The Opryland is packed. Well, it should be, considering how big of a deal the Winter Meetings event is every year. That means it can get pretty tricky to find a place to talk in private.
A meeting or interview can and will be conducted just about anywhere. On Sunday, my Inside Edge guys showed me a location where my boss would be conducting his interviews. It was a mezzanine level that had pairs of large, comfortable chairs along the entire perimeter. I was also shown a coffee shop where a few teams' representatives were known to hang out. There were some hidden chairs one level up from the MLB Network set, a place that you would never find unless you knew where the elevator was located to get up there. Hell, one guy shared that he even had an interview conducted in an adjacent hallway because they couldn't find a place to sit.
I had a meeting scheduled with a minor league club right away in the morning. I was told to meet the guy outside the job fair and I had no problem locating him. We then moved down to a table by one of the restaurants in the Opryland to talk. One of the big problems of the hotel here is that there's plenty of ambient noise. I've been comparing it to Camp Snoopy (er, Nickelodeon Universe) all week and it's exactly the same in this regard. It's not overbearing, but it's definitely loud enough that everyone needs to speak loud and clear or else you'll miss something.
The meeting went just fine, though it was clear early on that I wasn't a particular fit for the positions available. Minor league work focuses far more on entertainment than baseball. A good example was a story shared with me during this meeting. A star player from the majors was rehabbing with this Class-A team and one of his games drew a line of 500 people before gates opened. Later that week, there was a t-shirt giveaway and 2500 people were counted before gates opened. It's a lot like the St. Paul Saints; you go for the fun and the game is second.
Although we figured out that I was interested in other facets of baseball, he did give me some useful advice on looking to work for colleges like the U of M to gain some more experience. Additionally, he said he had some connections with Perfect Game and said he'd email me some information sometime next week. Remember, the main part of the Winter Meetings for job seekers is to network, and though a job may not come directly from this meeting, it could be the branch on the tree that leads to another.
I had another meeting later that day with a major league team. When you're here, you've got to be ready at all times. As you wander the hotel, it feels like half of the job seekers in suits are staring at their cell phones. It's not for Candy Crush or texting a friend back home, but we're all frantically awaiting an update from a contact we made earlier. An example of this was that my meeting was supposed to be at 6 pm. At around 2, I received an email that it was bumped up to 5:40 to accommodate a later meeting. Okay, no problem. Then at 4 pm I received another email that it was now bumped up to 5:20. Seriously, you've got to be on your phone like a hawk or else you're going to miss your chance.
I was prepped by my coworkers at Inside Edge for this interview. This guy was notorious for asking off-the-wall questions like "Who is your favorite actor?" They didn't tell me if he was just having fun or if there was a particular answer he wanted (or perhaps a response in a timely fashion) but they all seemed to get used to it over the initial shock. When I met with him, I had all my answers at the ready. Maybe not blurt it out to appear as though I had already been coached on what to say, but I could give a slight hesitation and then confidently spit out my response.
Except the questions never came. I was given the overview of the job and it was wrapped up in about 10 minutes. I left the meeting confused. Either I was a strong candidate and the guy just needed to know I wasn't crazy or I was never a prime candidate and the meeting was just a courtesy. I went back to my coworkers and explained what happened but they quickly put my uneasiness to rest. After all, it was now 5:45 pm and the guy had most likely been in meetings or doing work the entire day. My friends said that knowing the guy, he was most likely just exhausted and wanted to move on to his next appointment. Yeah, it was a shame that I didn't get much time to shine, but they also added that the purpose of this week is not necessarily to earn the job, but just to meet some people so they have a little background before doing phone interviews later when they have more time.
Day 4 will be up later today as there's not very much going on once the Rule V Draft concluded.