Well we’re getting ready to fly up to Chicago for the start of a very important, 10 day trip that will take us here, then to Los Angeles, and then to Dallas, Texas. At least the trip got off to a good start for me financially, as we thankfully didn’t arrive in Chicago late last night, which would have given Catie a full day to walk the streets of Michigan Avenue!
The team is coming off a three game sweep at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies, and because we are one of the very best teams in baseball at home (we’ve struggled on the road), this weekend was a wake up for our club. Baseball is a game of streaks. When teams are hot, everything is great. The flights across the country don’t nearly seem that long, and the questions the media ask are fun to answer. When a team loses a few in a row, as we have, the flights become quieter, and the questions become tougher to answer.
Flying on Delta
On this flight up to Chicago it will be all business. I’ve been working with our coaching staff to help determine what I need to do with my swing to get me back to hitting at a higher average. On the flight, I’ll look to see if I can spend time going over some of my at bats on a portable DVD player that we can use to see some of our highlights, etc.
Different teams do different things on flights. I actually heard that the Colorado Rockies put their players’ swings on video Ipods and let them watch their at bats on the plane that way. Some guys like to take flights as their ‘personal’ time away from the media and the crowds. It’s an opportunity for them to read a book or check out the stock market or even check out the box scores of other players/friends. It’s a bit surreal to open up the newspaper on an airplane and read about yourself and all your friends. And people write about the Braves every day.
As we get towards the months of June and July my off the field routine became more and more structured. It’s so incredibly hot during the summer months, particularly in Atlanta, that it’s too hard to play baseball at the level I want to on the baseball field if I’ve spent a lot of my energy out on the golf course in the morning. People ask me all of the time what I take on a road trip. Ha, I wish I had something better to tell them. I did not take my golf clubs on the trip, even though Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas have some incredible courses. I did take about six dress shirts, four or five ties, and three different suit jackets/pants. That way, I’ll never double up on the road and make the “rookie” mistake that we all make.
I did hear about a story involving a player on the San Francisco Giants rookie who forgot to bring his belt on the road trip. Well, he figured “oh, I have a belt. It’s the belt I wear during my games” and tried to sneak out to the bus on the last day of a road trip wearing his San Francisco Giants uniform belt with his suit. Now that is what I call a real “rookie mistake”!
Is there one item you can’t leave behind “on the road”?
NOTE: Last week was Delta Day at Turner Field in Atlanta. The picture shows me signing an incredible painting that artist (and Delta employee!) Adam Pinsley produced to be auctioned off for charity. It’s almost a life-size portrait of me, and you can tell from the pics how honored I was to sign it.