Greetings From the Meetings, Day One

Greetings from Orlando, FL, home of the 109th Annual Baseball Winter Meetings!


And helloooooo industry!


To the extent that the Winter Meetings exist in the popular imagination, they are viewed as a simmering cauldron of Major League hot stove activity. And while the lobby of the Disney Swan resort is admittedly teeming with agents, scouts, managers, and big-name sports media personalities, the bulk of the attendees are associated with good ol’ Minor League Baseball.

But the assembled media cares not about such individuals. And why should they? Minor League business news doesn’t sell. Right guys?


They all just said “right” in unison, before rudely telling me to hastily return to my not-at-all nearby room at the Coronado (“Welcome, Winter Meetings Detritus” reads the sign in the lobby).

But who needs them? I’ve got you, whoever you may be. And what I’d like to tell you about is my time in Orlando thus far.

Upon arriving on Sunday evening, I was whisked away in a Party Bus and driven to Disney property. Anyone have any idea who these people were and how this happened?


But all that’s in the past now. My day started bright and early at the Bob Freitas Business Seminar, designed to “bring together the best minds in the industry…and making their thoughts available to the industry as a whole.”

Last year I was able to present at the Seminar. But my mind isn’t the best these days, so this year I simply existed as audience member. Then, I wrote about it.


One of the highlights of the morning was courtesy of Jim Jarecki and Steve McCarthy of the West Michigan Whitecaps. They gave an informative and highly detailed presentation on specialty theme jerseys which I found to be very interesting (the team does 10 each year, five for a cause and five for fun).

Here’s McCarthy and Jarecki in action, modeling their wares (Led Zeppelin and ’70s Night, respectively).


Some much better shots of the Seminar, courtesy of’s photography wunderkind Danny Wild.


This is Brooklyn Cyclones general manager Steve Cohen, detailing “Promotions That Pop.”

And here’s Brad Dudash of the Clearwater Threshers, speaking on “Choosing the Right Food and Beverage Promotions and Making Them Work For You.”


In between the morning and afternoon portions of the Seminar was the Opening Session, featuring league by league executive of the year awards and speeches by Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner, vice president/COO Tim Purpura, and vice president Stan Brand. More on this can be found in my article on, which will go live any minute now. Go check it out, as some interesting stuff was said.

But save for the feverish typing (and even more feverish cursing of the internet connection) of the assembled media hordes, Day One has largely come to a close. We’ve now arrived at the portion of the evening in which attendees enjoy expense account steak dinners at Shula’s and then adjourn to the hotel lobby for alcohol-fueled conversation within the clamorous din of the Swan Lobby.



Check back in Tuesday afternoon for more, as I’ll have lots of info from the Trade Show and beyond. In the meantime, I’ll be hanging out in the Coronado, listening to THIS.


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