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Thread: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi...&date=20071209

    Hot pants and opera: True baseball stories
    By Larry Stone
    Seattle Times baseball reporter

    The winter meetings are a perversely invigorating ritual of the baseball calendar, forever evolving but still the best surge of free offseason publicity the sport has ever devised.

    That holds true even when they fizzle, as was largely the case at the just-completed meetings in Nashville, the Tigers-Marlins blockbuster notwithstanding.

    Fans love trade rumors with a fervor that never fails to amaze — love them perhaps more than the eventual trade itself, which has the potential to be exposed, sooner or later, as a fateful paragon of miscalculation.

    Back in the good old days, long before Blackberries and cellphones, general managers would meet late at night in the bar, hash out a trade, shake hands and move on to the next deal. At least that's the steadfast nostalgic image as related by baseball lifers.
    Legend has it that at the 1974 winter meetings in New Orleans, the Phillies and Tigers consummated a midnight blockbuster in which the Tigers were to send veterans Bill Freehan and Jim Northrup to Philadelphia for catcher Bob Boone and pitcher Larry Christenson.

    In the morning, however, when everyone had sobered up, the Phillies executives had no recollection of the deal, and nixed it.

    Maybe it happened, maybe it didn't. Folklore is as much a part of the winter meetings as reality.
    It wasn't folklore, however, when Cubs GM Jim Hendry finalized negotiations with free-agent Ted Lilly during last year's winter meetings from his hospital bed, where he was recovering from an angioplasty.

    I can also vouch for the reaction to the totally unexpected trade that was announced in 1990, when Pat Gillick of the Blue Jays and Joe McIlvaine of the Padres orchestrated a whopper: Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter to Toronto for Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez. It was the only trade announcement I've ever witnessed that was greeted by an audible gasp from the assembled media.

    It hearkened back to the more innocent days, when White Sox owner Bill Veeck and one of his executives, Roland Hemond, put up a card table in the hotel lobby in 1975 with a sign that said "open for business."

    Former Padres GM Jack McKeon, aka Trader Jack, once consummated a trade while waiting in line to check out of the hotel, separated from his GM counterpart by two customers.
    In 1997, executives from the Giants and Indians revived trade talks in the middle of the night and finalized the Matt Williams/Jeff Kent trade in the lobby while dressed in bathrobes and slippers.

    But that's nothing compared to the deal that Brooklyn Dodgers GM Buzzie Bavasi (Bill's dad) and Milwaukee Braves GM John Quinn made in 1953. The two had haggled all day, with Quinn intent on landing Andy Pafko from Brooklyn. As Quinn's son, longtime baseball executive Bob Quinn, relates the story, Bavasi finally told John Quinn he was retiring to his room.

    "My dad said, 'Let me come up for 15 minutes,' " Bob Quinn said. "Up in the room, Buzzie starts to take off his clothes, and my dad starts taking off his clothes, too. 'John, what are you doing?' Buzzie asks. My dad said, 'Buzzie, I'm getting into bed with you until we get the deal done.' "

    Pafko was eventually traded to the Braves.

    There are a million stories from the winter meetings, which bring together every team's executives, all in one hotel for four days.

    I've covered about a dozen of them, for three newspapers, in disparate locales such as New Orleans, Louisville, Boston, Dallas, Miami, Anaheim and Nashville — though any reporter will tell you the site is irrelevant. I've always said they could be in Paris or Topeka, and it wouldn't matter. You virtually never leave the hotel, particularly now in the days of around-the-clock coverage propagated by blogs and the Internet.

    But that's OK, because if you left, you might have missed some magical moments over the years. Here's a few that I'll never forget:

    • Jim Bowden of the Reds, in 1999, calling a news conference to declare that the Ken Griffey trade with Seattle was dead because Cincinnati absolutely was not parting with Pokey Reese.

    • Bowden, parading around the winter meetings one year in not one, but two pairs of leather pants, one brown and one black. It remains an unprecedented clothing statement by the usually staid members of his profession.

    • The time that I asked a scout from the team I was covering if a rumored deal was going to happen. I saw his boss approaching, rendering the scout unable to talk, so I jokingly told him, just before the other fellow arrived, to wink if it was true. I chatted with the two of them for several minutes, and then, as my source started to walk off with his boss, he turned around and gave me a dramatic wink. The trade was announced the next day.

    • Three years ago, a baseball reporter from The Washington Post who is an accomplished pianist and trained opera singer was holding court at the lobby piano in the wee hours of the morning. He was singing bawdy self-penned songs to an audience of reporters. One of the songs, to the tune of "Stand By Your Man," concerned Jason Giambi's much-publicized link to the BALCO investigation.

