Following the success of last year's trip to baseball's annual Winter Meetings, I decided to once again attempt to crash the main stage and hob-knob with baseball's power brokers. This year my target was the General Managers' Meeting, a pow-wow of baseball's wheelers and dealers. While not as grandiose as the Winter Meetings, the General Managers' meeting usually lays the groundwork for transactions throughout baseball's off season.
Similar to last year, my trip to the GM Meeting began at the end of the work day. Although last year I was able to leave at 4pm and avoid a majority of the Tampa-Orlando traffic, this year I wasn't so lucky. Call it foreshadowing.
What follows is a chronological description of my night. No, it's not a diary. It's a journal.
4:58 - left work. Yeah, that's right. I normally get out at 5, but because I had something to do, I left two minutes early. Gotta love stickin' it The Man.
5:00 - 6:20 - listened to Playboy Radio on the way to Orlando. Yes, that's a plug. Playboy Radio is the only talk radio I listen to. And I am awesome at their dating quiz show. One day I might just call in.
6:25 - Arrived at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel and Resort.
6:26 - Stopped at the gate by a sweet old lady in a security uniform who politely asked me what my business was at the hotel. Rather than saying, "I'm a huge Pat Gillick fan and I heard he was here", I went with the more confusing "Umm ... a friend told me to meet him here." That always works.
6:28 - Unfortunately, the sweet little gate guard didn't let me in. She pulled out her clipboard and asked for his name. Here is where I should have pulled an Obi-Wan Kenobi, waved my hand, and used the Force to control her weak and feeble mind. Instead, she was persistent that I not pass the gate without either a valid reason or proof that someone I know (and who knows me) was somehow beyond the gate.
6:30 - Dejected, I made a U-turn and pulled away from the hotel. I was curious though, what lay beyond the gate? Is that the normal procedure? Did the hotel put this little old lady at the gate to protect the sanctity of the general managers' meeting? I've always pictured the general managers hanging out in a smokey bar, sipping whiskey, and plotting their next blockbuster trade. Perhaps it's more like their own Hedonism event.
6:40 - Instead of getting back on the highway and driving the hour and a half back home, I decided to see if I couldn't get into the Hyatt another way. Might there be a back entrance, one that doesn't have a merciless old lady manning the gate?
6:42 - Pulled into a nearby Chinese buffet. I was attempting my own Mission Impossible. This was going to be a Dead Presidents-type gig.
6:48 - Walked along a passageway separating the Chinese buffet from a hotel neighboring the Hyatt. So far, so good.
6:52 - Strolled along the perimeter of the hotel's parking lot looking for a way in ... a break in the fence, anything.
6:54 - Found a way in. Although most of the fence dividing the two hotels was at least six feet high and lined with barbwire, a small section was not. It lacked barbwire completely and was only five feet or so in height. This was my way in.
6:54 and 24 seconds - Looked at the fence and its surrounding shrubbery.
6:54 and 32 seconds - Kept staring at the fence. You know, I am not as spry as I used to be. Especially when I am still fresh dressed like a million bucks in my work clothes.
6:54 and 51 seconds - What if I got arrested for trespassing?
6:55 - Do you think if I got busted for trespassing I can get Peter Gammons to interview me from jail? Maybe some one else? I'll even take Skip Bayless.
6:55 and 49 seconds - Tried to psych myself up for a simple fence climb - a hop, skip, and a jump into the bacchanalia that is the GM Meetings.
On second thought ...
6:56 - Walked back to my truck.
6:58 - Felt a vibration in my pocket. Realized it was my phone. Glad I didn't try to sneak in. Fielding phone calls while trying to sneak into a world-class resort is probably not advisable.
6:59 - Talked to my mom. I'm sure she would have been happy if I told her I was trying to break in to a resort to meet with people from pro baseball. She would have understood. She's supportive like that.
7:03 - Got in my truck and drove the long, dark, lonely highway home.
I'll be the first to admit this year's visit to the GM Meetings was nowhere near as productive as last year's trip to the Winter Meetings. This year there was no Ozzie, no Omar, no Jim Leyland, and no admittance.