Trade Show features hundreds of vendors

Winter Meetings staple has everything from herbal snuff to hot dogs

Jerseys, caps, balls and concessions represent a fraction of the items on display at the Trade Show. (Danny Wild/MiLB.com)

By Benjamin Hill / MiLB.com | December 9, 2015 11:00 AM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Baseball Winter Meetings Trade Show, an event that has grown exponentially through the decades. This iteration, held within the nine-acre indoor resort that is the Opryland, featured well over 225 vendors representing all facets of the baseball industry.

What follows is a brief photographic and video overview of the "best" that can be found therein.

Bad Habit Alternative -- Chewing tobacco is banned at the Minor League level and discouraged in the Majors. So what's a dugout denizen with an oral fixation to do? Smokey Mountain herbal snuff comes in a wide variety of flavors and can even be swallowed (whether accidentally or on purpose is for the user to decide). The first ingredient listed on the label is molasses, and kudzu root plays a role as well.

Snuff
Smokey Mountain Snuff is available in seven varieties, including peach and wintergreen. (Danny Wild/MiLB.com)

National Pastime Scrapbook -- If you, like me, are a fan of traveling America through baseball, then you probably amass a healthy collection of ephemera along the way. Pass-Port Sports has created a line of passports, including one dedicated to Minor League Baseball, that allows fans to mark where they've been on a map, store ticket stubs, write journal entries and more.

Passport
The Minor League Baseball Pass-Port features a map showing all 160 Minor League teams. (Danny Wild/MiLB.com)

Rock and Roll Theme Jersey -- KISS has never been shy about merchandising, to put it mildly, so perhaps it's not surprising that KISS jerseys are now available via the pop culture theme jersey powerhouse that is OT Sports. Soon after I visited, El Paso Chihuahuas general manager Brad Taylor tweeted that he had just committed to be the first team to wear the KISS jersey. The ballpark will be "Alive" that night.

KISS
OT Sports has been a licensed partner of Minor League Baseball since 1999. (Danny Wild/MiLB.com)

Philanthropic Endeavor -- This year, a charitable component was introduced to the Trade Show. Upon entering, attendees were invited to assemble food and toiletry-laden gift bags that will be delivered to local armed services members. The bags all bore personalized messages of support from those who did the assembling.

USO
MiLB charity partners include the ALS Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Special Olympics and Bat for the Cure. (Danny Wild/MiLB.com)

Free Lunch -- Perhaps the most popular booth at the Trade Show was Red Hot Chicago, a division of Vienna Beef. Hungry vendors and attendees were lined up throughout the day to procure a genuine Chicago-style hot dog. Those who wanted one with everything -- mustard, pickles, sport peppers, relish and celery salt -- simply had to say "Drag it through the garden." I guess that's what they do in Chicago.

hotdog
Red Hot Chicago has been in the hot dog business since 1893. (Danny Wild/MiLB.com)

Rhythmic Diversion -- The Skillville Entertainment group, perpetually headlined by the Zooperstars!, has added Bucket Ruckus to its roster of touring ballpark acts. These two energetic gentlemen are known for pounding on paint buckets (see below), but they also are adept at leading the crowd in a synchronized air drumming routine.

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MiLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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