Well here we are back in Atlanta after a trip up to Pennsylvania for a week to play the Pirates and the Phillies. While I wasn’t able to do much sightseeing on this past trip – one of our games in Pittsburgh was rained out and the weather was bad all week – so it’s definitely good to be back here in Atlanta for nearly two weeks. It’s very unusual for any team in the Majors to be home for more than a week, so this is a special chance for us to not only spend some quality time at home, but also pick up some wins against some great teams – the New York Mets and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
When in the airport I picked up a magazine that surveyed the best airports in the country. As someone who has traveled to more airports than I want to remember, I feel like I’m a pretty good judge of what cities are good to fly into, and what cities aren’t. Pittsburgh, for those of you who may be frequent travelers to the Keystone State, has one of the best airports in the United States. Last year, business travelers who wrote in to the magazine ranked it as the 9th best airport in the U.S.
I saw that Portland was ranked No. 1 (too bad Portland doesn’t have a Major League Baseball team), followed by Washington-Reagan, Tampa, and Milwaukee. I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a “business traveler” in the same respect that you all do (the Braves travel on one of Delta’s chartered planes), but I’m interested in knowing from you: what is your favorite airport, and why? I have my top three:
#1 – Atlanta: it’s my hometown airport and we fly so much in and out of there that I feel like I know everyone at Hartsfield. Plus, there is nothing like landing at home.
#2 – Green Bay: Austin Straubel International. In the off-season, I go up to Wisconsin to see family and we always fly into there. You know those places where you land and you think “I have nothing but really good memories from this place and this airport.” Well, this is the one for me. Plus, it doesn’t matter if it’s February, May, or October….at least 50 percent of the people in that airport will be wearing Green Bay Packers gear at one time. Besides, I’ve always wanted to know who Austin Straubel is. Ha.
#3 – Pittsburgh: Totally underrated. That place has everything. I’ve heard people try to fly into their as a layover just because the airport has so many places to shop. It’s a tie between Pittsburgh and Charlotte, but since Pittsburgh’s a baseball town I’m going with Pittsburgh.
On Monday, we had our first ‘off-day’ in nearly two weeks. Baseball players do different things on off-days. Some go fishing, some go golfing, and some just relax with friends and family. One thing we all do, though, is stay away from picking up a bat and a mitt. This time, I took the day to just drive around the northern Atlanta suburbs with my wife, Catie. When you travel as much as I do, you forget how nice it is to just spend time with the ones you love, even if it’s doing something as simple as running errands. Yesterday, we did just that. It was a great off-day.
On the baseball field, we are right in the thick of things in the National League East. We’re two games out of first place at the moment, but we’re in 4th place. The Marlins, Mets, and Phillies are all just a few games ahead of us. Even though we aren’t playing our best baseball, I’m confident that this home stand will be a great chance for us to pick up some games, especially because we are about to open up a four-game series with the New York Mets and we’ve been playing great baseball at home. Right now, we are one of the best teams in baseball at home, with a 16-5 record, and we need to capitalize on that. Tomorrow is actually Delta Day at the ballpark. I’m really looking forward to that because earlier this year I spent some time passing out free tickets at Delta’s Employee Block Party to as many kids as I could. I love seeing as many kids out at the ballpark as possible. Without a doubt, kids are our biggest supporters. It doesn’t matter if I hit a home run or I strike out with the bases loaded to a kid. They are always there supporting the Braves.
After we play the Mets and the Diamondbacks (who won the NL West last year), we head up to Milwaukee and Cincinnati, two teams in the NL Central that can really scare opponents. Certain road trips always seem to bring teams together, and Milwaukee seems to be one of those places. Maybe it’s because there isn’t as much to do in Milwaukee as there is to do, say, in New York or Washington, and because of that, guys on the Braves team seem to do the same thing. In Milwaukee, we tend to go out to eat after a game together at the same one or two restaurants, and the camaraderie then extends onto the baseball field. I’m hoping that will happen to us again this next road trip.
Enjoy your travels, wherever they may be. I’ll check back in with you all after Milwaukee. And remember, keep those comments coming.
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