Matt, I wish you luck during the upcoming season! I was just wondering what travel is like for a professional baseball player? Do you guys fly everywhere or do you take team buses from city to city?
Hey Andrew, thanks for the question. A few weeks ago I received a question about living arrangements in the minors and how that works. Travel kind of works like our living arrangements do. It really depends on the team you are playing for and the league you are in.
For my first year and a half in the minor leagues, from short season single-A through double-A we strictly took bus trips. Usually after a game is over you would shower, pack up your stuff, and jump on the bus for the next city. We would drive through the night, sometimes for three or four hours and other times for twelve or thirteen hours. If it was a close trip we would pass the time by watching movies or playing cards. I bought one of those little wireless air-cards so I could pass the time on the Internet. They are pretty cool, but when your driving in the middle of no where the service gets pretty shitty, which only pisses me off for the rest of the drive. If it was a long trip most of us would pass the time by sleeping. Some guys bring sleeping bags and sprawl out on the floor. I go with the rest your head against the window approach. It isn't really comfortable, but if you remember to bring a pillow or sneak one out of the hotel it isn't too bad. (Sorry La Quinta)
I always said I couldn't wait until I was able to stop taking buses and fly from city to city. That was until I got to Triple-A the following year. I have heard it said that the Pacific Coast League has the worst travel schedule in professional sports, and I totally agree with them. Most of our flights are very early in the morning, usually around 6:00 a.m. That means we need to be on the team bus to head to the airport around 3:45 a.m. Almost all of our flights are connecting flights. The toughest part about flying is if you have a series out east. By the time you arrive in Memphis or Nashville you have to go straight to the park and get ready to play. You learn how to drink a lot of Red Bull come July.
The best travel is obviously in the big leagues. You have your own chartered flight. You don't have to go through security. You get real food on the flight and not a bag of three year old cheese nips. And the best part of all is once the game is over you jump right on the plane and take off. You don't have to worry about getting up at 3:00 a.m. for your flight. Anytime I feel tired in a workout or don't want to go hit for a 5th day in a row during the off-season I think about those Triple-A plane flights and head running out the door to get working.