I went with Jeff Erickson this year to Arizona to draft RotoWire's AL LABR team (Jeff took the NL).
A few observations about LABR:
- The field of owners is pretty strong - there were no regular guys this year, and everyone in that room knew what they were doing.
- They didn't provide for an auctioneer, so Jeff agreed to do it. I then said I'd do it for the NL, which drafted the following day, especially because Jeff made it look easy.
- After the three or four hour draft, we drank beer and played poker until three in the morning before heading back to the room to do work. We had to get up reasonably early for a Baseball Prospectus sponsored talk with Pads' GM Kevin Towers and Mariners' GM Bill Bavasi before the Pads-M's game. Needless to say, I was dog tired when we had to get up and go to the park.
- Towers looks like an ex-athlete turned middle-aged golfer, still in good shape and wearing a polo shirt. Bavasi looks like an ex-biker-gang member/meth cook gone straight after some close calls with death. He's tall and lean with a long skinny shaved head and goatee.
- Towers was the more charismatic of the two, and he was pretty forthright about what the GM job entails. Some highlights included him saying at one point he realized Rickey Henderson was more valuable to his team than Tony Gwynn in the late '90s.
- After hearing from the GMs, we took in six innings of the game. Dewon Brazelton looked good and Francisco Cruceta threw gas. Also got a look at Kenji Johjima who got a hit, but it was hard to conclude much.
- We made it back to the hotel in time for a 40 minute nap, then it was off to the Arizona Republic offices again for the LABR draft which started 45 minutes late because two of the participants got into a minor car accident.
- I was the auctioneer, and on two days of little sleep, I realized it was work. I kept at it, but not only did I have to sell off all the players, but I had to turn around and write the purchases on the wall behind me. Some of the sheets of paper were low on the wall, so I had to squat down to write them. Being on your feet for four and a half hours, while talking loudly the entire time and intermittently having to turn and squat down to write player names on three hours of alcohol-tainted sleep is trying. I made it through, even if I had to ask a few times right after selling a player which player it was before writing it down.
- After the NL draft (which along with the AL draft I'm told took less time that any LABR drafts ever thanks to Jeff and I), it was back to drinking and poker until three am.
- The next day Jeff and I caught the Cubs-A's game with BP's Joe Sheehan and watched Angel Guzman pitch well, along with Santiago Casilla (fka Jairo Garcia).
- Then we did the six hour drive back from Phoenix - the last hour of which was a downpour when we got to LA.