Monday, December 7, 2009

Keith Law rips my hometown

Because why wouldn't he? ESPN's Keith Law takes some time to rip Nashville, or the Opryland Hotel, one of the sites in the Winter Meeting rotation. Why?

I spoke to several front office executives about the winter meetings and the site selection, and they all agreed on one thing: The winter meetings should never, ever return to the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, which three of them referred to as the "worst hotel ever" for the confab. One GM said that "it's difficult to prove" that the Opryland makes it harder to accomplish anything, "but it's certainly not conducive because you can't find anybody." Another called it "the biodome" and said "people get sick by the time they're done because you never breathe fresh air." A third said, "I wouldn't care where they are as long as it's not there." Yet another executive was kinder, saying "it's a beautiful hotel, but completely out of place for working baseball meetings; I spent a week in it and had no idea how to get anywhere." I have attended two winter meetings there myself, one with the Blue Jays and another as a member of the media, and I agree with all of the above sentiments and more (I even ranted about it after the 2007 meetings).

Nashville's not an easy or inexpensive place to fly to, and the Opryland soaks guests and non-guests at every opportunity, yet Minor League Baseball is committed to returning there every few years, including a repeat in 2012. There's really no reason why MLB has to tag along in '12 to a location that member clubs seem to so widely despise, especially when the location itself interferes with the work that many teams hope to get done at the event.

Beyond the shared loathing of Nashville, there wasn't much unanimity among the executives I polled.

To hell with Keith Law. But the Opryland Hotel is hard to get around.