Winter Meetings snapshots: Job fair, managers luncheon and a new dress code. (Hint: Leave the flip-flops at home.)

Sixteen years ago, I stuffed a stack of resumes in my suitcase and flew to Los Angeles for the Winter Meetings, where a start-up company called PBEO (Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities) was holding a job fair.

Most of the jobs available were with Minor League teams, although a scant amount of Major League jobs were also available. The process was simple: teams would post job openings, and interested applicants would submit their resumes. Interviews would take place on site and hopefully, by the end of the three-day process, you would leave with a baseball job.

I was lucky enough to land one of the few non-internship jobs that actually paid a yearly salary, even though the money I made during my one year with the Double-A Cleveland Indians was barely enough to cover rent, fast food and an occasional six-pack of Bud Light. And I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything, but it eventually led me to the Houston Astros.

The PBEO job fair continues to this day, and although it’s a lot more organized than it was back in the mid-1990s, the concept is still the same. Many of the jobs available are internships. A few are full-time. All are for little or no pay, but they provide a wonderful opportunity to break into the business, which could very well springboard into something more fruitful in the future.

The number of PBEO job fair applicants who land jobs is staggering, given the ratio. According to Darryl Henderson, the Coordinator of Affiliate Programs at Minor League Baseball, 404 jobs were posted this week. The number of registered applicants: 470.

If you’re looking to work in baseball but don’t know where to start, you might want to check out PBEO.com.

The applicant workroom also serves as a place to drop off resumes.

The job posting room...dozens of openings, from dozens of Minor League teams.

Each posting includes a number in the right-hand corner. Interested applicants then drop their resumes in a coordinating tray.

When I went through the job fair process in 1995, interviews were done in the hotel rooms of the teams. Now, they have a much better setup: an interview room adjacent to the workroom and posting room.

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MLB.com columnist and MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons weighed in on the Astros’ GM search on Tuesday, noting that the organization is “going through a very thorough process…a very detailed process, very well thought out.”

There is no timetable on when the Astros might make a hire, but I’m pretty sure nothing will be resolved by the time the front office officials leave the Winter Meetings after the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday. The latest names to come out as potential candidates are Royals assistant GM J.J. Picollo and Dodgers assistant GM Logan White. White interviewed for the job four years ago before Ed Wade was hired.

White oversees the Dodger’s amateur and international scouting efforts, while Picollo, who previously worked for the Braves, has made his mark as one of the key people to restock the Royals’ Minor League system with ample talent.

Astros president and CEO George Postolos has made it clear he’s looking for someone deeply experienced in scouting and player development, so it comes as no surprise that the four candidates that have been publicly revealed all have strong backgrounds in that area.

UPDATE: The Astros confirmed late Wednesday night they hired Jeff Luhnow as their new General Manager. Astros Owner Jim Crane will introduce Luhnow on Thursday at 1 p.m. at Minute Maid Park.
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Albert Pujols’ contract status and the Miami Marlins’ splashy spending spree have generated the biggest buzz this week at the Winter Meetings, but on Wednesday, an interesting sideshow became the secondary focus, however briefly, for many reporters.

Major League Baseball has issued a dress code for the media, the first of the four major sports to do so. Among the clothing items now prohibited: flip-flops, short skirts, tank tops and anything that bears a team logo. Ripped jeans, visible undergarments, sheer clothing, one-shouldered and strapless shirts and tops exposing bare midriffs are also banned.

Moreover, skirts, dresses or shorts cut more than three or four inches above the knee are now on the list of no-nos.

You’d like to think reporters already know what is acceptable and unacceptable when it comes to work attire. Unfortunately, it takes only about 15 minutes spent in a Major League press box to realize this is not the case. A Major League stadium is a place for fans to go to have fun in a casual atmosphere, but for those who work in the industry, a ballpark is a place of business. The new MLB dress code simply asks reporters to remember that and act accordingly.

MLB’s guidelines are concise and to-the-point, but if I had a chance to spell this out for the media, I could probably sum it up even more efficiently:

Dude. No one wants to look at your feet.
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Day Three of the Winter Meetings brought all 30 Major League managers together for the annual Manager’s luncheon, where skippers and the reporters who cover them gather for an informal, interview-free hour-long lunch designed to generate good will between teams and the media.

MLB prefers that we not take pictures or tweet during the luncheon, but we were given permission to snap photos along with the official photographer when it was time for the group session:

I dared Brad Mills (front row, second from right) to pose with the American League managers. He laughed at me and declined. Smart man.

American League managers.

Padres manager Bud Black chats with new Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny.

Buck Showalter, Ron Washington, Joe Maddon.

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Next Friday and Saturday (Dec. 9-10), the Astros home clubhouse at Minute Maid Park will be converted into a Team Store featuring the licensed Major League Baseball collection and great deals for holiday shopping.

The sale will also include unique, game-used memorabilia, including jerseys, bats and baseballs.

The “Clubhouse Extravaganza” event will be held on Friday from Noon to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to shopping in and touring the clubhouse, fans will have the opportunity to take photos with Junction Jack and sit in the Astros dugout. Dollar hot dogs and soda will also be available.

Admission to the event is $10, which will be applied to the purchase of merchandise. Free parking will be available in the Diamond Club lot.

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1 Comment

What? No flip-flops, visibile undergarments, tops exposing bare midriffs…

I see a new wardrobe in someone’s future. Is Tags going to be alright?!?!?!
heh heh heh :)

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