Thursday, December 07, 2006

Winter meeting trade show free-for-all

NOTE: This post originally appeated on Dec. 6. Technical issues forced this re-post.

Closing day for the trade show portion of the winter meetings is a treasure hunter’s delight. I spent most of Wednesday on the show floor looking for the next big promotional giveaway - a feature story will be posted in the coming days on

The trade show contains everything you’d need to start a baseball team – from turf to bleachers to scoreboards to concessions to promotional giveaways. There were even some minor league players in the booths. Any company that has even a remote baseball inclination is there showing their wears.

They bring all their cool stuff to Orlando, but many don’t want the hassle of taking it home, so the final hours of the show turn into one big giveaway. Bobbleheads were being snapped up faster than they could nod yes. The New Era baseball cap rack was nearly picked clean. Various minor league front office personnel were running around grabbing anything with a cool logo on it.

Ran into one job seeker who I’d talked with a couple times during the show who said this was the best day of his life. Earlier in the day he’d received a job offer with the Texas Rangers ticket office and now he was walking the trade show floor with an Oakland A’s trash basket filled with mini baseball bats, pennants and hats.

The show is noticeably thinning out. While more deals were made today than on the first couple of days, the lobby isn’t nearly as crowded. Didn’t get to see Bonds, but did talk with ESPN’s Steve Phillips.

The former big league-GM-turned-analyst said he enjoys the winter meetings more as a commentator because there isn’t as pressure to make a big splash. That was before he got the on-camera brush off from Bonds. Can’t wait to see him again to ask whether he’s changed his mind.

More soon.


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