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Greetings from the last day of the Winter Meetings

Dec 6, 2012, 8:09 AM EDT


We watched and waited yesterday to see if the Mega Deal would go down. We waited to see if Josh Hamilton or Zack Greinke would sign anywhere. None of that happened, so we did what everyone else does at the Winter Meetings: we went out. But this was no ordinary outing. This was an Important Mission. Why? Because it involved fine distilled spirits and the making thereof.

In our party: a couple of guys here at the Winter Meetings for the trade show. One is Daniel Cruz of Anchor Brewing and the other is Brian Casterline of B-R Carts and Kiosks, Inc. Daniel is is Anchor’s Marketing Manager and it is his mission to get as many ballparks as possible to carry Anchor’s fine brews. Brian is the managing partner in the design department at B-R, and it is his mission to design and then sell the latest in beer and hot dog carts. If Daniel and Brian are successful in their mission, beer and hot dogs will be delivered unto us more efficiently.

So, what I’m saying here is that Daniel and Brian are doing God’s work.

source:  We met Daniel and Brian through my friend Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated and they, in turn, introduced us to Corsair Distillery. Corsair is a craft distillery here in Nashville, and over the course of the week I’ve managed to try a couple of their products. It’s fine, fine stuff, so when we were given the chance to take a private tour, we jumped on it. Daniel, Brian Jay and I went downtown to the distillery, which is housed in the ancient and beautiful factory that once built the Marathon automobile. It’s a cool and funky space now, with a tap room serving fantastic microbrews and other fun things.  There’s also a cat that prowls the distillery and he is, without a doubt, the luckiest cat in the world.

At the end of the private tour, when we had the chance to taste and then purchase some of those fine products, we  jumped all over that too. I’m taking a couple bottles of their Triple Smoke whiskey home today — think of it as an American version of single malt scotch — and I couldn’t be happier. After that we went to City House (it was actually our second time there this week) and had fantastic noms.

Then it was back to the Opryland for the nightly mingling with the movers and shakers in baseball.  The most interesting person I met last night: Jim Leyritz. Yup. In a bar of all places. But — and this is extremely important given what has happened in his life in recent years — he was not drinking, which was encouraging. He looks good too, and people tell me that he’s taking care of himself. Glad to see him doing well with the second chance he has been given. Less glad that, when I stopped him and told him that his home run in the 1996 World Series friggin’ killed me, he smiled as if he enjoys thinking about that more than anything else in the world. Grumble.

The night wound down with front office executives, agents, managers, some players, vendors from the trade show, some fans and some scribes like me sharing drinks and asking each other how that mega trade is going to work. Who will land Zack Greinke. Whether he will pan out or be a $161 million+ bust. We asked because, really, none of us know those things. The people who do — the general managers and their assistants — are all holed up in hotel suites someplace with their cell phones and laptops and not really mixing with everyone else. Which really means that the Winter Meetings have been turned on their head from what they were 15 or 20 years ago when all of the deals were done in the hotel bar and all of the rest of us were holed up someplace else.

Last day today. The only scheduled thing of note for fans is the Rule 5 draft.  We’ll provide updates of that later. And, obviously, of anything and everything else going down.

For my part, it’s approximately 12 hours until I will be home in my living room and able to try some of that Triple Smoke …

  1. number42is1 - Dec 6, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    Layritz killed a mother in a drunken stupor. He deserves no second chance but being the celebrity that he is he literally got away with murder. I saw him in Penn station signing autographs a year ago and I was sick to my stomach.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Dec 6, 2012 at 8:28 AM

      Deserve has nothing to do with it. Not endorsing anything about Leyritz. Simply noting that he has been given a second chance and, from what I can tell and from what I have been told, he’s trying not to waste it.

      • Alex K - Dec 6, 2012 at 9:03 AM

        I like the subtle quote from “The Wire”.

      • stex52 - Dec 6, 2012 at 9:15 AM

        Agreed, Craig. Sometimes things happen for which there is no going back. At that point what matters is what goes forward.

    • number42is1 - Dec 6, 2012 at 9:26 AM

      Sorry if that seemed like a knock at you Craig, it wasn’t. I just get so sick of seeing the Lindsay Lohans and Jim Leyritz’s of the world getting away with this stuff. In my opinion the last place on earth he should be is a bar. He was given this second chance and it should spent doing whatever he can to help others. I’m not preaching and i have done plenty of wrong in my life but taking another persons life due to recklessness is not something that should just be brushed off. and yea… for all we know he spends every waking hour helping all mankind… but i doubt it.

      • jwbiii - Dec 6, 2012 at 10:19 AM

        He was probably looking for a job, something better than working as a greeter at Yankee Stadium
        and was probably expecting to see some GMs at the bar.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 6, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      I think the lady he killed happened to be drunk as well………
      Glad to know you did everything right in your life and never needed a
      second chance…………………
      People often say bad things George Steinbrenner but one thing he always
      did was give people a second chance.

      • number42is1 - Dec 6, 2012 at 10:50 AM

        yea.. maybe you learn to red before you comment?

        “I’m not preaching and i have done plenty of wrong in my life but taking another persons life due to recklessness is not something that should just be brushed off”

        and for all the bad i did i NEVER killed anyone. second chances are not always something that should be given.

    • atxjustin - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:12 AM

      Apparently the woman killed in the accident also had an elevated blood alcohol level. That in no way absolves Leyritz of all responsibility, nor excuses drinking and driving, but it likely play a role in acquittal of the manslaughter charges.

  2. proudlycanadian - Dec 6, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    Remember Craig! If the women don’t get you, the liquor must! Enjoy the libation!

    • Old Gator - Dec 6, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      If I had my way, there’s be nothing left of me for the liquor to get.

      • nolanwiffle - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:59 PM

        If I had my way, I would tear this old building down.

      • Old Gator - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:21 PM

        You referring to the Orange Bowl?

  3. stex52 - Dec 6, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    Sounds like a tough job, Craig. Let me know if you are looking for a personal assistant next year. I can be extremely obsequious if it helps.

    • Old Gator - Dec 6, 2012 at 9:21 AM

      Speaking of personal assistant, before I put my bifocals on and clicked on the thumbnail that scaffold behind the barrels looked like a multi-task exercise machine. Heh heh. Craig on an….no, no. I can’t go there.

  4. scatterbrian - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Craig, have you tried A’bunadh from Aberlour? Got a bottle of batch 41 as a gift a few weeks ago and it is pretty amazing.

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