LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The MLB Winter Meetings are exactly as advertised.
It was my first trip to what is essentially baseball's biggest trade show and the four days in Orlando went by like a blur even though there were very few moves actually made.
The two Chicago teams combined for just three moves — and all of them from the Cubs' perspective (one of which — Drew Smyly — may not even pitch in 2018).
Throughout the week at Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, I rounded up some of the most amusing behind-the-scenes observations with help from the NBC Sports Chicago crew (Chuck Garfien, Kelly Crull, Scott Changnon, Vinnie Duber):
—A Red Sox fan intercepting David Ross in the hotel lobby and telling him over and over again, "I'm a SAWX fan, I'm a SAWX fan; I love you, bro," in one of the thickest Boston accents I've ever heard.
—A kid wearing a bright pink suit (like something out of "Dumb and Dumber") trying to get a job.
A White Sox person saw the young man and noted: "If I wore that suit, I would look like a bottle of Pepto Bismol."
—A svelte Kyle Schwarber showed up at the Winter Meetings, driving some 90 miles from the Tampa Bay area to visit with Cubs personnel. He didn't talk to the media, but he certainly looked to be in the "best shape of his life."
When asked about Schwarber representing the Cubs in the ESPN Body Issue, Theo Epstein laughed and said, "I'll let you write about that." (Joke's on Theo because that's exactly what I just did.)
—Seattle Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto nearly sent Chuck Garfien to the disabled list with an agressive revolving-door maneuver.
—Scott Boras walked through the hotel flanked by his muscle and his own camera crew. Kelly Crull accidentally got on the escalator right behind Boras and in an effort to escape the TV shot, started running up the down escalator...in heels.
—Scott Changnon and I clearly have no idea what we're doing:
—During our Facebook Live Tuesday, Jed Hoyer walked by in the background on the phone, maybe closing out the final details of the Drew Smyly or Brandon Morrow deal?
—10 minutes after Hoyer walked through the background of our Facebook Live, Theo Epstein ran past the camera as Chuck and Vinnie discussed potential free agent targets for the White Sox.
—A man in a Hawaiian shirt photobombed Wednesday's Facebook Live behind Chuck, Kelly and Vinnie. (Side note: I totally messed up by not packing a Hawaiian shirt for the Winter Meetings.)
—Joe Maddon wore the same olive green blaze he wore to the White House earlier this year and knew full well what he was doing, as he joked about it with reporters.
—Boras stood on a literal pedestal for his hour-long media session Wednesday, stepping up on a sturdy plastic camera case to help all three dozen media cameras catch his entire press conference.
—A woman in a Christmas-themed top hat walking her little pug around the lobby on a leash, but it was slow going as baseball men and women kept stopping them to pet the very good dog.
—Some dude's sneezing in the media workroom was the real star of the show. Never heard anything like it in my life before. Sounded literally like the devil was coming out of his nose.
—The work ethic of people in baseball is mind-bottling to me.
Not only the front office members, like the Cubs' staff who went from playing deep into October for the third straight fall to preparing for free agency, weighing trade options, scouting and — this winter — pulling all-nighters to put together a proposal for Shohei Ohtani.
But baseball media members are ridiculously hard-working. These people spent all year covering 162-game seasons plus 6+ weeks of spring training and then another month of postseason and now, two weeks before Christmas, they're pulling 15-hour days during the Winter Meetings.
Yes, it's a really cool job and we get paid to cover a game and hang around professional athletes, but it's also a lot of work and the people who have done this for a lifetime are so impressive.