December 19, 2003

Winter in New Orleans

Various baseball scribes from around the internet are back from MLB's Winter Meetings and they've been kind enough to report on their experiences there.

My favorite Winter Meetings wrap-up comes from Alex Belth, who writes brilliantly about what is essentially a whole bunch of guys sitting around a hotel in New Orleans.

My favorite quote from his piece, entitled "Fear and Loathing in New Orleans":

On Saturday afternoon, I spotted Howard Bryant of The Boston Herald. After I introduced myself, he said something to the effect of, "Oh yeah, I've been by your site. You were pretty tough on my book." Gulp.

I enjoyed that because as a guy who, like Alex, writes about baseball on the internet, I sometimes forget that the people I am commenting on are actual people who I might possibly run into one day.

That doesn't mean you should back off from criticizing someone, of course. Still, it's an interesting reminder for someone like me, who has been known to rip a few people in this space. Alex goes on to describe how, despite his being critical of Bryant's book, they were able to have a very friendly conversation.

At some point I may end up in a dark alley with Luis Rivas, Joe Morgan and Phil Rogers. I can only hope they are as forgiving as Howard Bryant.

If you haven't already, I strongly urge you to read Alex's take on the entire experience.

Over at Baseball Prospectus, Joe Sheehan wrote several articles checking in from New Orleans. In one from over the weekend, he drops the following bit of information:

It should be noted that for about an hour last night, Jay Jaffe owned Baseball Prospectus. I promise to never again be suckered by someone who pretends to need a reminder of how poker is played, or play with someone who comes equipped with a built-in nickname. Well, except "Baldy" Carroll.

Poker and baseball in a hotel in New Orleans. It sounds like some sort utopia.

Baldy Carroll himself writes about the experience over at his blog. Instead of doing a typical summary of events, Will shares a whole bunch of "blind quotes" that he overheard while he was there. I'm not sure why exactly, but there is something incredibly intriguing about quotes entirely stripped of all context.

Some of my favorites:

"Why are you calling me? I'm ten feet away from you."

"This is how I do business, okay?"

"You're going to regret that second hurricane."

"That's a little excessive for the Carolina League."

"When Chris Singleton is the answer, you're asking the wrong question."

"Have a minute?"

"Only if we can talk somewhere no one sees us."

"He's a great guy."

"Sure he's a great guy. No one's questioning his guyness."

"You won with a three five off suit?"

It's like reverse madlibs!

If you head over to Jay Jaffe's Futility Infielder blog, you can read another great rundown of the Winter Meetings experience, and you can actually find out the source of several of those blind quotes. For example, the source of the brilliant line: "You can't bluff me, I'm not even paying attention!"? None other than Will Carroll himself.

It really sounds like an incredible time was had by everyone and I have to say, I am jealous. Not only would I love to hang out in the lobby of a New Orleans hotel while Peter Gammons digs up rumors five feet away, I would just love to meet all these guys whose websites I have been reading all these years. Plus, who wouldn't want to play poker with a bunch of baseball geeks until the wee hours of the morning?

I know it's still 2003 for another week, but I already have something atop my 2004 to-do list: The 2004 MLB Winter Meetings.

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