The Winter Meetings from my couch: hunting nuggets and handing out stupid awards
COUCH — What an honor it was to be invited to the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings! This years event was located at the illustrious #WINTERMEETINGS and for four straight days I was able to virtually grease palms and rub knuckles with industry icons in search of all the offseason nuggets we crave. My career as a baseball twitter insider is very new, perhaps nonexistent. I figured there was no better time than the Winter Meetings to dive right in. I mean, it’s all right there at #WINTERMEETINGS. I’d dig up some nuggets and pick up a few thousand followers along the way. How could it go wrong?
Somehow, through all this hard work, I didn’t unearth any nuggets(how does Ken Rosenthal do it!?) but that doesn’t mean I came away empty handed. I learned a whole lot about how this twitter stuff works and saw plenty of things that need to be awarded and/or called out.
Best Side Quest: Andrew Baggarly hunting down a teapot
Props to Giants Beat-writer Andrew Baggarly for having the work ethic to go on a vacation to Vegas during the winter meetings. (He seemed to not be the only beat-writer in Vegas during the winter meetings either, strange place to go for a week of staring at your phone, but whatever).
As someone that was happily within feet of my tea kettle throughout the entire Winter Meetings I can empathize with Andrew and his annoyance of expensive hot water. Maybe next year he will just work from home, like the rest of us. For now, however, this quest has a semi-happy ending as Andrew appears to have bit the bullet on the silly procurement fee.
BEst Nugget Accreditor: Jon Heyman
One of the more amusing things about the Winter Meetings is the abundances of reporters crediting other reporters that were first to discover the nugget. It’s kind of like a post-game handshake but since everyone is just sitting in their living rooms they have to do it over twitter.
Jon Heyman is always first when it comes to publicly saying who is first. I think I would be good at this.
Best team Social Media Content: The Mets Winter Meetings flowchart for eager fans
As someone that spent the Winter Meetings scouring the dark recesses of baseball twitter I came away with deep sympathy for people that have to interact with dingle berries, like me, for a living. This flow chart from the Mets social meeting team was funny and a great way to start the week.
Best Nautical Metaphor: The patience of Brian Cashman
Normally this category wouldn’t exist. The nautical metaphors that come out of the Winter Meetings always seem to come from Scott Boras, and therefor make little sense.
Example from last offseason:
"Let's allow the ships to get in from their quest in the ocean,'' he said. "They went all the way to Japan [for Ohtani]. Then they stopped at sea to pick up the sunken ship in Florida. Eventually they're going to get to their residential docks, and they can evaluate what they want to do to be adequately fulfilled for their journey at sea for the season.'' SOURCE: ESPN, Jerry Crasnick
This year was different. In an effort to show the baseball world that nautical metaphors can be coherent Yankees GM, Brian Cashman, showed us his skills in a simple but elegant story of patience.
Best comments on eliminating the shift: Gabe Kapler’s much-needed nuance
There were two big themes to the week that seemed to permeate through every discussion and tweet. The first comes from a recent article by Jayson Stark that exposed the rising interest, from owners, to eliminate shifts. Naturally, this is a polarizing idea and the #WINTERMEETINGS was hot about it. It was rare to see a nuanced take, which is why I like what Gabe Kapler said. Kapler, a very progressive manager that happily tries new things if it can possibly give his team an edge, seemed to treat the idea of eliminating the shift as an opportunity to get creative in other ways.
There are a lot of ways to maintain creativity even if the rule changes. - Gabe Kapler, via Jayson Stark
A simple quote that doesn’t show any of the anger that was so common this week.
Best Comments on Harold Baines Hall of Fame Induction: “Weak-Ass superficial bullshit”
The other big piece of news was also not a transaction, but the election of Harold Baines to the Hall of Fame by means of the suddenly relevant “Today’s Game Committee” (a committee designed to give immense induction power to 16 people who get to vote in players that didn’t get inducted via the normal election method). I won’t waste your time going over all the reasons why his inclusion is a complete joke, Ben Lindbergh does that best anyway.
This induction really spiced up the early hours of the Winter Meetings and after days of hearing himself be partially blamed for this farce, committee member, Tony La Russa popped off on MLB network and secured the award for Best Comment on Harold Baines.
I love adding “ass” at the end of a boring adjective but that’s about all I can get behind with these comments. La Russa calling stats “superficial” is pretty hilariously considering that stats that says Harold Baines doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame(all stats say that, by the way) are more objective than whatever “superficial bullshit” La Russa is using to defend his vote. La Russa has been a joke for a long time so I love seeing someone with the reputation and influence of Jeff Passan blasting these comments.
The #WINTERMEETINGS may be over now but what does that even mean anyway? I’m still on my couch. I’m still scouring twitter and MLB Trade Rumors. I still haven’t found any nuggets.
When will this offseason end?