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Traveling for Work… Whether You Like It or Not!

November 27, 2009

Anthony Reyes is a San Francisco Bay Area native who now travels the country as a trainer for the Fresno Grizzlies, the Triple A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.  Unlike most who travel for leisure, his experiences on the road are part of a job that reflects the lifestyle of an up and coming professional ballplayer.

Getting "called up" to the big leagues

The recent Travelverse blog, “I Make Love to Travel,” inspired me to write about my travel experiences as an athletic trainer in the Minor Leagues. We’ve all dreamed about becoming a big league superstar. Making the big bucks, driving the fast cars, flying from city to city, you know, living the dream. However, to get there as a player, one has to experience the grind of minor league baseball in order to appreciate the lavish big league lifestyle. As an athletic trainer in minor league baseball, 50% of my job involves making sure 25 players, coaches, and a radio guy get to the city of destination on time and in one piece. I don’t fly the plane, but coordinating and communicating with bus drivers, airports, hotels, visiting equipment managers, etc is one of many responsibilities. Oh, and I’m responsible for the health and well-being of these athletes too. What I do love about my job though is that I do get to travel to cities that I would have never gone to had it not been for baseball. Harrisburg, PA, Manchester, NH, Albuquerque, NM, Des Moines, IA, just to name a few. Not exactly the bright lights of NYC or the windy city of Chicago, but each city has a unique quality that makes traveling to these destinations fun and exciting.

Hadlock Field, Portland, ME

For example, Portland, ME, home of the Red Sox Double A Portland Sea Dogs, is where you can find a fresh Maine lobster dinner for $20 at J’s Oyster restuarant. Not bad, if you’re on a minor leaguer’s budget. Baseball is played in series so you get to stay in a city for 3-4 days depending on the schedule. Games are usually at night, so you can spend the morning sightseeing trying to hit up at least one local landmark during your stay. Bowie, MD, where the Orioles Double A affiliate is located, is only a 30 minute drive from Washington, DC. In 2007, we had a day off in Bowie so me and a pitcher rented a car and checked out our nation’s capitol. In some cities, the ballpark itself is considered a landmark. In Reading, PA, FirstEnergy Stadium has been around since 1952 and has been the double A home for the Philadelphia Phillies since 1967. It’s also the home of the famous crazy hot dog thrower, something you’ll have to see for yourself!

Boarding the team charter

The grind of the Minor Leagues is the 142 game schedule and the modes of transportation when it comes to travel. Whether it is on bus or puddle jumpers from one city to the next, players and coaches dread travel day because in most cases, they have to suit up and play that same night. Imagine playing an 11 inning game in Fresno, CA that goes until 11pm at night and wake up the next morning at 4:30am to catch a 6am commercial flight that stops in Phoenix then goes Colorado Springs. Not to mention that at 6:35pm Mountain Time, there’s a game to be played! As an athletic trainer, it makes for quite a day. Team bus times have to be coordinated from airport to hotel (praying all of the equipment made the trip), hotel to ballpark and back to hotel after the game. You’re working on 3 hours of sleep and trying to stay awake for 9 innings hoping no one gets hurt. And the worst thing is, in 3 days, you’re gonna have to do it all over again.

For the 2010 season, I’ll be traveling all over the country, working with the Fresno Grizzlies in the Pacific Coast League. I plan on being a frequent contributor on Travelverse to share travel experiences from a baseball/athletic training perspective. So stay tuned as Spring Training 2010 is just around the corner…

-Anthony Reyes

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