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CTB: Live from the Winter Meetings

Dec 7, 2009, 7:46 AM EDT

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold . . .

Wait. That was a different trip. This is Indianapolis, not Vegas, and it’s the Winter Meetings, not the Mint 400. Still, there’s that same “what in the hell am I doing here” feeling that Raoul Duke and the good Doctor Gonzo had on their fateful journey into the heart of the American Dream.  Every executive and agent I’ve slammed in print in the past three years is here.  The writers too. It’s enough to make a fellow wonder about his place in the world. 

Just kidding. I’m gonna keep slamming those worthy of slamming, keep calling the smart moves smart and the dumb moves dumb and let the chips fall where they may.  There’s a definite class reunion feel to this event and I’m just going to pretend that I’m that foreign exchange student no one thought would show.  If they don’t like it, hey, maybe they shouldn’t have credentialed the blogger. 

In the meantime, let’s talk baseball.  On tap this week:

  • The Mariners may go crazy.  They’ve already got Figgins. They’re reportedly in on Bay and Lackey.  They’re talking extension with King Felix.  Are they gonna put the 2010 AL West away in December 2009?

  • Jason Bay, Matt Holliday and John Lackey still freely roam the market. My guess is that they still will by the end of the week, but recent history shows that the earlier you sign, the better off you are. Of course now the teams know that too. But maybe the players know that the teams know that. But maybe the teams know that the players know that the teams know that and . . . wait, deep breaths. Just follow Rosenthal around. He’s gonna report it first anyway.

  • More likely to see action is the second tier of free agents, populated by the likes of Marlon Byrd, Jermaine Dye, Mark DeRosa, Adrian Beltre, a metric crap-ton of relievers and whatever catchers the Mets haven’t yet signed. I think Benito Santiago is still available.

  • Roy Halladay is still the alpha-trade chit, but one has to think that the Yankees and Sox and whatever dark horses may present themselves are gonna make Toronto sweat that Halladay-imposed spring training deadline a bit.  More likely to move this week: Milton Bradley.  Baggage handlers standing by.

  • The BBWAA will be meeting, and a subset of those guys will be casting Hall of Fame ballots for managers, umpires, pioneers, and executives.  Go Marvin Miller and Whitey Herzog. Also, the Rule 5 Draft will be held on Thursday.

  • There will be a trade show during which vendors will try to convince teams that, yes, they really do need new LCD “No Pepper” signs for the backstop.

  • A job fair for those looking to break into the biz will take place.  Wanna be the assistant to the assistant ticket taker for the Mudville Tea Totallers of the Western League? Now’s your chance, Bunk.

There will be a ton more happening, some official, most non-official, some transaction-related, some not (for team-by-team previews, check out Matthew’s posts on the NL and the AL).  I’m going to do my best to sniff out the news as it happens and, failing that, I’ll certainly be grokking the scene and passing along my observations to you.  All I know for certain is that (a) I have a press pass that has not yet been revoked for cause; (b) I have a laptop with a wireless connection and a hella-long lasting battery; and (c) I know a lot of lawyers in central Indiana in the event I need someone to bail me out.

Refresh often, my friends. Refresh often.

  1. Old Gator - Dec 7, 2009 at 8:03 AM

    Fear and loathing in Indianapolis, eh? Well, keep a weather eye on the latest emptying of the Marlins recycling bin, willya, and keep those esoteric references coming. It’s kinda like playing badminton, innit? Innit.

  2. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 7, 2009 at 8:15 AM

    equal parts jealous, impressed, glad-I’m-not-there, wish-I-was there…
    Looking fwd to the reporting, guys!

  3. Chipmaker - Dec 7, 2009 at 9:36 AM

    I wonder who, probably no more than 5-10 years ago, had the first baseball press credential that had “.com” as part of the outfit name.

  4. Kelly - Dec 7, 2009 at 9:41 AM

    After following you a long time, Craig, I am STOKED to read what you write with a fancy-pants press badge around your neck.
    Get cracking on the donuts. I’m sure you’re a ways behind seasoned writing vets in the waistline.
    Congratulations, man!

  5. GBSimons - Dec 7, 2009 at 10:30 AM

    “But maybe the teams know that the players know that the teams know that and . . . ”
    Truly, you have a dizzying intellect, Craig.

  6. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 7, 2009 at 10:31 AM

    Hey, I’ve never been involved in a land war in Asia, Greg.

  7. Patrick - Dec 7, 2009 at 10:47 AM

    Oh Craig… This should be wonderful.
    Thanks so much for scoring this gig, I feel almost like a kid in a candy store, except it’s you in the candy store. You lucky bastard.
    And hey – Are you still licensed to practice yourself? You could represent yourself, always a surefire route to success…
    Good luck! You lucky SoB. :)

  8. loren - Dec 7, 2009 at 2:18 PM

    Whenever someone throws out “hella” (as in “hella-long lasting battery”) I automatically assume they’ve spent a lot of time in Northern California (or with someone from there). Where did you pick it up Craig?

  9. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 7, 2009 at 2:32 PM

    loren — I think I got it from that South Park episode where they made fun of “hella.” I don’t really ever say it in real life.

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