I went to the Winter Meetings Trade Show and it was OK

17 Comments

On an afternoon where the rumors are weak and the deals close to non-existent, I felt that a trip to the Winter Meetings Trade show was in order.

For those unaware, the Trade Show is where some 300 exhibitors hawk wares ranging from caps, blankets, foam fingers, shot glasses, sports insurance, stadium architecture, concessions, bats, stadium seats, uniforms, mascot costumes — Utility Man — and any number of other odd things. It’s geared more towards the minor leagues than the majors, so if you see fun things at you small town ballpark this summer, someone probably got the idea for it at the Trade Show.

I walked around and took in the sights. Among them:

source:

 

You like? I kinda like. The guy at the booth told me they sell them to teams for, like, $5 and they sell at the ballpark for $14.99. Just so you know.

 

source:

 

I like a racing 1983 Harold Baines costume, I just don’t know where I’d wear it.

source:

 

Wow. I thought I dreamed the ostrich thing for the Reading Phillies — er, the Reading Fightins. Guess not!

source:

 

Find the real people in this picture.  Yep, it’s the taco and the mustard!

source:

 

This is the sexiest thing of the Winter Meetings so far.

source:

 

I’d like a Fergie Jenkins for my minor league park, but I already have a Mickey Lolich and a Robin Roberts and at some point I feel like I’m just buying too much.

source:

 

 

 

But really, if anyone wants to buy me this, I’ll take it. And I’ve never even been to Eugene.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
4 Comments

Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.