Viva Las Vegas: Baseball's winter meetings are underway

Greetings from fabulous Las Vegas! Stew Force One has landed at the luxurious Bellagio to bring you all of the color from baseball's winter meetings, so long as your Head Steward doesn't bust out at the craps tables or go into some sort of food coma.

As it stands, I've already blown through the $5,000 marker Yahoo! advanced me to play baccarat, listened to Jeff Passan as he told me his life dream is to appear in Cirque Du Soleil's O and later teamed up with my fellow Yahooligans for a lobby brawl with some mouthy ESPN.commers. I don't need to tell you who won.

OK, so none of that is true — I actually doubled that 5K marker — but I did share an elevator with Mr. Scott Boras himself this morning. After recovering from my initial surprise to see him behind the elevator doors, we exchanged a pair of pleasant good mornings and he seemed to be in a jovial mood. (He probably doesn't participate in C-a-C much.) Unfortunately, our elevator ride ended before I could ask for his representation in getting more money from the boss in future negotiations.

I'm actually not sure what to expect over the next three days, but I can tell you that so far it's been like any other Vegas trip, only with random sightings of baseball figures sprinkled in.

Among them: Last night, Lou Piniella held court with reporters at a Bellagio bar while off-duty waitresses and dancers (9s and 10s, the lot of 'em) slinked by on their way to Caramel and The Bank. Tommy Lasorda stood in the lobby, shaking hands and taking pictures with passerby. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti passed the blackjack table I was playing at, which made me wonder what I'd rather have — unlimited gambling funds for LA's children or two years of Manny Ramirez?

The press conference festivities are about to get underway in this ballroom — Greg Maddux is officially retiring today, remember — and I'll be providing updates from here and the lobby throughout the day. You can follow my Twitter feed here and make sure to read all of my Yahoo! colleagues as we try to resist the temptations of Sin City to bring you some actual baseball news.

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