What Do Traveling Secretaries Do At The Winter Meetings?
If you did not know, the Winter Meetings are not just about trades, free agents, GMs, team meetings, and news conferences. There is actually a whole lot more from medical meetings with physicians and trainers, job seekers/interviews, a huge baseball goods trade show, club publicity meetings, and also a host of activities for the traveling secretaries. In essence, everything that is baseball happens here. For my counterparts and I, it’s meeting-after-meeting and reception-after-reception.
Here is a brief look at our agenda:
Sunday night – All-Traveling Secretaries dinner hosted by MLB
Monday morning/afternoon – Marriott Luncheon and Traveling Secretary of the Year Presentation
Monday afternoon – All-Traveling Secretaries Meeting
Monday pre-dinner – Enterprise Rental Car Reception
Monday pre-dinner – Four Seasons Reception
Monday evening – Ritz-Carlton Reception
Tuesday morning/afternoon – Traveling Secretaries Trade Show (Air charter providers, hotels, bus companies, rental car companies, travel agents, etc.)
Tuesday pre-dinner – Parc 55/Westin San Francisco Reception
Tuesday pre-dinner – Hilton Reception
Tuesday dinner – Dodgers Minor League Affiliates Reception
Tuesday evening – Starwood Worldwide Reception
Coupled with that, the traveling secretaries are the point people for our own staff’s travel and hotel accomodations. In truth, it was a little more complicated here in Indianapolis due to the cold weather and snow.
On Wednesday, I spent virtually the entire day in my hotel room working. I had missed some time in the office recently and I tried to play catch-up with all of my work. In a few hours, I will be boarding a plane back to Los Angeles while keeping tabs on our staff’s travel out of Indianapolis back to Los Angeles, Phoenix, Newark, Baltimore, Tampa, and San Diego.
Traveling secretaries meet a lot of people during these meetings and we collect a lot of business cards. It’s a chance for us to say thank you to those vendors who have helped us over the years and also an opportunity to make new contacts to help our respective teams. The meetings are enjoyable yet hectic and I look forward to them every year.
Sidebar: Ellen Harrigan is our Winter Meetings MVP because she keeps all of our team events and meetings organized/on-time — she is a huge help to all of us and did a great job of putting together our minor league affiliates reception on Tuesday night. She is our Director of Baseball Administration and has spent time with Baltimore and Toronto with over 20+ years of baseball experience.
— Scott Akasaki
This one from team travel manager Scott Akasaki, who has come out of hibernation for his first blog post in some time. He obviously wanted to share these thoughts…
About three nights ago, Tony Jackson of the Daily News was laid off and I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity to dictate a short story about something he did for me. A couple years ago, I had surgery to remove two cysts and a benign tumor from inside my spinal chord. The surgery was very delicate and during my rehabilitation period, I spent many hours at home trying to re-learn the most simple of tasks like taking a shower, putting on pants, and walking without losing my balance.
My friends and family were very supportive with cards of encouragement, gift baskets, books, flowers, and a variety of different care packages. Perhaps the most unique gift came from Tony, when he sent me a dozen bottles of barbeque sauce from the Montgomery Inn, an Ohio-based restaurant chain.
Tony worked in Cincinnati when he was a beat writer for the Reds. He learned of my affinity for barbeque so whenever we went to Cincinnati, we made plans to have a meal at the Montgomery Inn. At those meals, we did not talk about the Dodgers but more about our different upbringings and our shared life experiences. The barbeque sauce always made our meals good but Tony’s unique outlook on life made our meals memorable. I will miss my friend Tony Jackson on the Dodgers’ beat.
And here’s tonight’s lineup…
For those of us who travel with the team (coaches, medical, baseball operations front office, publicity, and broadcasters), a common question this time of year is, now that the season is over what do you do? Do you even need to go in to the office?
For the traveling secretary (and virtually all of the other 180 or so fulltime employees here at the stadium), there is no “off” season. In some way, shape, or form, we all are preparing for next year. The sales force on the other side of the office seems to be in high gear. Among other projects, the public relations department is working on the annual information guide. Stadium Operations is gearing up for another phase of the ongoing stadium renovations. Marketing and Consumer Development is working on how to improve the overall fan experience. My two bosses, General Manager Ned Colletti and Assistant General Manager Kim Ng, are tireless workers trying to make our club better. Underneath them, our baseball operations department is putting in extended hours to help improve our team as well. We are all busy.
Amongst other responsibilities, my duties include hotel selection, charter airline negotiations, Spring Training logistics (with the World Baseball Classic mixed in), and winter meetings travel. Like Ned and Kim, my job also includes improving the team travel and clubhouse aspects of our club. Where can we improve? What did not work this season? How should we approach the upcoming year? Once in a while, a baseball operations special project comes my way and those are always enjoyable.
The main difference between my in-season work week and my off-season work week is that I get weekends now. I am probably not alone when I say that I am catching up on all medical (optometrist, dentist, etc.) appointments in addition to the random household job. During the season, personal time is very limited and as such, a lot of time is spent with loved ones.
Joe Torre was in the office today and we talked briefly about Spring Training. As we spoke about moving into Glendale, it hit me that Spring Training is only three months away. Hope to see many of you out there.