December 4th, 2016
Today was my first day at the 2016 Winter Meetings, and boy, was it one hell of an experience. Here is a full recap of my jam-packed day at the Winter Meetings:
I arrived via Amtrak, which turned out to be a fairly convenient way of getting to the Nation’s Capital. I then used Uber, which I’ve been fairly hesitant of using considering you really don’t know who your driver is, but I was impressed by a friendly driver, who told me that National Harbor is very excited for the Winter Meetings, as it’s scheduled to drastically increase and improve business.
I immediately noticed that this Gaylord, called “Gaylord National” was considerably more compact compared to the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville where the meetings were held last December. It’s not nearly as magnificent or opulent as the Opryland Hotel, however, it does have a certain quaint quality, and it is definitely more navigable.
The Check-In desks are located directly to the left from the entrance, with separate areas for Elite Members and General Registration.
Being a Marriott Platinum, I proceeded to the Elite Member desk, and was helped by a friendly representative, who explained to me the layout of the hotel, and gave me a room on the seventh floor overlooking the Atrium and the Potomac River.
After checking in, I got my first glance at the stunning atrium, which was complemented by a beautiful Christmas Tree:
The room is fair, nothing photo-worthy, but the necessities are all there. Good TV, Good View, clean, spacious and it even has a small little balcony. After settling in, I actually decided to head down to the National Pastime Sports Bar & Grill to eat lunch, as I had zero breakfast.
The National Pastime is a good grill, with American comfort foods. Our waitress recommended the Pulled Pork Sandwich, so I went with that. It was good, but didn’t taste exceptionally unique, but, I’m not a food critic, and I didn’t complain.
I then did some circling around the atrium, ballroom and overlook and found a merchandise stand located adjacent to the Trade Show registration desk, which I will be covering on Tuesday (stay tuned) A little more walking around, and I ran into Greg Amsinger, the host of MLB Network’s Emmy Award winning program, MLB Tonight.
I was really in awe when I met him, and I’m not just saying that. One of the reasons I started this blog was because of Matt Nadel, a Baseball history writer who also started blogging at a young age. He always praised Amsinger, and I’ve watched him on MLB Network since 2009.
Speaking about MLB Network hosts, I met Brian Kenny, the host of MLB Now, and formally of Clubhouse Confidential in the building lobby.
Mr.Kenny informed me of his signing at the Gaylord which might take place on Tuesday for his book, Ahead of the Curve. This event will be open to the public, so, if your in the area, keep an ear out and check Mr.Kenny’s social media accounts, I’ll be there.
Next, I went to head down to the shops, which are located on the ground floor. Lo and behold the guy that was behind me was the Mets Field Reporter, Steve Gelbs.
If there was an award for most likable reporter, Mr.Gelbs would win. Frankly, I was a little nervous talking to him, as I didn’t plan any dialogue, but my father was very excited to see him as well, and he cheerfully accepted to take a photo with me.
At this point it was nighttime, so I went to take some additional photos of the scenery here, and I was surprised to see that there is a lightship in the Atrium at nights.
Before heading to dinner with my parents, I stopped by the second floor, where ESPN, SNY, MLB Network and all the other major TV Networks that broadcast live from the meetings, and I was amazed to see a taping of MLB Tonight in person.
Overall, this was a great first day, and I met people I’d never imagine meeting. I still have two more full days here, and I’ll be sure to cover every minute of it.
- The Gaylord National is one of four Gaylord locations worldwide, there is a fifth location being built in Colorado, called Gaylord Rockies.
- The Gaylord National Hotel & Resort was built in 2008.
- There is approximately 2,000 (yes, 2,000) rooms at the 19 story hotel.
- There are seven restaurants on property.
- The hotel has hosted other major events, like MAGFest, the Republican National Committee, Katsucon, Miss America, and other noteworthy events.
- The hotel lies only 8 miles south of the Nation’s Capital
- The hotel is owned and managed by Marriott International, which is a worldwide chain with thousands of properties.
- The Gaylord will also host the Trade Show and the Job Fair, in addition to the Winter Meetings.
Today is December 4th 2016, lockout fears are behind us, the Mets are in good shape, and the Winter Meetings have officially begun.
As of the writing of this post, I’m in Newark, New Jersey, on Amtrak train 155 enroute to Union Station from where I’ll be traveling via taxi to the Gaylord National Hotel & Resort. This is my second year attending, and, as a Marriott Platinum member, I love how MLB seems to always pick a Marriott brand hotel for the Winter Meetings.
Now, everyone is going to the Winter Meetings for a different reason it seems, and I would like to clarify what I’m going to be doing at the Meetings:
I will be going to the Winter Meetings to cover the venue, the atmosphere and the scene. I will not (at least I believe) be breaking a story on a big signing. I will be doing some interviews, some videos, and will be attending some marquee events like the Trade Show.
This should be an exciting three days, so be sure to tweet me with any questions you may have @NikoMetsPlus or use the #WinterMeetings and I’ll be sure to reply promptly.