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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 20 November 2009 01:43

Baseball Winter Meetings

Baseball Career Conference in Indianapolis

UPDATE: Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, as well as ESPN Senior writer Jerry Crasnick have been added as speakers.


Sports Management Worldwide, in conjunction with Lynn University & Baseball America are holding a Baseball Career Conference Dec. 6-7 at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis during the winter meetings.

I, along with Ben Hill of MiLB.com, and Baseball America Editor in Chief, John Manual will take part in one of several panels throughout Monday the 7th (4:15pm – Media and Journalism).

Others scheduled to speak include Jeff Idelson, President of National Baseball Hall of Fame; Will Carroll, Baseball Prospectus; Manny Colon, Florida Marlins, Manager, Player Development & International Operations; Jay Miller, Round Rock Express President; Bruce Baldwin, Gwinett Braves former GM, and many more (see “More details”).

COST ($150 regular price; $100 before November 20th; SMWW students only $75)

To Register, click here

More details, with information on speakers being added leading up to the event.

If you plan on attending, please contact me, so we may have chance to meet.

Maury Brown
President
Business of Sports Network
Bizball LLC
The Biz of Baseball

If you follow baseball closely, chances are, you’ve heard of the baseball winter meetings. But, if you’ve never attended, you might be asking, “What’s it all about, and should I go?” The latter first: If you have the means, and you want to make baseball part of your profession, or it is already part of your world, then do yourself a favor, and go. As the business of baseball goes, it’s an annual investment worth doing.

This year, the meetings will be in Indianapolis at the Indiana Convention Center from Monday, Dec. 7th to Thurs. the 10th. Here’s a breakdown of the event.

Can Anyone Attend?

The answer is yes, and no. That means, you could simply show up in Indianapolis, and hang out in the hallways of the major hotels where GMs, agents, baseball luminaries, and media converge in-between the organized activities. Call it being a baseball groupie – what have you – networking at the winter meetings is a rite of passage and in many ways, the best part of the event. For many in the media, it’s the one opportunity each year to see others that cover baseball face-to-face.

Beyond that, you need to fall into these six categories:

  • An approved member of a Minor League Baseball organization;
  • An approved member of a Major League Baseball organization;
  • An approved non-member;
  • Credentialed members of the media;
  • A Baseball Trade Show Exhibitor, or;
  • A Job Fair attendee

What’s Going On?

The biggest attention around meetings centers on trades and signings by the MLB general managers, but there is also a lot of MLB related activity by supporting elements of MLB. A good example would be MLB Network, which had a heavy presence at last year’s winter meetings in Las Vegas. There was also a report released to the media on the on-going look into whether maple bats are any more prone to breaking and being a hazard than ash bats, and a steady stream of notifications by the clubs, not only on player transactions, but the business side.

For MLB and MiLB, league meetings for clubs and executives occur non-stop behind closed doors.

Organizations that are affiliated with MLB and MiLB also hold major meetings at the event. The BBWAA holds its meetings to determine which applicants may or may not gain inclusion into the Association. This year, the voting members of the veterans committee for the Hall of Fame will be holding meetings and casting ballots for managers, umpires, pioneers, and executives.

These events activities are covered extensively by the media that has a space dedicated to them for reporting. MLB.com and MLB Network will most assuredly be reporting from the winter meetings. As mentioned, you can cruise the halls and get this info firsthand while networking. But, what about the organized events surrounding the industry?

Select Read More to see what the organized events are, details on costs, whether it's worth attending, and suggestions for that do plan to go, but have never been

So, What Other Organized Activities Are There?

  • Baseball Trade Show

If you’re someone that already works in MLB or MiLB, a place where the likes of Rawlings, or New Era, stadium developers such as Populous (formerly HOK Sport), HKS Architecture, and 360 Architecture and a large number of other businesses converge is at the massive Baseball Trade Show. Here, the industry takes in what’s new, what’s hot, and tries to get those looking to upgrade to commit to making purchases. All in all upwards of 300 companies exhibit each year at the Baseball Trade Show (Click Here for a current list of the 2009 Exhibitors - PDF).  When you consider that more than 200 Major League and Minor League Baseball clubs, leagues and organizations attend the Baseball Trade Show during their annual meetings, it’s designed as a method to help spur business.

