Today marks the first full day of baseball’s Winter Meetings, that wonderful annual gathering in which baseball executives text each other trade proposals in closer physical proximity to one another than is usually the case while baseball writers repeatedly get drunk at the same hotel bar. This special event comes with its own vocabulary. Here, then, is a guide to all the terms one might need to know:
Kicking the tires on: This term uses the popular baseball slang “tires,” which is another term for “knees.” In this scenario, the interested team is kicking the player in question in the knees repeatedly to analyze his capacity for pain.
Making strong push for: The team demonstrates its strength to an attractive free agent by inviting him to watch the general manager move a football blocking sled.
Closing in on: The team’s front office will surround the player until he has no choice but to listen to an offer. (The popularity of this technique and the need to be competitive here is responsible for the growing size of baseball operations staff in recent years.)
Willing to listen to offers: The general manager of a club has written his last will and testament, designating a lower-ranking staffer to entertain potential deals on his behalf once he has been fired for exploiting Latin American teens.
Checking in on: The team sends an unpaid intern to wake the player periodically throughout the night and see how he is doing. This provides important information on both the player’s sleep patterns and the cleanliness of his bedroom.
Trade scenario: A beloved Jerry Dipoto fantasy that never loses its allure, no matter how many times he finds himself returning to it.
Have been in touch with: The team has extended an offer to the player to join them for a viewing of three to five episodes of Kiefer Sutherland’s short-lived FOX drama Touch.
High on wish list: Every team, at all times, has a piece of paper on which they write the free agents they’d most like to pursue. If they are particularly interested in a player, the team will grind the paper into a powder which the player then smokes, until he can be said to be high on their wish list.
Hot stove: A.J. Preller is in the kitchen, one extra button undone on his ill-fitting shirt, heating up canned soup.