Goodbye to the 2009 Winter Meetings
The roadies are taking the stage, packing it up and tearing it down. They’re the first to come and last to leave, you know. I can hear the sound of slamming doors and folding chairs. But when that last laptop’s been packed away, you know that I still want to, um, tweet.
OK, enough of that. The Winter Meetings are over. Oh, they still may announce something or other, but most of the writers have left and most of the teams have too, so I’m going to aim the Honda east and head back home myself. If something big goes down yet today, rest assured, you’ll be in capable hands with Aaron and Matthew.
But before I go, some reflection. What did we learn at the 2009 Winter Meetings? Among many things, I think we learned the following:
- The Yankees mean business. Not the old win-at-all-costs business, but a newer win-at-smart-costs business. They got Granderson. They got Pettitte. They may yet get Halladay. As I type, they’re in the process of shoving Johnny Damon’s severe lack of leverage down his throat in some suite upstairs. If the season started tomorrow, they’d be a better team than they were last season with a lower payroll.
- The Mets are sound and fury signifying nothing. All sorts of talk about what they might do this week, but nothing happened short of some yeah-maybe-we’ll-sign-Molina-eventually garbage. Sure, in this they were no less active than just about every other team, but the Mets didn’t do anything to lower expectations, and even said some things while here that caused expectations to be raised. Ultimately that neither helps nor harms the ballclub -- good moves are moves no matter when they come -- but a lot of Mets fans are telling me that they feel jerked around by the team, and that can’t be good.
- The Red Sox are taking things slowly. Unlike the Mets, they have a front office that has earned the benefit of the doubt, so to the extent they have been less active it’s not too big a deal. Still, this last day Lowell deal is interesting, as it seems to be clearing the decks for Adrian Beltre. Of all of the places Beltre could go Fenway is where he’d make the most impact, so if that happens it’s a good thing for Boston.
- I love the Fake Kenny Williams. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but there’s a guy here who looks like a fatter Kenny Williams. Not sure who he is or who he works for, but he has the same haircut and same features. Could be his brother. Many of the writers even mistook him for Williams for the first day or so. Some of us saw him talking to people in the lobby last night and desperately wished that he was spreading false White Sox rumors. “Well, we’re thinking about converting Beckham into a reliever seeing as how valuable they are these days.”
- Relievers are kinda valuable these days. Wait, that’s not right. They’re just expensive. At least when the Astros are paying the tab.
- I love the Japanese media. They’ve inspired me to go to Japan and ask the manager of the Nippon Ham Fighters if he saw Alex Ramirez’s performance in the Japan Series and whether he’d like to have a player like Alex Ramirez on his team.
- Twitter has transformed this business. I’m new to the business so I don’t appreciate the differences, but every last reporter here has talked about just how different this all is now that Twitter has been adopted by just about everyone. Last year everyone had to wait until MLB Trade Rumors refreshed to see what was going on. Before then, everyone had to wait until the newspaper websites refreshed. Now? The news cycle lasts, oh, about seventeen seconds.
- Despite this, not too many people really know how to use Twitter yet. The New York Post guys get it. So does Buster Olney and Pete Abraham. For the most part they tweet teasers to their stories with a link to their website. So many other reporters, however, tweet their scoops, depriving their employers of clicks and allowing others to jump them. A scoop represents a lot of hard work. Why the hell do you want to give it away like that? Here’s a suggestion: find a way to shorten the time it takes to turn reporting into publication -- by, say, removing a couple layers of editors you all complain about -- and get those scoops onto the homepage faster. This is not newsprint. You can fix the punctuation later.
- Blue Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos is Howard Hughes. He stayed in his hotel suite all week, probably watching old RKO movies while wearing Kleenex boxes on his feet. Hughes had Jane Russel. Anthopoulos has Roy Halladay.
- The sporting press needs to man-up. All I heard all week was how cold and icky it was here in Indianapolis. And yes, it was cold and icky. But they’re the Winter Meetings, dudes. It’s the Hot Stove Season. Next year it’s in Disney World. I’m guessing it will be harder to sharpen the mind and crank out the product when it’s 70 degrees and everyone is drinking banana daiquiris.
- That said, the sporting press is made up of some really excellent people. You hear a lot about crusty and cranky old baseball writers. Even from me sometimes. Well, just about every baseball writer who matters was here this week, and I didn’t meet too many crusty or cranky ones. Sure, we see the game differently and we write about it differently, but they’re all pretty nice guys and gals. They’ll lend you their phone charger if you need it. They’ll shout out the terms to a deal you’re writing about so you don’t have to look it up. Best of all, they’ll share war stories with you that are beyond fabulous. If I take issue with sports writers going forward, be clear about one thing: I’m hatin’ on their game, not on the player.
With that, I’m outta here. I’ll be back bright and early tomorrow with a decidedly less cranked-up version of CTB.