Photo: Adam Fusfeld
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – As the baseball world gathers its luggage and departs Disney World, several Winter Meetings vets lamented about all the changes the gathering has undergone.Chief in those changes – and most disappointing to media members and job seekers – is that baseball executives no longer schmooze in the lobby the way they once did.
Sure, you’ll still spot Terry Francona and Dusty Baker knocking back a few drinks, and Brian Cashman was making the rounds downstairs late last night, but for the most part, those guys are pent up in their suites. Meanwhile, the lobby is packed with people hungry for baseball jobs and baseball stories.
Unlike a decade ago, trade speculation rarely stems from witnesses to rival executives chatting. Instead, that information is gleaned from rapid fire texting with established sources, often sitting in a room just down the hall.
The Winter Meetings were once a way to shrink the wide world of baseball, but 21st century technology has taken care of that.
Baseball insiders do still treasure the brief, face-to-face encounters that proximity affords. But for others, especially old-timers looking for a new job, the meetings amplify the difference between those on the inside, and those trying to penetrate the boundaries. Never does something seem more out of reach than when it’s inaccessible from just a few steps away.
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