After three days of diligent Winter Meetings coverage, I was ready for a party. A Gala, even.
And wouldn’t you know it? That’s just what I got. On Wednesday evening a vast legion of buses cued up outside the Jade Entrance of the Hilton Anatole hotel in order to transport all manner of Minor League personnel to the annual Winter Meetings Gala.
We arrived at the Gala under the cover of darkness, and it took me a while to figure out where we were. After entering through a narrow side entrance, I aimlessly wandered through this mysterious facility’s labyrinthian corridors until coming across a particularly well-lit area.
Overcoming considerable feelings of trepidation, I cautiously navigated the above pathway until it opened up into the following tableau.
Oh, so it was a baseball stadium we were at, was it? I guess I could have seen that one coming. But what stadium? The brobdingnagian dimensions seemed to indicate a Major League facility, but since I’d fallen asleep on the bus I had no idea how long we’d traveled to get here. The lack of a roof, retractable or otherwise, ruled out the likes of Houston, Seattle, Phoenix, Toronto, and Milwaukee, but all else was fair game.
Eager to get to the bottom of this conundrum, I went in search of context clues.
This outfield sign didn’t help matters. I’ve been to ballparks throughout this great land, and one of the few constants are billboards in which a desperate species targeted for mass slaughter tries to appease their carnivorous overlords by advocating for the mass slaughter of a different species.
But wait! This avian murder-promoting bovine is wearing a Texas Rangers cap! Could it be that I was at none other than Rangers ballpark? A search for more clues seemed to validate this assumption.
The solitary lasso-wielding young men on the concourse were certainly Lone Stars.
But what finally convinced me that I was in Arlington was coming across this cup, which commemorates the unforgettable ALCS match-up between the Rangers and their eternal rivals the Boston Red Sox.
The next question to flicker through my mind was just as pressing: Where is everyone? Save for solitary lasso-ers, the place was deserted. If a mechanical bull is in the stadium, but no one is there to ride it, then does it make a buck?
After much hypothermia-inducing wandering, I came across a cluster of industry executives staring toward the ground with intent focus.
There’s one thing, and one thing only, that could command that sort of rapt attention: Armadillo Racing!
Unfortunately that’s the best picture of the armadillos that I could muster, as my camera is morally adverse to any photographic attempt involving movement. But, yes, to reiterate: the 2011 Baseball Winter Meetings Gala featured Armadillo Racing as entertainment.
But in life, as in the dictionary, alcohol comes before armadillos. There were even more folks gathered at the upstairs Jose Cuervo Club.
With the location of my whereabouts finally ascertained and my heart therefore unencumbered, I went on a wandering spree.
But soon enough it came time to re-board the buses and head back to the Hilton Anatole. The following signs were up in the lobby, signifying an end to yet another industry confab.