December 2012

What I’ve Learned at the Winter Meetings

Winter Meetings7The winter meetings are in Nashville this year and held at the Opryland Resort. This is my second winter meetings and to be honest, the allure and grandeur of this place is amazing. Through the maze of rivers, shopping areas, eateries and ball rooms are many executives, media members, and even job seekers packing the hallways. It is quite easy to get lost at Opryland and thus there are interactive maps all around.

As has been pointed out, the meetings are as much to socialize and network as they are to get things done. Yes, there are meetings and business happens, but most of all it is an opportunity to renew acquaintances and build new relationships with people in your industry. And yes, even fans can attend and walk around.

Now to what you care about. What have I learned this week?

Mariners News

  1. The Mariners are extremely active this week. But, don’t be disappointed if nothing gets done this week. The Mariners brand holds much more equity that it has in recent years. Good things and some bigger names (a bat) will make their way to the Emerald City.
  2. What has gone on in the minor leagues with Seattle is known widespread around baseball. A prominent baseball media member noticed my name badge had Jackson Generals on it and immediately began talking to me about the team we had in Jackson this season. He believed that the young talent might be used this week to acquire a bat.
  3. The Marines have hired a new video/scouting/stats person that will be working with the scouting department. It honestly reminded of the kid Jonah Hill played in Moneyball. Don’t exactly expect the off the wall things that Billy Beane did, but the concept of using statistics and video is huge. Andrew is a graduate of Vanderbilt and had worked some with the Milwaukee Brewers. He will be working hand-in-hand a lot with Tom McNamara.

Jackson Generals News

      1. Nine of the ten members of the updated Baseball America, Mariners top prospects list, played in Jackson during the 2012 season. You could feasibly see four of those returning to Jackson. Maybe five.
      2. Jackson’s coaching staff could be announced as early as today. I heard differentiating remarks concerning minor league staffs and that it could be Friday or even Monday. But, expect to know the minor league staffs very soon. I am expecting Jim Pankovits to return as Jackson manager and Cory Snyder to return as hitting coach. Also, I am expecting Lance Painter not to return and join the staff at High Desert or stay in Peoria to be closer to home.
      3. We learned today that the Generals website traffic this season ranked 3rd in the Southern League and 47th out of 158 minor league clubs. That is quite significant considering Jackson is one of the smallest markets in all of the minors. Thanks fans!

Tonight was the annual Mariners affiliates reception. This event brings together pretty much everyone that plays a big part of the organization with representatives from each minor league club. This was my second straight year to attend and it is something that is quite special. Hide Sueyoshi hosts the event with a monologue of bad jokes, but everyone has a great time. It was great to be able to talk about our season in Jackson with Eric Wedge, Tom McNamara and Jack Zduriencic. They shared a table with me for part of the night and something like that makes you truly appreciate what you do.

One of the most interesting pictures was the Mariners “war room”. I think many of use would enjoy being a fly on the wall in that room while Jack Z met with Scott Boras or Josh Hamilton, or name that free agent. Below is the room which many executives are seen. (Mariners Media)

Mariners War Room (Mariners Media)
Below, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, president Chuck Armstrong and manager Eric Wedge have a discussion during the Mariners reception.
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Mariners reception

Mariners reception

The most interesting media setup has to be from ESPN. Check out the ESPN set located in the river that runs through the Opryland resort below.

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The rest of these are shot taken from in and around the Opryland Hotel.

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And yes there is even a Best Buy vending machine. It indeed was real.

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So that is it for my first winter meetings blog. Will come back at the end of the week and update you on the final two days from Nashville. Feel free to contact me on twitter @CHarris731 with any questions you might have!

-CH-

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