Mick in Orlando – Disney World, What’s Up Doc, TSA

Disney World

It seems as though there are five cities the Winter Meetings rotate through: Nashville, Dallas, New Orleans, Anaheim, and Orlando. Now that I have been in the industry for some time, I’m starting to run into these places for the second or even third times.

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This year the meetings are in Orlando and one of the most interesting things about Orlando is the hotel. The Swan and Dolphin hotel is actually in Epcot, and I can even see the iconic Epcot Center from the hotel boardwalk.

Something else that Orlando totes over the other cities is that it is the home of Disney World. If there is one thing you can count on at Disney World, it is that you will be engulfed by the seemingly infinite desserts. Everywhere you turn there are sweets staring you in the eyes, in fact in the hotel they had a full Christmas scene made entirely out of chocolate. This filled the entire photo 1lobby with the aroma of the tantalizing treat. All of this makes it very tough not to give in to temptation. One saving grace is the price tag on all of these desserts, which make them slightly less desirable.

All that aside, on my last day here I broke down and decided to get myself a treat. I purchased a very special ‘Mickey Mouse’ strawberry shortcake cupcake. It was spectacular and without a doubt worth ever penny.


Today I got the chance to speak with Tim Wilken. He was just recently promoted by the Cubs as the new Special Assistant to the President/GM. Wilken is one of the best scouts in major league baseball and is part of the group that will help the Cubs select their draft picks in the upcoming annual First Year Player Draft.

Wilken might be most noted for the time he spent working in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, where he help select players that would eventually lead the club to back-to-back World Series titles back in 1992 and 1993.

One of the players that Wilken scouted and helped sign in the Blue Jays organization was Roy “Doc” Halladay. Halladay a long time Blue Jay, and former Smoky, was scouted by Wilken as early as high school. My interview with Tim recounted his perspective on the entire career of the ace, that become one of the most dominant pitchers in the game.

The 36-year-old who pitched for Knoxville (’97), and the Smokies (’01), decided to throw in the towel after shoulder issues last season, and two days ago announced his retirement. In a ceremonial gesture he signed a one day contract with the Toronto Blue Jays so that he can retire where it all started. Halladay was an eight time All-Star and won the Cy Young Award twice, once in the American League and again in the National League. He also boasts a career 203-105 record to go along with a highly respectable 3.38 ERA.

Doc’s accomplishments go beyond the numbers, in 2010 he tossed a perfect game against the Marlins, only the 20th in MLB history. Later the year in his first post season start he recorded the first no-hitter in the playoffs since Don Larsen’s perfecto in the 1956 World Series. He is only one of five pitchers to record two no-hitters in the same season. Halladay was also the active leader in career complete games with 67 over his spectacular 16 year career.


The most difficult part of my profession is the travel. While it can be fun and exciting, there are a lot of things that make it stressful, and actually a hassle. Once I arrive at my destination things are normally great but the in-between can be another story.

Today in particular was a very rough travel day. When I arrived at the airport and there was a huge line at the gate for Southwest. The airport staff did a great job of getting the hundreds of people through the steps of checking their bags and getting their boarding passes so that they could be on their way.

photo 2The next step of the airport is security, and while the check-in staff did a great job of moving people through, airport security did not. In fact I don’t think I have ever seen a worse TSA staff in all of my time traveling. I spent over an hour making my way through security and got to my flight with only five minutes to spare. There were a lot of anxious moments where I wasn’t sure if I would make it.

Winter Meetings wrap up tomorrow with the Rule 5 draft.

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