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Offseason Package will take fans inside Winter Meetings
Looking for a holiday gift? The MLB.com Offseason Package is about to take every subscriber inside the Winter Meetings -- in a way that redefines decades worth of news consumption habits surrounding the most important gathering between baseball seasons.
For only $14.95, this package also will bring you: live video and audio from select Spring Training games; Team Alert text capability from MLB.com Mobile; access to all 2006 MLB.TV and Gameday Audio regular season and postseason archives; and a 10 percent discount off your next MLB.com Shop purchase by year's end.
But the absolute clincher with the MLB.com Offseason Package is what happens starting Monday at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The annual five-day event is where Major League Baseball organizations converge, fueling the Hot Stove with signings and trades. Subscribers will have access to exclusive live broadcasting each day from the scene, which combined with MLB.com's comprehensive free coverage, gives fans unparalleled content.
Each day the live programming will kick off from noon to 1 p.m. ET with a specialty show such as "Fantasy 411," "Around the Minors" and "GM Corner." That is followed from 1-3 p.m. by "Baseball Today" with Vinny Micucci and Jim Leyritz. Then comes the "Hot Stove Special" from 3-6 p.m. with Seth Everett and Billy Sample, followed by "Under the Lights" from 6-8 p.m. with Peter McCarthy and Ed Randall. From 8 p.m. on each night, the menu includes live coverage of news that will just keep coming, and throughout the day there will be guests galore to plug you in like you were there.
Manager interviews will be aired during the "Baseball Today" live broadcasts on Tuesday and Wednesday. Fourteen managers are scheduled for interview sessions on that first day, and 15 more on the second day (sans Joe Torre). MLB.com will have all 30 club beat reporters on the scene and immediately providing stories from those sessions, so the multimedia chat sessions are an example of the bonus coverage that MLB.com Offseason Package subscribers will receive.
On Tuesday, Sample will emcee the Baseball America Gala from 3:30-6 p.m., with taped interviews of award winners being provided for subscribers.
On Thursday, MLB.com and MiLB.com will blanket-cover the Rule 5 Draft, and subscribers will be able to see the entire proceedings live from 8:45 to 11 a.m.
Whenever there is a blockbuster news conference to be aired -- last year it was Alfonso Soriano creating the big waves; who will it be this year? -- that will be simulcast for all MLB.com users. No one without a subscription is going to feel left out, but having one just feels like a starter who added an untouchable pitch to his repertoire. You will need this package to be the most immersed Winter Meetings follower on the baseball planet.
That bonus content should go hand-in-hand with the coverage about to be delivered by your favorite MLB.com writers. Jim Molony will be filing multiple updates of "Whispers" throughout each day. There will be a nightly wrapup of the entire Winter Meetings scene, as well as nightly wrapup stories for every club. You will find breaking news as it happens and national columnist Mike Bauman's take every day. It's everything you will need to know about what your team is up to -- and maybe just as importantly, what your team's opponents are up to.
The Winter Meetings always have been newsworthy, even if it wasn't always quite this easy to be a fly on the wall. They are a big part of baseball lore, and they have come a long way since that annual "convention" that was held by the National Association of Base Ball Players between seasons in the years leading up to the Civil War.
At the Winter Meetings in February 1934, New York Giants player-manager Bill Terry made an infamous remark: "Is Brooklyn still in the league?" The Dodgers would make him eat those words by beating the Giants twice in the final weekend of that subsequent season, allowing the Cardinals to win the National League pennant and title.
In December 1960, Hollywood legend Gene Autry was in St. Louis with hopes that he could secure a broadcasting contract for KMPC, his Los Angeles radio station. The "Singing Cowboy" wound up as the owner of the expansion Los Angeles Angels, because no one else at those meetings had come forward to bid for the team.
At the 1971 Winter Meetings, from Nov. 29-Dec. 3, Major League teams combined to make 15 trades while swapping an unprecedented 53 players. Many of the moves had great consequences, such as an eight-player Cincinnati-Houston deal that brought Joe Morgan to the Reds and sent Lee May to the Astros -- making room for Tony Perez at first base as the right half of a future Big Red Machine infield was solidified.
Then there were the 2000 Winter Meetings, during which Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez struck gold.
Every event has had its own signature moments. It's where Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was voted the game's first commissioner before the 1921 season. It's where owners in 1950 voted in St. Petersburg against renewing Commissioner Happy Chandler's contract for a new term. And it's where a special vote was held by baseball writers in 1939 to get Lou Gehrig into the Hall of Fame without the usual one-year wait after retirement back then.
It's where the baseball world will be centered starting Monday, and with a subscription to the MLB.com Offseason Package, you can be closer to all of the events than anyone. This applies to everyone, because even those who have had MLB.com subscriptions to such services as MLB.TV will need to order for access to this. It will make a perfect holiday gift for you or someone else.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.