I'm starting this thread for anyone who has a comment following the hot stove meeting. If you went, what did you think? I'm also looking for reports from Thursday's press conference and the NLR Chamber of Commerce banquet, in case anyone would like to tell us what went down.
Update: There are some posts in the comments section with reports from Wednesday night's hot stove meeting, and here are some more thoughts and observations ... Travs GM Bill Valentine opened the meeting with this line: "We can't start the meeting as yet. Travelerocity hasn't gotten here."... Valentine had a few great jokes, but I won't repeat them because he was testing some of them for the NLR chamber banquet... The scoreboard at Dickey-Stephens will be the second-largest in the Minor Leagues and will show replays. The size will be larger than the screen monster at Ray Winder Field. I once mentioned to NLR Mayor Pat Hays the importance of a Major League scoreboard at the new park, and he liked that idea because he wanted to have camp outs at the stadium where attendees can watch something on the big screen at night. Glad he listened, and thanks to Warren Stephens for paying the extra money for a first-class scoreboard. Now here's hoping they show lots of MLB scores so that we feel connected with the rest of the baseball world while watching the Travs... Opening night at Dickey-Stephens will feature a commemorative baseball to the first 4,000 fans, the largest Travs fireworks show ever after the game, and a tribute to the Dickey brothers hosted by Pat Summerall... Valentine said the exhibition games are out of his control because MLB teams are required to play them during spring training, and few teams are willing to break camp early to fly off to the Minor League city with the exception of teams like the Cardinals who own the Double-A affiliate and others who made it part of the under-the-table deal to sign the Minor team... The Travs will have three times the staff they had at Ray Winder. Sounds like a real professional operation they've got going in the new park. I was impressed... Most of the Sunday games will be at 6 p.m. with a few exceptions in the early part of the schedule... I was thoroughly impressed with new manager Bobby Magallanes. He came off as a real quality person. I think Central Arkansas is really going to like this guy. He said he made his Double-A debut with the Jackson Generals at Ray Winder Field... Angels farm director Tony Reagins said that if Erick Aybar doesn't make the Angels in spring training, either he will move to center field or Brandon Wood will move to third base at Triple-A Salt Lake... Valentine had some funny comments about the sewage system going bad at Ray Winder and how they discovered remnants of tin cans holding parts together... Thanks to Petit Jean Meats for the great hot dogs and the beer distributor for providing the kegs... Clunker Car Night will continue at Dickey-Stephens... One promotion late in the season will be to give away the red LR hats... Why don't more people come to this? It's free beer, people... The Travs will probably hold an open practice on April 3 where fans will get a first glimpse inside Dickey-Stephens... The Travs won't get the keys to Dickey-Stephens until around March 23, and Valentine foresees some understandable glitches on opening night... The outfield wall, at least in one corner (not sure if I heard the whole thing correctly), will only be 4 feet high. Prepare for some Fenway shenanigans!... The new Travs.com web site will debut in a few weeks with a train theme and might include old commercials of Valentine's many antics over the years... Jose Arredondo will indeed be a closer to give him a better shot at reaching the big league... During Riverfest, people with Riverfest buttons will get into the game for a discount... The July 4 game has an early start, and fans are invited to stay in the park to watch the annual fireworks from the river... Yes, Lavin and Valentine did indeed make cracks about Shelly, who was performing some antics to the side of Reagins when he started speaking. Pete, we can't get rid of Shelly. This mascot has developed into something that can't be replaced. Part of the appeal is making fun of Shelly, I guess, but this mascot has gained cult-like status. Shelly predicted one win this season in the run around the bases, which would match last season's total... And most importantly, Valentine asked Reagins if Greg Porter was going to return this season. Reagins pleaded the fifth. If the Angels don't bring back Porter, they don't care about you the fan.