Bases empty, two outs, a 3-1 game, #8 hitter up. Nothing comes down to this.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why Baseball Should Move Its Winter Meetings to Northern Canada

As you're no doubt aware, MLB's winter meetings are going on right now. You've probably spent the last twenty-four hours being absolutely bombarded by MLB Trade Rumors, Twitter, and, yes, Twttr, getting nothing done all day as you await the latest juicy speculation (that was probably based on a team executive being spotted eating a particular type of croissant).

Let's face it, gossip is fun. People love trashy celebrity gossip from websites like TMZ, and baseball is no different. Ken Rosenthal is basically the Perez Hilton of MLB, except, you know, not an asshole.

But gossip is a vice. It's a sinkhole that absorbs us, preventing us from doing anything productive until we can somehow escape its clutch. Sometimes you just need to cut yourself off, even from something you enjoy. Thus, a proposal: move the Winter Meetings to Northern Canada. The Northerlier the better.

Oh, reporters would still be clamouring around the igloo lobbies looking for the latest scoop, but it's a well-established fact that internet tubes and cell phone microwaves freeze anywhere north of 65˚. By the time the Alaskan Malamute-drawn sleds reached civilization, the meetings would be over, reporters would be back online, and we'd receive the whole week's information in a single digestible package, trimmed of all the excess tittle-tattle.

The Winter Meetings should be moved into the Arctic Circle

Plus, there's something disingenuous about an event in Lake Buena Vista, Florida being called the "Winter Meetings". Calling December in Florida winter is like saying the Yankees are in a recession when they have to slash payroll down to $200 million.

There would also be an element of "survival of the fittest" - literally. Baseball executives, unlike the commodities they trade in, are not exactly known to be in peak physical condition. Anyone who can't hack it in the extreme cold could miss out on some great trade opportunities, free agent bargains, and continued life. It would give us great insight into which GMs have the strongest resolve, and which would trade their starting catcher for a box of matches and a slab of elk.

By the time the Rule V Draft rolled around on the fourth day, the best eligible players would basically be up for grabs for any team with at least one executive still alive.

Admittedly, there's a bit of schadenfreude going on here. Baseball owners suck, and agents suck too. The thing of which they have most in their life is money, and yet they spend 99% of their time trying to squeeze every last penny. I would like nothing more than to see them packed like sardines in a communal bunk igloo, devolved into an anarchic melee for the few scraps of food, only able to make guttural neanderthal noises through their frozen jaws. (GMs are okay - they can have cots and canned beans.)

Of course, since the hypothetical Arctic Meetings would be cut off from connected civilization, I would not, in fact, be able to revel in the misfortune of greedy executives in real-time, unless I myself attended the meetings, incurring the inevitably steep travel costs, not to mention the cost of attending the meetings, and of course the harsh conditions. These are sacrifices I'm willing to make.

Holding the Winter Meetings in the extreme north may seem impractical, but there's a hidden advantage that might sway Bud Selig to actually consider this proposal. The Collective Bargaining Agreement expires after the 2011 season, and if MLB wants the players to give in to all its terms, it needs to back the players into a corner, a corner they're so desperate to get out of they'll sign anything. What better corner than a 60-below polar bear crossing?

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