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Inside the 2010 Baseball Winter Meetings PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 14:27

Baseball Winter Meetings

Baseball Career Conference in Orlando


Sports Management Worldwide, in conjunction with Lynn University & Baseball America are holding a Baseball Career Conference Dec. 5-6 at the he Walt Disney World Resort BoardWalk Inn during the winter meetings.

I, along with Hall of Fame writer Tracy Ringolsby, and Director of Public Relations for the Oakland A's Bob Rose will take part in one of several panels throughout Monday the 6th (1pm – Public Relations and Media).

The complete list of those scheduled to speak include

  • Stan Kasten, Washington Nationals Baseball Club
  • Murray Cook, former GM of the New York Yankees, Montreal Expos, and Cincinnati Reds and currently the Detroit Tigers East Coast Scouting Supervisor
  • Jim Duquette, Former GM of the Baltimore Orioles and NY Mets. Currently with MLB Network Radio on Sirius/XM
  • Gary Hughes, Chicago Cubs, Special Asst. to the GM
  • David Chadd, Detroit Tigers Director of Scouting
  • Larry D'Amato, former scout for Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, NY Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Cincinnati Reds
  • Bob Rose, Oakland A’s Director of Public Relations
  • Jay Miller, Texas Rangers Senior Vice President
  • Jerry Crasnick, ESPN Baseball and Baseball America
  • Chaim Bloom – Tampa Bay Rays Assistant Director of Minor League Operations
  • Tom Leip, Sports Business Professional and former Northern League Executive Director and 20 year minor league executive.
  • Maury Brown, Biz of Baseball & SMWW Faculty
  • Tony Ciccolella, MLBPA Agent
  • Tracy Ringolsby – Baseball America and FoxSports.com. 2005 Spink Award winner (the highest award given by the Baseball Writers Assoc of America)
  • Dr. Lynn Lashbrook, SMWW President
  • Ryan Latham, Tacoma Rainiers Event Coordinator & SMWW Alumni
  • Taylore Scott, Texas Rangers Asst Dir of Customer Service & Seasonal Employment Coordinator and SMWW Alumni
  • Mark Smith, Oakland A's Minor League Video Coordinator & SMWW Alumni
  • Ron Knight, Atlanta Braves Baseball Operations Intern
  • Oscar Suarez, MLB Agent
  • John Mellor, WorkinSports President & CEO
  • and many more are being added daily

COST

$150 before 11/15/2010

$200 after 11/16/2010

To Register, click here

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

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 held in sunny Florida near Orlando at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort from Monday, Dec. 6th to Thurs. the 9th. Here’s a breakdown of the event.

Can Anyone Attend?

The answer is yes, and no. You can "attend" by hanging out in the lobby of MLB's headquarter hotel -- and more than a few do -- but the event is technically not open to the public.

To access the event officially 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 the 2008 winter meetings in Las Vegas. On the business side at last year's meetings in Indianapolis, Peter Gammons was one of the key stories with him leaving ESPN and heading over to MLB Network, MLB.com and NESN.

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 for the newly created "Expansion Era" members which includes Marvin Miller, George Steinbrenner, and Billy Martin, to name 3 (for more see Will Steinbrenner Beat Out Miller for HOF on FanGraphs)

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?

So, What Other Organized Activities Are There?

  • Baseball Trade Show

Being held at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Atlantic / Pacific Hall — Dolphin Hotel (December 6-8, 2010), if you’re someone that already works in MLB or MiLB, a place where the likes of Rawlings, Daktronics, or New Era,  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 (see the listing - 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.

There are a couple of other events to consider:

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

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

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

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.

ON-SITE

  • NAPBL / MLB Clubs or League  $452.63 ($425.00 + 6.5% sales tax)
  • Approved Non-Members **$665.63 ($625.00 + 6.5% sales tax)

*You must be approved by the Minor League Baseball Office to attend the Baseball Winter Meetings as a Non-Member.

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 4 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 at the 2008 meetings in Las 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 5th to Weds. the 8th from the Baseball Winter Meetings.


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, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. 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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