Getaway Day on the Road
While Major League teams certainly travel in style, it is often in the dark of the night. Moving 25 players and another 20-or so staff members is a pretty impressive feat. Ed Cassin, our manager of team travel, arranges all the logistics, from hotels to buses to airplanes to, this year, trains (we are training from New York to Boston in August like baseball teams did decades ago).
On a night like tonight (travel after a night game), players and staff check out late from the hotel. Our luggage is trucked out to the airport in advance to speed our postgame exit, and everyone heads to the ballpark. After the game, players eat, shower and talk to the media. Ed usually has the team buses leave about 45 minutes after the last out. Manager, coaches, staff and media travel on one bus, while players are on another.
Once we get to the airport, everyone goes through security before boarding our charter. It generally takes 15-30 minutes to get the plane loaded with our game equipment. We take off as soon as we can.
Where we really get spoiled is the food and service on the plane. There are drinaks and snacks waiting for us as soon as we board. The food in-flight is excellent. On the last flight we could choose between beef medallions or teriyaki chicken (of course, the silverware is now plastic). After dinner, there is dessert, ice cream and candy.
Everyone has their assigned seats on the plane. Ken Williams and Ozzie Guillen are up front, followed by the coaching staff and trainers. Other staff and media fill in the middle, and White Sox players sit in the back. They often listen to music, talk, play cards or sleep on the flight.
When we arrive, our buses meet us planeside.
Our luggage gets shipped to the hotel or ballpark and delivered right to your room by a bellman. The last thing we want is someone hurt carrying a suitcase, but it is sure nice to make one phone call and have your bags.
Tonight, we probably leave the ballpark at 10:45 pm, take off by midnight and then land in San Diego at about 1 am local time. Tomorrow is an off day and guys are looking forward to the day in San Diego to golf, sleep, shop and maybe visit the beach. Off days are rare and precious in baseball.
With two wins in Colorado, the Sox have tied the 1951 team for the best start in franchise history at 39-19. Those Go-Go Sox won their next game to improve to 40-19. Congratulations to Paul Konerko on collecting the 1,000th hit of his career. His glove was re-stitched prior to tonight’s game, and there is no truth to the rumor that he and Jose Contreras practiced glove tossing before this evening’s game. The Sox have been in first place all 65 days this season, just 29 fewer than their combined total of 94 from 2001-04. Chicago has led in 54 of its first 58 games. Pablo Ozuna starts tonight at 3B (leading off) and Carl Everett in LF (batting fifth).