The annual Baseball Winter Meetings are known for one thing: clothes. So what can we expect? GMs are notoriously tight-lipped about what they've been trying to acquire and unveil during the meetings but here are a few predictions.
Billy Beane sets the trend. I'll start off with a safe one, since everyone knows that. A few weeks ago he shaved off his stache so look for other GMs to follow suit and be clean-shaven (at least at the start of the week). He was wearing a Salvatore Ferragamo suit (see below) on a recent scouting trip to South Korea so I expect to see a lot of those this week; of course, Billy will have already moved on to the next inefficiency.
A rookie will commit a faux pas. Who can forget Jack Zduriencik's debut at the '08 meetings where he failed to wear a belt? It set his club up for years of losing. Or, for you old timers, Brian Sabean's fly unzipped for the whole second day back in '96? All eyes will be on Dave Stewart, Jeff Bridich, Farhan Zaidi and Matthew Silverman. Stewart will get some slack because he's an ex-player. Bridich is a bit of an unknown and his black suit at his first press conference has some already questioning his competency. Zaidi is a Beane protégé so expectations are high but he has the pedigree to meet them. Silverman is an Andrew Friedman protégé so expectations are low and he may not even meet those.
LA changes Andrew Friedman. Friedman is infamous for his "prep school casual" non-style. He could get away with that with Tampa Bay because, well, it was Tampa Bay. But he stepped up big-time when he took the job with the Dodgers. I think he'll show significant improvement.
Rick Hahn continues to be a 2 WAR performer. We've hoped that Hahn would realize his potential as an above-average fashionista who doesn't follow trends but sets them. I think his July 2 signing performance put that hope out of my mind forever. However, he ordinarily performs well at Winter Meetings and, based on some "inside" information (see interview below), he has the pieces in place to put together a solid if unspectacular showing.
In what I think is probably the greatest "get" in the history of South Side Sox, Jean Hahn was kind enough to answer a few questions about her husband's wardrobe skills and habits.
SSS: How would you describe Rick's style?
Mrs. Hahn: Basic, conservative, unadventurous.
SSS: How have you tried to shape his style?
Mrs. Hahn: Yes, "try" is a good word for it. I guess I've made some progress. You should've seen the garbage he wore while we were dating. A lot of cargo pants and multi-colored polos. I buy him clothes but he just refuses to wear them or will only wear them when he's staying at home. Some people say that he's still young and there's still some projection in him but I think with guys like Andrew Friedman and Theo Epstein out there with more experience than Rick, they think Rick must still be young. But he's 43 and, looking at the aging curves for GMs, that's when they level off or even begin to decline.
SSS: What's in his suitcase for the Winter Meetings?
Mrs. Hahn: Since it's San Diego, he brought out some of his lighter wool suits, a new grey one and a couple of his old standbys. Those can be dressed up or down, depending upon circumstances. I've been more focused on building up his winter closet for SoxFest and potential free agent signings so it's mostly pieces that we've all seen before. There are a couple new shirts and a couple new ties that will pop nicely with his suits.
SSS: Tell us something about Rick's closet that we don't know.
Mrs. Hahn: Rick, as you know, grew up a Cubs fans. After he joined the White Sox, he told me he'd quit them but I suspected that he was lying. He'd sometimes come home early from work on weekdays. He'd immediately change out of his clothes and put them in the washer but I'd still smell Wrigley on them. One time I heard him watching a baseball game in the den and, when I walked in, he was watching the Cubs playing the Pirates. He told me he was "just scouting the Pirates for work" and pointed to the screen saying "this Mackowiak kid is something special". I told him I didn't believe him. A few months later the White Sox traded for Mackowiak and he came home from work and said "See, I told you it was for work".
It was early in the 2006 season on a Sunday and I was cleaning out the closets. Near the back of Rick's side of our closet, I found some dark colored button-downs that looked just awful. I started to take them off their hangers and I was shocked to find Cubs t-shirts and even a Kerry Wood jersey concealed underneath. I called Kenny [Williams] and told him this was the last straw. Kenny came out to the house and we confronted Rick. At first, he denied it but when I brought out the t-shirts and jersey, he broke down and finally admitted that he had been unfaithful. He agreed to go to counseling. After a year of intensive and challenging care from a physician, he finally could admit that the Mackowiak trade was just to cover up his infidelity. It's still tough for him, we have to pay particularly close attention to him during White Sox-Cubs series, but he's doing a lot better since.
SSS: As the wife of a GM, how hard is it to be constantly compared to Angelina Jolie?
Mrs. Hahn: It's not easy, that's for sure. I'll be out buying groceries or something and the paparazzi will be asking me why I'm not touring the Middle East gathering information for the United Nations on Syrian refugees. Well, unfortunately, I haven't been in movies that have grossed $5 billion worldwide so I don't have a team of nannies and personal assistants so I have to do the shopping and take care of my kids.
SSS: What should we expect from Rick in the future?
Mrs. Hahn: Ever since the fire-pit incident, he's been avoiding pieces that are particularly flammable. This winter, he's been favoring wool blazers, since they are flame-resistant. He also hasn't worn much nylon, which I think is a great thing. He's always wearing those White Sox windbreakers at work and it's like "No shit, Rick, you're the GM of the team. You don't need to wear the logo at spring training and during interviews at the Cell, everyone knows you're with the White Sox."
SSS: Finally, were they black or blue?
Mrs. Hahn: I know but I'll never tell!