Behind the scenes at the winter meetings

The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is home to the 2016 winter meetings, where the futures of many teams and free agents will be determined. Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Editor's note: This is an update of Jim Bowden's article which originally appeared in December 2015.

With baseball's annual winter meetings heating up just outside Washington, D.C., the people who wheel and deal -- general managers and executives -- will check in to the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. like everyone else … except they'll get the sweetest suites available. (The place is huge -- 2,000 rooms, with 110 of them being suites.)

This is for good reason. These suites serve as a home base for trade talks, free-agent negotiations and organizational meetings for each team during one of baseball's busiest weeks.

Armed with his many years of experience as a major league baseball exec/GM, Jim Bowden lays out what life is like "in the big suites."

The setup

Ah yes, the suites. They're nice, complete with adjoining rooms or mini-suites; they'd be a great place to sleep in -- though of course GMs won't get to do much of that.

Major League Baseball provides a map of all 30 suites to make it easier to move between meetings, though it still can be confusing at an enormous hotel. Usually the traveling secretaries and their assistants will have arrived the day before to set up the suites so they're ready for service. That's important because once the execs arrive, it's a 24/7 operation.