM’s tend to stick in their war rooms, taking meetings etc.
Meanwhile, the media gathers in their own giant conference room. Each team has a delegation ranging from one or two, to 10-20 (in the case of the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox). Plus, all of the big national writers are there too – Gammons, Olney, Rosenthal, Stark, Heyman etc. But the media also gathers in whatever lobby is deemed the “place to be.” It could be the check-in area of the hotel, or the base of the elevator bank or wherever the collective group decides. The lobby becomes the place to exchange rumors, spot agents or other sources as they pass by, and generally gather information.
I am really interested in how Twitter will change the role of he media this year, just as blogs changed it a few seasons ago. I expect Twitter to become an enormous factor, and I would recommend following all of your favorite Mariner and national baseball reporters. Click the Twitter link at the top right of this page to follow me @brockandsalk. Obviously @shannondrayer would be a good idea too! Twitter should be the quickest and easiest way to get info out as soon as it is gathered.
The other major piece of the Winter Meetings is the minor league job fair. People from around the country come to the meetings every year with the hopes of working in minor league baseball. They apply for jobs in management, media relations, and play-by-play announcing. Some leave with a foot in the door (albeit in places like Ogden, UT or Pulaski, VA), others leave very disappointed.
So, those are the characters who have descended upon Indianapolis this week. Baseball front offices, scouts, agents, the media, and 20-somethings looking to break in. I’ll try to give you a taste of what each group is up to over the course of the week. If you have any specific questions about the meetings themselves, please leave a comment below or email [email protected]. I’ll try to answer as much as I can!
Now, the Mariners may be the most intriguing team in Indy this week. They have lots of needs (1B, LF, DH, SP), money to play with (maybe $35 million or so), and some trade chips (Jose Lopez, Brandon Morrow, Ryan Rowland-Smith) that might interest other teams.
They’ve already inked a deal with Chone Figgins, but we’ll potentially be discussing John Lackey, Nick Johnson, Jason Bay, Orlando Hudson, Rich Harden and others this week. Who’s on your wish list?
Keep checking this site throughout the week as I’ll try to update a few times a day, or as news breaks. And of course, listen to the Brock and Salk Show, as I think we may be the only local radio show that traveled to Indy to broadcast this week. Should mean lots of great guests!!!