First Impressions from the Winter Meetings - 9:51 p.m.
Arriving in Indianapolis to cover the Jays, I found a city already awash in blue.
Driving to my hotel, I couldn't help but notice all the Colts fans still walking (drunkenly stumbling?) around the downtown streets, many long hours after their team's "Titan"-ic win over visiting Tennessee. Yes, their city will be the centre of the baseball universe this week, but the football Colts, with their still-perfect 12-0 record, are undoubtedly the locals' sporting obsession.
Quarterbacking the Blue Jays contingent this week, in a hotel complex located just a few long bombs away from "Peyton's Place" (aka Lucas Oil Stadium), is General Manager Alex Anthopoulos. In an exchange of text messages a few moments ago (he was eating dinner, after all), he told me this is his eighth trip to the Winter Meetings. It's safe to say this visit to the annual gathering of baseball's who's who will be entirely different for the Montreal native than his previous seven.
Anthopoulos, largely unknown even in Toronto just four months ago, will for the next four days be the most closely watched and talked about executive in Indianapolis. Will he trade the best pitcher in baseball or elect to hold on to Roy Halladay, giving Toronto one more season's worth of house calls from the Good Doctor? That's undoubtedly the most pressing question of these Winter Meetings.
Helping Anthopoulos with the answer to that question will be a group of five others from the Blue Jays Baseball Operations Department that travelled here - Assistant GM Tony Lacava, Special Assistant Dana Brown, the newly installed scouting directors Andrew Tinnish and Perry Minasian (Amateur and Pro Scouting respectively) and Mike Shaw, Manager of Team Travel.
Having now touched down in the home of the Colts, Anthopoulos and company are hoping to score with Manning-like efficiency. They certainly want to leave Indianapolis on Thursday with decidedly better results than Vince Young and the Titans did earlier today. One way or the other, we will have continued updates on the Jays in particular and the Winter Meetings in general in this space through the next four days.