So a typical road trip starts with packing weeks worth of clothes. You play your last home game; guys get showered, and have a post game meal. You talk to the one media guy who does the radio broadcast and writes for the team website. You then load up your equipment on the team bus, meanwhile waiting for your 17-year old clubby to get your personal stuff washed for the trip. The coaches are in the office calling in the game reports, and you are thinking at your locker, how did I miss that pitch in the 4th inning? Oh the agony of thinking you should never miss that cookie the pitcher threw you. Then you look at your .245 batting average and think, maybe that’s why you missed that pitch.
After an hour passes, you go outside the clubhouse and find all the Cali boys hanging together, spewing out “dude” nonstop in their conversation. Then you see the Latinos talking to each other 100 miles per hour like they are ready to fight each other, and you think to yourself, where in the world am I? The bonus babies are packing up their 20 pairs of batting gloves, 3 fielding gloves, and 10 bats with their name engraved on it. As you pack your 4 bats, you start to think that your name is “Pro-Stock” (that is what is on bats that are not personalized).
Time is getting closer to head on the bus, and every player is on their cell phone, talking to girlfriends, fiancés, wives or their buddies from back home before the luxury 7 hour bus ride to another hole in the wall town. Finally the assistant coaches start calling for the players to load the bus, then the fun really begins. Latinos sit together, check. Coaches and trainers in the front of the bus, check. All guys 6’ 3” and above sitting alone, check. If you are a smallish bench player that signed for nearly no signing bonus, you have to find a comfortable seat where the guy next to you won’t snore and doesn’t smell. You finally find your seat, and the team picks a movie to watch before everyone crashes for the night. Different guys have different tastes in movies, so when a movie that you don’t like comes on, you fall asleep really quickly.
Every bump on the highway you jump as if you were falling off of a cliff, then back to sleep you go. You hope to find a window seat because if not, the guy sitting next to you wakes up every 2 hours to use the disgusting bathroom in the back of the bus. Man those toilets are so horrible you begin to realize how sanitary those Port-O-Lets really are.
Fast forward 6 hours and the sun is coming up, and your neck is as stiff as a board. You feel like you slept a total of 30 minutes, when 7 hours really just did pass. With drool on your chin and everyone on the bus with bed head, you finally pull up to the local Days Inn. Some guys jump straight into bed after unloading the bus, and others such as me, look for the local Denny’s to get a bite to eat. After breakfast you either chill out watching Sportscenter 20 times, or try to get a couple of hours of sleep before getting ready for the game. The early bus leaves for the field around 3:00, and then the final bus leaves at 3:45. The 1st bus is typically for the guys who need medical treatment or for the guys who are tired of being in the hotel. The entire team is finally at the ballpark and the home team is taking batting practice. Teammates talk about the guys they faced in college and the big-time prospects on the other team. The team stretches while trying to dodge the final round of BP from the home team, and now it’s finally your turn. Finally thoughts of the 7 hour ride and the stench coming from the bathroom are finally gone. Its game time!! It’s a 3-game series, then back on the bus for another 6-7 hour trip. Oh the joy of life on the road in the minor leagues.