    Sure enough, as the Post reporter was belting out the song, who should walk by but Yankees GM Brian Cashman, accompanied by Padres GM Kevin Towers. Cashman stopped and listened to the song. Then, without skipping a beat, he pulled out his wallet, dropped a dollar bill in a tip jar on the piano, and walked off.
    /r/reds

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    post hype sleeper cincinnati chili's Avatar
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    Re: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    Good stories. They forgot the 2001 winter meetings in Boston when Jim Bowden refused to talk trade with then-Dodger-GM Dan Evans unless Tommy Lasorda was brought into the room.
    ". . . acquiring J. Blanton from Oakland for, apparently, Bailey/Cueto, Votto and a lesser prospect. I do it in a second . . . The Reds' equation this year is simple: Make Matt Belisle your #3 starter . . . trade for Blanton, win 85 or more, be in the mix all summer." - Paul Daugherty, Feb. 8, 2008

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    Re: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    In the morning, however, when everyone had sobered up, the Phillies executives had no recollection of the deal, and nixed it.
    Gawd that would have been an awful trade for the Phillies, both Northrup and Freehan would be out of the game in year or two.

    Thank god for Chaser

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    Sounds like good material for a reality TV show
    Go Gators!

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    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Re: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    This is begging to be someones signature!

    Bob Quinn said. "Up in the room, Buzzie starts to take off his clothes, and my dad starts taking off his clothes, too. 'John, what are you doing?' Buzzie asks. My dad said, 'Buzzie, I'm getting into bed with you until we get the deal done.' "
    :ughmamoru
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

    --Woody Hayes

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    No half measures, Walter RedEye's Avatar
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    Re: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    I may have missed something during the Bowden days, but why the heck did he wear those leather pants? Was he actually the kind of guy who could pull that sort of thing off fashion-wise, or was it some kind of ill-advised ironic statement? Worse yet, was he the type of guy who thought he could pull off the look but really couldn't?
    "I’ll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. That’s just how I do things.” -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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    Re: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    I have heard a lot of awful Jim Bowden stories in the past. A real creep. I don't know how he has a job.

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    Little Reds BandWagon Reds Nd2's Avatar
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    Re: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario-Rijo View Post
    This is begging to be someones signature!

    :ughmamoru
    Now, that is a real commitment to excellence. Someone should have asked Mr. Krivskey just how far he was willing to go to get a trade done.
    Quote Originally Posted by AvesIce51 View Post
    I have heard a lot of awful Jim Bowden stories in the past. A real creep. I don't know how he has a job.
    He just stole Lastings Milledge from the New York Mets. That's how.
    "...You just have a wider lens than one game."
    --Former Reds GM Wayne Krivsky, on why he didn't fly Josh Hamilton to Colorado for one game.

    "...its money well-spent. Don't screw around with your freedom."
    --Roy Tucker, on why you need to lawyer up when you find yourself swimming with sharks.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    Quote Originally Posted by AvesIce51 View Post
    I have heard a lot of awful Jim Bowden stories in the past. A real creep. I don't know how he has a job.
    In my albeit short time in the professional world I've found that snake-oil salesman who can cite the occasional miracle healing usually find no shortage of willing customers.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    Quote Originally Posted by RedEye View Post
    I may have missed something during the Bowden days, but why the heck did he wear those leather pants? Was he actually the kind of guy who could pull that sort of thing off fashion-wise, or was it some kind of ill-advised ironic statement? Worse yet, was he the type of guy who thought he could pull off the look but really couldn't?

    In reality, there is no man who can pull off the leather pants look - but many who think they can.

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    I hate the Cubs LoganBuck's Avatar
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    Re: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    Quote Originally Posted by RedEye View Post
    I may have missed something during the Bowden days, but why the heck did he wear those leather pants? Was he actually the kind of guy who could pull that sort of thing off fashion-wise, or was it some kind of ill-advised ironic statement? Worse yet, was he the type of guy who thought he could pull off the look but really couldn't?
    It was briefly popular for men to wear leather pants, around 1999-2000. It was a very short fad, the best commentary on it was when Ross had the pair of leather pants on Friends. Pretty much explained the rise and fall of leather pants.
    The Sox traded Bullfrog the only player they've got for Shottenhoffen. Four-eyes Shottenhoffen a utility infielder. They've got a whole team of utility infielders.

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    RaisorZone Raisor's Avatar
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    Re: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    Quote Originally Posted by MrCinatit View Post
    In reality, there is no man who can pull off the leather pants look - but many who think they can.
    Bono can pull it off.

    All hail Bono!
    "But I do know Joey's sister indirectly (or foster sister) and I have heard stories of Joey being into shopping, designer wear, fancy coffees, and pedicures."

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    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    Quote Originally Posted by Raisor View Post
    Bono can pull it off.
    All hail Bono!
    I stand corrected!

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    No half measures, Walter RedEye's Avatar
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    Re: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    Does Jim Bowden think he is the Bono of MLB GM's?
    "I’ll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. That’s just how I do things.” -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: Leather Pants and Opera: War Stories from winter meetings past

    Quote Originally Posted by RedEye View Post
    Does Jim Bowden think he is the Bono of MLB GM's?
    He still hasn't found what he's looking for.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"


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