Minor League Odyssey – Day Eleven – Interlude
by, 08-10-2012 at 07:05 PM (867 Views)
I pull into the parking lot of the motel just north of Baltimore and get a room for the night. I lay back on the bed for a minute and I realize one thing – I am tired! So tired that I decide to throw dietary cautions to the wind and call the local Pizza Hut for a delivery. As I knew it would be, it has been a long haul these past couple of days, heading out from Fort Myers on Thursday morning, stopping for the night in Somewhere, South Carolina, and then continuing on today through North Carolina, Virginia and on into Maryland. The timing turns out lousy, and I hit the Washington/Baltimore complex just in time to catch the start of rush hour as the people head out early for the weekend. In my mind I tell myself that this is a preview of tomorrow, when I work my way through New York City (although hopefully, being Saturday, it won’t be that bad). But! – the goal has been accomplished. I am now about five hours away from Hartford, which will allow me to get in early enough to rest a bit before heading out to New Britain Stadium.
The tiredness is actually something that I appreciate, as it fits in to a larger theme I had in my mind when I first conceived of this trip. When I first got the notion to do this, back in April, I thought it would be neat if, as much as possible, I use the trip to get just a sense of what it’s like to be a professional ballplayer in the minor leagues. The schedule worked itself out nicely, as this time in August and the relative location of the teams lent itself to working my way up the system – from Beloit to Fort Myers to New Britain to Rochester – just as a player would hope to do. (Yes, going to Elizabethton after Beloit breaks the pattern, but at some point the concept had to give way to practicality, and that seemed the best way to handle it). The long drive up the coast that I have just about knocked off gives me perhaps a taste of the long bus trips that minor league players have to make. Like the players, I find myself having to grab fast food on the run, even if I know it isn’t really the best for me, and I have to carve time into my schedule to do an occasional load of laundry and the other necessary housekeeping chores that are a part of life. I have to watch my money, staying in relatively cheap hotels (some of which should be castigated with limp noodles for what they call a “continental breakfast”) and living out of my single suitcase. When I first started making my schedule I also had it set up so that, even on my “off” nights, when I wasn’t near a Twins affiliate, there would be a farm club of another MLB team in the area whose game I could attend (and in one case a National League game), to simulate the every-day nature of the professional game. That last part was dropped when I decided that the main point of the trip was to have fun and not have it be work, and that an evening off every now and then might be a nice thing for a person of my age. I decided that, as much as I love baseball, going to seventeen games in seventeen nights would probably test even my limit.
So here I sit, on an off night (getting ready to follow the Twins game long-distance), realizing that the trip is over halfway done, having enjoyed what I have seen so far, and looking forward to the games that are ahead.