Brewers Winter Meetings Wrap Up

The 2010 MLB Winter Meetings are in the books.  A productive week for the Brewers in Indianapolis came to an end today, officially with the Rule V Draft held earlier this morning.

The Winter Meetings are more than a time when teams get together, discuss free agents and trades.  The meetings are now sort of a winter festival in which teams don’t only plan for the game and the players on the field, but also give a chance to plan the business side of the game.  It is basically a cold weather gathering of baseball–there is everything baseball except for the game itself on the field.

My Winter Meeting experience was quite enjoyable.  We took steps to make our team better, I learned a lot and I caught up with old friends while making some new ones.

On the baseball side of the Winter Meetings, each team has a suite in one of two hotels.  Teams gather their baseball operations staffs in the suite and basically draw out plans for the upcoming season.  They consider free agents, field trade requests from other teams, talk to scouts and meet with agents.  The suite is kind of like the central location for each team–a home base of sorts for the week.  Many of these meetings begin around 8:30 a.m. and can last into the wee hours of the morning.

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The Brewers Baseball Operations staff in their meeting room suite.

Our suite was in the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis and housed the Brewers daily meetings involving around 10 members of the Brewers baseball operations staff.  The staff was well prepared heading into the meetings, having a good idea of what each team has and what each team needs in case the Brewers were approached for a trade.  At around 4:30 p.m. each afternoon, Brewers Media Relations Director Mike Vassallo and I would escort any media members up to the suite to talk to Doug Melvin and Gord Ash.  There, Doug would recap the day for the media.

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Here Doug Melvin and Gord Ash meet with writers in their daily media session.

Not only do our local media meet with Doug Melvin on a daily basis, but each manager does a round table session with media in the media room.  Ken Macha met with the writers on Tuesday.  Before he met at the round table, he did a quick interview on the MLB station on Sirius/XM and sat down with MLB Productions.  If you follow our twitter account (@brewercom), you may have received a heads up that Melvin was on the MLB Network’s Hot Stove show last night.

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Brewers Manager Ken Macha discusses the team with reporters at the Winter Meetings.

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Doug Melvin joins the MLB Network crew for an interview on Wednesday.

While these team meetings are going on, the other “meetings” of the Winter Meetings take place.  The Major League Public Relations departments have three days of meetings.  In those meetings, we listen to speakers, take surveys and adjust media rules for the upcoming season.  This year, one of our hot topics was dealing with social media and the proliferation of such sites as Facebook and the growing Twitter craze.  It’s really a good opportunity to see what some of our peers are doing in the industry.  Each market is a little different and it is interesting to hear the problems and challenges of each team.

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A “team photo” of the National League PR Staffs.

Other groups that have meetings include the Baseball Writers Association of America and the Professional Baseball Association of Trainers.  The Winter Meetings are not only for the Major League teams.  The Minor League teams host a large convention during the week that includes a trade show, various speakers and symposiums and a Minor League job fair. 

 
There is a little time for fun during the meetings.  Last night, we caught a Pacers game at Conseco Fieldhouse and there are always receptions and dinners going on that allow everyone to meet and talk baseball socially. 

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Mike Vassallo, Jim Misudek of the Atlanta Braves and I following the Pacers-Blazers game.

On the field, we made steps to making the Brewers a better team and I think the Winter Meetings were successful for the Brewers.  I really cannot go into detail as to what went on, but Doug Melvin and his team has done a great job of improving the team for the 2010 season and beyond.  A lot of the buzz around the meetings involved the Brewers and some of the moves the team considered.  Things will develop in the weeks ahead and I think Brewers fans will be excited about some of the results.

As I write this, I should be on my way back to Milwaukee.  No, I’m not on one of those fancy planes with WiFi, but instead, I’m stuck at the airport in Indianapolis.  Hopefully we will get “the bird off the ground” shortly and I will return home!

– John

johnandcait@brewers.com 

 

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