Today the Black Keys released their new album El Camino, so I was already in a good mood when I got out of bed this morning to prepare for the second day of the MLB Winter Meetings in Dallas. As I exited the elevator to attend today’s PR meetings, I saw something that added even more pep to my step – Brewers Director of Media Relations Mike Vassallo (former Reds assistant director of media relations), dressed in a sweater a size too small, was getting his shoes shined.  What’s so funny about a guy getting his shoes shined?  Nothing really, but when it’s Mike – there’s just something amusing about it.  I snapped a photo and showed my fellow MLB media relations folks.  Josh Rawitch of the Diamondbacks saw it, shook his head and said that Mike is a “walking punch-line.” 

One thing about the Winter Meetings is there are a whole bunch of dudes here.  More specifically, dudes in sports coats.  It’s like a 4-day Jos. A Bank commercial.  Most of the guys are mingling in the hotel lobby hoping to land jobs in baseball.  Others are just hanging out enjoying a $7 beer.  Nevertheless, take a Friday night at MLTs and multiply it by 1,000 and you get the Winter Meetings.

Here’s a fountain in the hotel lobby in which I saw John Fay sitting, playing with a toy battleship.

In today’s PR Meetings, we were treated to sessions with MLB historian John Thorn, BBWAA’s Jack O’Connell, Ken Davidoff and Bob Nightengale.  One of the most informative sessions we had today was “2011 Experiences with Crisis Communications” with Washington’s John Dever, Texas’ John Blake and Boston’s Pam Ganley.  Dever talked about the recent Wilson Ramos kidnapping and how the Nats’ media relations department handled that situation.  Blake explained the Rangers PR role in dealing with the tragic death of a fan who fell out of the seats in Texas’ ballpark.  Ganley gave us a rundown of what the Red Sox media relations group was doing to put out the recent fires they’re experiencing in Boston.  All very informative and interesting stuff. 

One of the hot topics over the last couple of Winter Meetings has been social media.  We spent an hour or so today talking about the best practices involving Twitter, blogs, texting, etc.

We’ll be back at it tomorrow morning.  I enjoy the third day of the PR Meetings the most because that’s the day we usually have an open discussion regarding various topics and resolutions.  It’s a good forum to hear what other teams’ media relations departments are doing and what they have gripes about. 

Tomorrow is also the Managers Luncheon where all 30 teams’ managers, PR staffs and beat writers get together for lunch.  I usually get a chance to snap a National League and American League managers group photo.  Hopefully I’ll get to do that again.

I only know as much as you folks regarding the Reds rumors. I can assure you that the Reds baseball operations department is working hard behind-the-scenes here in Dallas. As far as specifics, I’ve got nothin’ for ya – but stay tuned.

They’re playing It’s a Wonderful Life on a loop here in the hotel lobby. I might head down in my pajamas with a bucket of popcorn and watch.


Speaking of Christmas,  don’t forget, I have lots and lots of goodies to give-away when I get back home.  We’re calling it The Umpteen Days of Christmas and regardless of what holiday you celebrate in December, you’re eligible to win something cool.  Several departments within the Reds organization have graciously donated some stuff for me to give to you.  A few examples –  jerseys, game-used and autographed baseballs, a mascot visit for your holiday party and a Reds Heads Kids Club kit.  But that’s not all!  You’ll have to keep logging onto Better Off Red to see what else Burt the “Reds”-nosed Bobblehead” has in his bag of gifts!


I’ll have more stuff from Dallas.

Expect good news,



Love the dancing video. For a second I got excited thinking it was Dusty. Wouldn’t THAT be something?!

I am a father of two girls and a life long of the Reds and I havn’t missed a game on radio or TV for the last two years other than when I went to Australia , New Zealand and Samoa and I paid money at internet cafe’s to watch the reds. I am also raising my daughters to be reds fans too…Sincerely Joseph Johnson

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