The Mystery Of Baseball's Winter Meetings!

With this week’s Baseball Winter Meetings getting started in Nashville, it reminds me of the meetings I attended in New Orleans in the mid-90’s. For me, and thousands of others, the meetings were an opportunity to get in front of minor league clubs and lobby to become their radio voice.

An aspiring broadcaster asked me this morning, “How do I get my start?” Although not a guarantee, the Winter Meetings may be the ticket. It is one way to prove your desire, make a statement and build relationships.

Along with all the Big League wheeling and dealing, a lot of minor league moving and shaking happens at the meetings. A few of my memories of that exciting week:

- I flew into town sitting next to an owner of multiple minor league teams….including the Norwich Navigators, for whom I called games five years later.

- Sipping a Hurricane at a Bourbon Street bonfire, I chatted with an executive from the AAA Buffalo Bisons. His big pearl to me that night – never send a resume on white paper. “I get hundreds of resumes,” he said. “I need a way to weed out half of them right away. The white ones get chucked.” I always heeded his advice, and we kept in touch for years.

- One morning at the hotel, a flash conga line formed. One woman stood up from her table and started dancing around the restaurant dining room. Table by table, she garnered more followers, until a line of 20 or more was bopping around as if it were the Fourth of July… 7 a.m. (No, my briefcase and I did not join. I was there for business, not pleasure)

- I took part in quite a few interviews with clubs, ranging from the Modesto, CA Athletics and the Williamsport, PA Crosscutters. I recall crowded ballrooms, small interview spaces and little sleep. I eventually turned down the Crosscutters gig to remain with the Hudson Valley Renegades.

While the Big Leagues and big starts garner most of the Winter Meeting attention, it can be a great chance for an aspiring sportscaster to make some connections and jump-start a career! Or you can slug Hurricanes, start bonfires and dance around all day. It’s a win either way.
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