Sunday, December 7, 2008

What Happens in Vegas...

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.


Wazzel Sport's Humor said...

I hope for your sake now that you are in "the biz" that you no longer have to share a room with 5 other people.

I've heard clubs send a huge amount of people to these meetings (relative to the GM meetings) so I can only imagine how hectic things must be. Good luck and hopefully by the time you return there will be a move made that you can comment on

Aaron B said...

I'm not sure how the weather is in Southern California (I'm stuck in Texas for another two weeks) but wouldn't it make more sense for the teams down there (Dodgers, Angels, Padres) to drive to Vegas? I guess if you all have charters and such, it wouldn't, but I don't think I've ever had an easy time in that airport.

Sakei said...

Hey Paul,
Any plans to check out a show or putting that sabrmetric knowhow to good use on the slots while you're at it?

Leo Izmir said...

Hey Paul
Do you and the others hit the tables at all during your time, or are the meetings enough of a gambling rush? :-p

Jason @ IIATMS said...


Are the hotels littered with young guys in oxfords and Dockers looking to land a spot with a club, autograph seekers hounding people and various hangers-on and groupies on patrol?

Also, can we get an update on Peavy? Given the Greene transaction, will that free up enough wiggle room to keep him?

Thanks so much,

Unknown said...

first of all: Drive safely.

As I am studying for an Organic Chemistry exam, does the front office factor in if a player will have good chemistry with the existing roster?

Amy Cima said...

It looks like Peavy is as good as gone. Is there any reason to believe this is a baseball move rather than a salary dumping move.

Thanks for your responses.

GTH said...


I hope your enjoying your time in Vegas and the meetings are going well. I'm writing tonight to seek a little advice. I have often thought of heading to the MLB Winter Meetings seeking job opportunities however the timing has never worked out as the winter meetings come during my finals.

I will be graduating from law school here in San Diego this upcoming May. Would you say that the Winter Meetings are one of the better places for someone looking for a job in MLB to begin?

Anybody within the Padres organization you would recommend I send my info to?

I appreciate your time and your willingness to blog about the inner workings of a MLB team. Keep up the good work!

John said...

Hey Paul, reading about your first attempts to really get into baseball reminded me what a dream it would be working for a major league team in a management position, like yours. So let's say I'm a recent college graduate, I love baseball, and I would love to work for the Padres. How do you recommend I get my foot in the door to start my career path? Finding an upper level manager that maybe needs an assistant (wink wink)?

Paul DePodesta said...

Amy Cima,

With our previous moves we have created enough flexibility such that trading Jake would only be a baseball decision.

That's good news for all of us.

Sakei said...

If that were really true, you wouldn't still be trading to trade away Peavy now would you?

Paul DePodesta said...


If it weren't true we probably wouldn't have walked away from Atlanta or demanded what we did from Chicago.

Chris Stoner said...

Hello Mr. DePodesta,

First, I loved that Baltimore Stallions team... Mike Pringle was a beast... I've always thought Don Matthews deserved an opportunity at the NFL level.

Second, I attended the 2000 Winter Meetings in Dallas, and can identify with your experiences.

Lastly, just as you appreciated those who made time for you at the 1998 Meetings, I greatly appreciated the time you made for me in responding to several emails of mine, when I worked for the Orioles.

You can find my blog at:

Chris Stoner