It's Sunday afternoon, and much of the baseball industry has descended upon Las Vegas for the annual Winter Meetings. I'm actually still home, as the idea of flying INTO Vegas on a Sunday night just seemed unnatural.
I attended my first Winter Meetings in 1995 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. At that time the Major League Clubs didn't attend the meetings, so it was really just for the minor league organizations, and I was there for the annual job fair. You see, I was an unpaid intern for the Baltimore Stallions in the Canadian Football League, and the team was moving to Montreal. So, my fellow interns (six of us, if I remember correctly) and I flew out to LA and occupied exactly one hotel room in the neary Holiday Inn in the hopes of landing a job in baseball.
I'll never forget those meetings or the people who were kind enough to spend time with me there, like Pat Filippone, Andy Berg, Bill Ianniciello (the only Major League person willing to talk to me), Hank Stickney, and others. It was a wild few days.
In the winter of 1998 the big league Clubs rejoined the fray, and those meetings marked my first official days with the Oakland A's. Since that time the meetings have been equally as wild for me, but in a very different way. Now I spend virtually all of my time holed up in a room helping to evaluate all sorts of options and ideas. It's an intense time and probably the most unhealthy stretch of the year - no fresh air, very little sleep, lots of room service, and an emotional rollercoaster. It's the best.
I'm going first thing in the morning.