China arrival…first Akasaki post
We are now in Beijing, 15 hours ahead of Los Angeles. Plenty of thoughts to share, but we’ll start with the hero who got us here, Scott Akasaki, our team travel manager. As I mentioned, he’ll be adding to the blog this year and here’s his first post…
TEAMWORK, SEATTLE AND REST
Putting together the first two Major League Baseball games in China has not been easy. It has been the work of a small army of people working in collaboration from such cities as Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, Peoria, Vero Beach, Beijing, and Tokyo. The games, the travel, the hotels, the sightseeing, Chinese visa procurement, and all the other detailed logistics have been a collective effort – from concept to fruition, the groundwork set forth has been complex and has involved every level of cooperation, understanding, and patience.
Amongst all the work put in by everyone involved, I can only offer a singular viewpoint to the China Series – that of the Dodgers’ Traveling Secretary. To say the least, there have been many phone calls, e-mails, text messages, and long days putting the Dodgers’ team travel together. Over the next few days, I hope that I can provide you, the reader of this blog, with some different insight into how I view the China Series experience.
China is very far away. Our journey started yesterday, Tuesday, March 11th, when we took three buses from Vero Beach, Florida to Orlando. We stayed overnight at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress and then flew five-and-a-half hours to Seattle, Washington. We were able to stretch our legs for about one hour and many of us, walked around the terminal, sipped Seattle’s Best Coffee, or purchased magazines and gum – many had changed out of their departure-day business casual attire into comfortable athletic warm-up gear. (I forgot to bring a change of shoes so I walked the terminal with my black dress shoes and my Under Armor sweats.) During our technical stop, everyone seemed to be on their cell phone calling loved ones. Arriving in Seattle meant we were one-third the way there.
As I write this, we are approximately 6 hours (or 2,952 miles) away from Beijing. About two hours ago, we flew past Anchorage, Alaska and many of us took photos of a snow-capped Mt. McKinley. Some brought video and digital cameras to record this historic trip. It’s not everyday you get to see the tallest mountain in the United States above the clouds. Some of us were even lucky enough to take a peak into the cockpit and see the skies from the pilots’ vantage point.
Back in Vero Beach, where we begun Spring Training on Valentine’s Day, the time is now 1:00 am. Inside the plane, all the lights are off, many are asleep, and I hear snoring behind me. Perhaps rest is the best idea for us right now because upon arrival, I imagine everything will be a blur: a morning workout; a trip to the Great Wall of China; a formal welcome dinner; two day games against the Padres; and then a return to the United States. We will fit all those activities in three days. Good night for now with more to come from Beijing.