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Inside the 2011 Baseball Winter Meetings in Dallas PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 28 November 2011 00:00

2011 Baseball Winter Meetings

Baseball Career Conference in Dallas


Sports Management Worldwide, in conjunction with Lynn University & Baseball America are holding a Baseball Career Conference Dec. 4-5 at the Dallas Hilton Garden Inn during the winter meetings.

 

I, along with others, will be speaking on matters related to the CBA that should be completed by then.

The complete list of those scheduled to speak include

  • John Mozeliak - GM, World Series Champion, St. Louis Cardinals
  • Harold Reynolds - MLB Network Studio Analyst
  • Don Wilke - Texas Rangers Senior Special Assistant
    to the GM & Scouting
  • Toney Howell, LA Dodgers, Jr. Special Assistant to the General Manager
  • Larry D'Amato, former scout for Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, NY Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Cincinnati Reds
  • Jay Miller, Texas Rangers Senior Vice President .
  • Maury Brown, Biz of Baseball, Forbes SportsMoney & SMWW Faculty
  • Craig Calcaterra - NBCSports.com
  • Tony Ciccolella, MLBPA Agent
  • Jeff Gray - Seattle Mariners Pitcher
  • 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 Group Event Manager & 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 many, many, more!

COST

$160 before 11/15/2011

$220 after 11/16/2010

To Register, click here

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

UPDATED: Added John Mozeliak and Craig Calcaterra as speakers. Added details on Lynn University. This article originally ran on Nov. 6

 


It seems like yesterday that the Cardinals won the World Series, but since then – and truth be known a lot earlier than that – clubs and Major League Baseball have been getting ready for the 2012 season.

 

One of the biggest events each year is the Baseball Winter Meetings this year held in Dallas, TX and running from Dec 5-8. But, for many what the meetings are about is elusive. To most, it evokes visions of GMs and agents sequestered in rooms where trades and free agent signings take place. It’s that, and far, far more.

Can Anyone Go?

If you’re asking whether you, as part of the general public, is recognized by MLB, MiLB, or any of the clubs associated with them, the answer is, no. The Baseball Winter Meetings are, in effect, an industry get together. To attend in an official capacity, you need to be part of the aforementioned organizations, be part of credentialed media, be a vendor at the Trade Show (more on that in a bit), or have signed up for the PBEO Job Fair or be an approved Non-Member. Any company that is in the business of selling a product or service to any Minor League or Major League Baseball club or league can only attend the Baseball Winter Meetings as a Baseball Trade Show Exhibitor.

But, the main hotel (this year at the Hilton Anatole), does see the general public using available hotel rooms (the event does not “take over” the hotel), and the lobby, bars, and restaurants become massive networking vehicles for those looking to get into the business of baseball, catch up with colleagues, and for those in the media, a hub with which to chase stories. So, often times, the meetings become a perfect location to build relationships. If you go, no one in the lobby is going to ask for your credentials. Trying to go to where the key events are, does require that you do have proper credentials to get in.

The Job Fair

Each year, hundreds attend the PBEO Job Fair in the hopes of getting a job in baseball. It’s not cheap (if you’re a member of PBEO, it’s $150. For non-members, it’s $200). The Job Fair runs this year from Dec 4-7 (9am-5pm each day). Most of these are wide-eyed college students with ideas of getting a job in MLB. The truth is, most of the jobs (at least in recent years) have been with Minor League clubs. There’s nothing wrong with that (in fact, as one that works to inform those looking to get a job in MLB, I encourage a job in the minors), but set your expectations if you plan on going. Bring your suit, a stack of resumes, and prepare to be overwhelmed. The system works as follows: Jobs are posted, you place a request to be interviewed, and from there you’re contacted to schedule one.  The interview process is what I call “speed interviewing”. In that, you’re at a table out in the open with others, and given the volume of interviews to be conducted, they last a short period of time (mostly around 15-30 minutes). To see how the room for the Job Fair is laid out, see here (PDF)

Managers, Press Conferences, and the Media Room

The Winter Meetings sees a veritable who’s-who  of baseball personalities. Players are few and far between, but managers, front office execs, members of the Hall of Fame, MLB Network, etc…. etc. will be in attendance.

Over the course of the week, each manager will take time to meet the media. The general public won’t be able to attend these press conferences as they are held in the media work room, a massive conference room that will house hundreds of media members. Security is at the door to this room checking to make sure that everyone who enters has proper media credentials. In the halls around the media room, the major networks – both television and radio – place themselves to give regular updates. MLB Network has camped next to the media room (Indianapolis) and in the lobby of the hotel (Orlando). The latter made great visuals as hundreds of people filtered back and forth through the events and allowed those that come to network or just gawk to stand aside and watch the league-owned network do their thing.

The Trade Show

The 2011 Baseball Trade Show will feature approximately 300 top companies displaying a variety of products and services over a three-day period. Exhibiting companies include manufacturers and distributors of apparel, caps, gift items, souvenirs and promotional products; service companies including entertainment, marketing, web/mobile technologies, insurance, architecture, concessions, and printing; stadium equipment, concessions, on-field suppliers, player equipment and more. If you’re thinking that you can pop in to see what the likes of Daktronics, Populous, Rawlings, or New Era has on display, think again. The Trade Show is mostly for the 160+ minor league affiliates to meet vendors and price out wares. As part of the Trade Show, the first Monday is a special event night with food and drinks.

If You Want to Go Officially, How Much Does it Cost?

Want to take it all in as an officially recognized member of MLB or MiLB? Well, if you’re not a member of the media, it costs. First off, you have to be approved as a “Non-Member”. Pass that muster, here’s some prices to consider:

  • MiLB or MLB Club or League - $275.00 (add $150 after Oct 21, or $425.00 on-site)
  • Approved Non-Members - $475.00 (on-site is $625.00)

But, there’s more

  • If you want to attend the Bob Freitas Business Seminar - $300.00
  • The PBEO Job Fair - $150.00 for members (non-members, $200.00)

Additional Tickets:

Individual tickets are available for purchase by any fully-registered person. However, only attendees with a full registration are eligible to receive a Baseball Winter Meetings Gift Bag.

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

So, if you were a “non-member” and decided to show up in Dallas without pre-registering take everything in, and take your spouse or significant other to the party festivities (and remember, this doesn’t include hotel accommodations), you’re looking at $1,650.00

What Else Is Going On? Career Conference, Colleges Give Students First-Hand Look

As the sidebar shows, myself and many other will be taking part in a Baseball Career Conference hosted by Sports Management Worldwide. The event is not affiliated with the Baseball Winter Meetings, but does offer a chance to hear some fantastic speakers.

On top of that, many colleges bring students to the meetings as part of a hands-on "field trip". NYU will see students there, and Florida liberal arts institution. Lynn University will have a big showing.

“Our students take what they learn in class about the baseball business and now come here and become a big part of it all,” says Lynn sports management professor Ted Curtis, who arranges the meetings. “For Lynn students, learning doesn’t end in the classroom – it begins there.”

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 some in the past. For the Dallas event, everybody is in the main hotel. In years past the Trade Show has been at a seperate location. Still, you'll walk miles by the end of the event. 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.

I Can’t Make It This Year, Where Are the Winter Meetings in the Future?

For those wondering where the next set of Winter Meetings will be held, it will be at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN, December 3-6, 2012 and then back to where the 2010 Winter Meetings were held, the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL December 9-12, 2013.

NOTE: The Biz of Baseball will be reporting extensively from Sunday the 4th to Tues. the 6th from the Baseball Winter Meetings. Note: Maury Brown and Craig Calceterra will be part of the "CBA Panel"


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, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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