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Trade show highlights Winter Meetings opening night

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ONE ARMED BANDIT: Trade show vendor Chad Smit takes a swing at one of the entertainment pieces offered at the trade show.

By Chuck King

NASHVILLE – Considered by many minor league officials the most exciting part of the Major League Baseball’s winter meetings, the baseball trade show opened its doors Monday night to a cavalcade of eager baseball personnel.

The convention floor can be a wonderland for major league and minor league general managers looking to spend money. Interested shoppers can purchase new seats, scoreboards or fields.

For the minor league crowd, however, promotional items grab top billing. With vendors offering everything from schedule magnets to key chains to mascot outfits, the show offers one-stop shopping for interested minor league executives.

Attendees munched on free burgers, chicken fingers and meatballs while surveying the vendors during the three-hour opening night. Most visitors simply wanted to see new products. The serious business usually waits until Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Minor League Baseball formally honored its top organizations during a lunchtime awards banquet. Midland accepted to John H. Johnson president’s trophy as the organization that best exemplifies a complete minor league franchise.

West Michigan snagged the Larry McPhail trophy for promotions. The Whitecaps twice claimed Promotion of the Day honors from for “Neil Diamond Night” and “Send in the Clowns.” Both promotions took place in August.

Kinston general manager Shari Massengill won the Rawlings Women Executive of the Year award and Sally league president John Moss took home the Warren Giles award, presented annually to a top league president.

Between the awards banquet and the trade show opening minor league exes jumped from seminar to seminar in the business expo, while eager job seekers wandered the job fair.

Baseball’s Winter Meetings continue throughout the week at the Opryland Hotel.

Memphis bound: Major league baseball is coming to Memphis. MLB announced on Monday that the Chicago White Sox will play the New York Mets on March 29 in the second annual Civil Rights game.

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Check out my blog for more on wild minor league promotions and minor league baseball.



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