The show runs from Monday to Wednesday. Monday night is the ‘Opening Night’, a reception on the trade show floor where you’ll share cocktails, and food. Once again, it’s a great networking platform, especially for those attending the…

  • PBEO Job Fair

If you’re one that really has their heart set on working in baseball, this is really the key place each year that it happens. While there are some MLB jobs that get posted, it is mostly Minor League openings, which, as a word of advice, is where many that are looking to break in should get their start.

PEBO (Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities) has been holding the Job Fair for going on 16 years. Each and every year, 400-500 job seekers descend on the Job Fair hoping to live the dream of working in baseball.  If you want to go, you better register fast. For added details, see here.

There are a couple of other events to consider:

  • Bob Freitas Business Seminar
  • Awards Luncheon
  • Gala
  • Banquet

Here’s extra details on those extra value events that are at the winter meetings.

All of this costs, and here’s how much…

What’s it Cost?

The winter meetings are not cheap. Remember, the costs below do not cover travel and lodging and, remember, you have to fall into one of the catagories of who is allowed to attend. The prices below cover the Trade Show and Job Fair. Other events (listed below) are extra.

This year, the costs breakdown as follows:

  • MLB Clubs and Leagues - Advance Purchase - $275.00
  • MLB Clubs and Leagues - On-Site Purchase - $425.00
  • Approved Non-Members - Advance Purchase - $475.00
  • Approved Non-Members - On-Site Purchase - $625.00

And, that’s for the general activities. Additional events come with additional costs:

  • Awards Luncheon - $75.00
  • Gala - $125.00
  • Banquet - $125.00
  • Name Badge - $200.00

Got kids and considering taking them along for the ride? If they’re young (4 and under), they’re welcome for free. If they are 5 and up, consider them adults; the cost is the same as the grown-ups.

Yes, it’s not cheap. You do, however, get a cool gift bag along with the ability to take it in and advance your career. So…

Is It Worth It?

Those that wish to report on all manner of baseball in the off-season, the winter meetings are flat out, mandatory. There is nowhere else where so many important figures in MLB and MiLB are in one place. It can be chaotic. As Ken Rosenthal said, “I don't know that any reporter ‘enjoys’ the winter meetings; they're pretty intense!” In the media room, press conferences can run one right on top of the other for hours. Impromptu gatherings with the media are happening all the time, such as was the case with Nolan Ryan last year in Vegas.

For those looking to advance their career, the Job Fair is the one place to really get a feel for where there are openings. Bring a resume, and you never know what could happen.

Going? Here’s Some Suggestions

Plan your day – There is so much going on with the winter meetings that planning out each day with some buffer time is a must. Pace yourself. There’s so much going on that burnout by Day 2 is possible. Got a smartphone? Use the calendar.

Bring Business Cards, Resumes, etc. – Simple thing. Makes sense. You’re there to do business. Be prepared for it.

Prepare to Walk – This year will be better than last. For the Indy event, everybody is in the Indianapolis Convention Center… sort of. The GMs make deals in their hotel rooms, so if you plan on chasing a story, or hooking up with others interested in a story, you’re going to be zipping back and forth between locations. Be Peter Gammons for a couple of days and wear tennis shoes with dress casual. Or, take advantage of your tub in your room at night and soak your puppies. They’re going to get used.

Carry a Snack – You’re going to be wanting to save your money for dinners, and socializing at the watering holes at night when networking can be at its best. During the day, you never know how near or far you’ll be from food, so a snack helps you keep pace.

You Don’t Drink? Go to the Bars Anyway – Networking is at its best when you can sit down with someone. Meals are good, but at night, the hotel bars are where it’s at. Even if you don’t drink, make a point to hang out in the best bars.

Enjoy Yourself – Take it all in. Meet some people, and grow your resume.

NOTE: The Biz of Baseball will be reporting extensively from Sunday the 6th to Weds. the 9th from the Baseball Winter Meetings.


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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