When people think of the Baseball Winter Meetings, they think of million dollar free-agent signings and blockbuster trades. They think of all the stars of the baseball world coming together for a five-day event every year in different cities around the country. This year’s stars convened in Nashville, Tenn. at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center.
However, removed from all the hoopla and what is seen on TV, there is a hidden world at the Baseball Winter Meetings. That hidden world is the Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities Job Fair. This year at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, the 19th-annual job fair took place. This job fair is a place where people from ages 20-60 can come and try to find a job in baseball, and chances are that job will not be a glamorous one.
This past week, I had the privilege of attending this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings PBEO Job Fair, which was unlike any other event that I have ever attended.
For three days, over 500 hopefuls searched for a way to break into the world of professional baseball by pouring over job listings, submitting resumes and stressing over interviews. All this was done in hopes of landing a low-paying, or unpaid job in what will most likely be located in some obscure town in some unknown part of the country.
However, the Baseball Winter Meetings do not have to be all stress for those seeking jobs if the moment is savored. Fortunately, for me this trip was not all business. While in Nashville, I attended a Vanderbilt basketball game (and yes, their gym is as strange to look at in person as it is to look at on TV), went to a Titans football game and walked around the downtown area of Nashville.
The meetings also provided the opportunity to rub elbows with the stars and legends of the game of baseball. It was not unusual to walk by Joe Torre, Tommy Lasorda or Peter Gammons and exchange simple hellos in passing. Furthermore, the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center was the most amazing hotel that I had ever seen. The hotel had everything imaginable from gardens that bordered on rain forests, to actual towns inside the hotel and boat rides through those towns.
Whether or not the business side of the trip turns out to be worthwhile or a bust, I left Nashville with nothing but a smile on my face, good memories and of course the knowledge that all the glamour of the past week would soon escape me as the impending final exams awaited me upon my return to Springfield College.