Mao Zedong was a huge proponent of both consumerism and baseball, so it only makes sense that one passes his picture en route to this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings Trade Show:
It’s a lot to take in, this Trade Show, and at first I was intimidated.
But there’s nothing you can do but dive right in.
My first stop of the day was Booth 1711, occupied by Lynn University Sports Management students. Each season professor Ted Curtis organizes a trip to the Meetings, so that students may look for jobs whilst learning from industry leaders (and, since I was also asked to speak, the occasional idiotic industry anomaly).
After that meeting, I simply tried to make sense of the spectacle that was laid out before me.
That inflatable gator seen above is no anomaly. As always at the Trade Show, there were plenty of of characters lurking about.
The folks over at Rasta Imposta fulfilled a life-long dream of mine — being able to dress up as a beer-chugging Wiffle ball bat.
Later, I played a more subtle game of dress-up. Pretending that I was a Major League catcher, ensuring that I didn’t get my signs crossed up by applying Game Signs to my fingers. No more nail polish for me!
I then got thrown for a curve, upon noticing that Coyote Promotions was using my MiLB.com story as a means to advertise the supremacy of their bobbling product.
The other Coyote bobbles had no choice but to look on jealously at the exalted Mr. Braden.
I’ll have more from the Trade Show — and the Winter Meetings in general — throughout the week (and who know? Maybe even into next). But I’ll close this current dispatch in the interest of sociability. It’s the Winter Meetings, and there are always more people to talk to.
This picture, of myself and Altoona Curve general manage Rob Egan, is indicative of how I spend 40% of my day.
The annual Baseball Trade Show is one of the highlights of the Winter Meetings, featuring a sprawling cavalcade of vendors selling a veritable cornucopia of baseball related goods. The show is accessible via this entrance, leading to an escalator that brings one into the depths of National Pastime consumerism.
And once one gets down there, there is a LOT to take in. My guess is that the Trade Show encompasses 3.2 billion square feet.
And once you start wandering, it’s easy to get disoriented. The images just fly by in an kaleidoscopic whir (these next two shots courtesy of MiLB.com photo prodigy D. Wild).
And check out these “Player’s Packs”, shaped like ball caps and available in backpack or cooler form:
Stormy, one of the new mascots of the Omaha Storm Chasers, was on hand.
No one complimented me on my earlier reference to Stormy being “anemometer-ically correct”, but yet I still find the inner strength and self-confidence to pose in front of giant jerseys.
The above was a non sequitur in a post filled with them, the perhaps inevitable result of writing after an extremely long day of huffing and puffing through the vast confines of the Orlando Swan and Dolphin Resort (it doesn’t help that this internet connection is slower than Kevin Slowey pitching in a slow-pitch softball league in Penn-slow-vania).
So let me make it clear that I have much more content to share in the near future, including a variety of Flip Cam interviews that I am (tentatively) quite pleased with. One of my interview subjects is none other than Ted Batchelor, the stuntman who ran around the bases on fire in Savannah last summer. He and his wife Debby were manning a booth at the trade show, attempting to convince teams to add him to their 2011 promo calendars (in conjunction with his goal of being lit on fire in all 50 states).
My suggestion to all teams is to wholeheartedly embrace this imminently worthwhile and distinctly American endeavor.