Winter Meetings Day 1: Opryland's most likely swimming spots
As we recalled on Sunday, the greatest moment of last year's Winter Meetings was unquestionably this unidentified attendee faceplanting into a pool near the MLB Network set.
While this year's Meetings have relocated from Dallas to Nashville, the threat of unintentional watersports actually looms larger than ever. The Gaylord Opryland, with its myriad rivers, ponds and lagoons, is a veritable minefield of water hazards. So where is surprise swimming most likely to occur? Let's count down the top five locales:
5. Collecting autographs in Nashville requires serious pavement pounding. After a full day stalking managers and GMs from the Cascades lobby to the Delta ballroom, one weary Sharpie jockey lowers himself into this Garden Conservatory pool for a revitalizing soak.
4. They say the camera adds 10 pounds, and Karl Ravech doesn't like taking chances. After Baseball Tonight wraps its late edition, the host is spotted donning his water wings for a few laps around ESPN's water-based broadcast set. Reports of a Speedo sighting remain unconfirmed.
3. With the ink freshly dried on Josh Hamilton's new Blue Jays contract, Alex Anthopoulos is ready to celebrate. Toronto's GM treats his entire baseball ops staff to dinner at the Old Hickory Steakhouse, where Kansas City strip and whole roasted lobster cost only slightly less than the average option buy-out. But even the luxury tax-inducing bill can't deflate AA, who's heard yelling "Je suis le roi du monde!" before swan diving off the adjacent waterfall.
2. The Japanese media contingent has staked out the Cascades lobby day and night, waiting for Theo Epstein to arrive in Nashville and shed some light on his team's recent Kyuji Fujikawa signing. When the Cubs president finally makes his statement, the hoard of reporters is so large that it flows out of the lobby and into the Falls bar and lounge. Unable to hear Theo speak, several reporters roll up their pants van de Velde-style and wade into the nearby fountains for a better vantage point. Fans in Tokyo are forever greatful.
1. Secrecy has served Brian Cashman well in recent offseasons, but the stakes are even higher this time. Any leak of the trade that sends Alex Rodriguez to Boston would scuttle the entire deal. So Cash and Ben Cherington pay their $9.50 plus tax and take to the only truly private location within the Gaylord Opryland: the Delta Riverboat. The pair is close to wrapping up negotiations when disaster strikes -- a gondola full of reporters is fast approaching. "Fine, we'll cover his hair bleaching expenses!" the Yankees GM yells to his Red Sox counterpart as he whips out a pinstriped snorkel and dives overboard to avoid detection.
-- Ian Kay / MLB.com