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Opryland Hotel keeps secrets, guests lose time

The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Billy Beane has one of the more apt descriptions for the site of this year's Winter Meetings.

"It's like living in a biosphere," the Oakland Athletics general manager said. "You don't see the sun. You don't see the moon. It's like you're trapped in a different universe."

Yes, the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort is huge. It has over 3,000 guest rooms, four lobbies, 20,000-square-foot spa and fitness center and over 600,000 of meeting space.

In many ways, Opryland is the perfect place for the meetings. There is plenty of space for not only the major-league part of the meetings but also the minor-league side that includes a large trade show exhibition.

Much of the Winter Meetings experience is about socializing and information gathering, though.

Club executives, scouts and players agents trade information with their counterparts from other clubs. Media members scan the lobby looking for morsels of news.

From that aspect, Opryland is just about the worst venue for the meetings. Heck, it's not just hard to find somebody, it's difficult to even find your room.

For example, it took one writer 35 minutes to get from the lobby to his room after checking into the hotel Sunday night on the eve of the meetings.

"It's a really nice place but it's kind of overwhelming," Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "I don't ever want to leave my room because I'm worried I'll never make it back."
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