The latest post from Team Travel Manager Scott Akasaki…
I am in amazement at the volume of e-mails, text messages, and cell phone calls I make throughout the course of a typical work day. Like other professions, the advent of the BlackBerry has transformed the speed at which the Major League Baseball traveling secretary can conduct business. Flights, hotel reservations, rental cars, ticket requests, and any other special handling can now be managed with one’s wireless device. I happen to use the BlackBerry Pearl and I pray that it always has battery life and the keys do not malfunction.
Last night at a postgame dinner, I wondered out loud how the traveling secretary’s job was done without a cell phone or e-mail as recent as 15 years ago. Joe Torre said that with the improvements in communication (cell phone, e-mail, text messages, fax machines, etc.) player moves (promotions, send downs, rehab assignments) occur with more frequency and rapidity than ever before. Research would probably support the theory that player movement is more prevalent now than in the decades before.
The other night when we called up Clayton Kershaw from Jacksonville, his travel arrangements (and the communication to get him the proper information) were all made through e-mail and text messages. His travel was booked and the information was given to him in less than 30 minutes — all this while I was in Denver and he was on a bus headed toward Jacksonville. A grasp of technology has certainly given those in professional baseball the freedom to move at a much more rapid pace.
Quite a performance by Derek Lowe tonight…how often do you see six perfect innings twice in the same homestand???
More than anything, I’m sure everyone was happy to see Andruw come through the way he did. It’s a start, but I think I was more excited about the way he broke up the double play and the reaction the crowd gave him when he came off the field. Please keep that coming…it goes a long way and there’s no one out there who knows how disappointing the season has been more than Andruw. But every bit of support can hopefully help him turn the season around.
Meanwhile, here’s the latest blog from Scott Akasaki, our team travel manager…enjoy!
WHAT WE DO ON THE TEAM PLANE
On the team plane, our players, coaches, and Dodger-affiliated media do a variety of things to occupy our time. On the most recent road trip, I went down the lone center aisle of our Delta Air Lines 737-800 team charter to gauge what exactly it is we do when flying. Our broadcasters are a hard-working group and a lot of them do research on the upcoming opposing team. They read statistics, study the opposing team’s media guide, and garner information from other reference sources. Our coaches generally do their homework on the opposing team as well – they read scouting reports, look at video, scour in-depth statistics, and talk with each other about strategy. Their job of course, is to develop a game plan to help Joe Torre put our players in the best situation to succeed. The players are a mixed group. Some read, some watch movies or television shows on their DVD players or laptops, some sleep, some play cards, and a good number eat from our wide-variety catered menu.
In general, the longer flights tend to illicit more naps and more food consumption. There are about 65 people in our traveling party, which usually includes: players; coaches; on-field support staff; trainers; broadcasters; a PR representative, Dodger-affiliated media support staff; an interpreter; a traveling secretary; a video coordinator; baseball operations executives like our General Manager Ned Colletti or our Assistant General Manager Kim Ng; and perhaps some immediate family members. By the end of the season, we will have spent over 100 hours in the air, spread out over 33 flights, and covering more than 34,000 miles. Throw in our mid-spring trip to China and that’s a lot of time in the air in seven months.
As a reminder, there’s a live chat today at 2 p.m. PT with Logan, De Jon and Tim Hallgren.
Also, a great write-up on Sons of Steve Garvey about the Father’s Day Catch for those who didn’t get a chance to make it out here. “Orel” is right, this is one of those events that can’t be ruined by a losing streak…if you haven’t had the chance to make it down here for this over the last five years, make sure you do soon. And while I appreciate the kudos, I can’t take credit for this event…there are a ton of hard-working people in the front office who put this together for the fans and they deserve it far more than me. In fact, I didn’t even make it down this year, as my daughter can’t quite throw yet.
Meanwhile, team travel manager Scott Akasaki checks in with a blog posting from Cincy on a well-deserved day off…
“The Basic Agreement calls for 162 regular season games in a period of 180 days. Simple mathematics tells us that there are not a lot of “off days” during the regular season. If there is an off day, it is usually spent traveling to the next city, like we did on April 3rd, April 17th, April 28th, May 12th, and June 9th. A home off day is truly special (and perhaps even sacred) while a road off day comes every now and again. I do not know about the other members of our traveling party but when I am at home, I try to use the off day and spend it with loved ones – I may even do home repairs and self maintenance stuff like regular doctor’s appointments or a visit to the dentist.
On the road, like we had here in Cincinnati, I took the chance to catch up (and get ahead) on some work, do some running, and go out for a nice dinner. I heard that other players and staff were going to use the off day to play golf or shop. Some probably went to catch a movie but no matter what everyone ended up doing, we all probably wanted to catch a break from the daily routine of our baseball lives. The baseball season is long and I am of the opinion that we all need a mental break from the game to recharge. While the rest of the world may have two days off every week, those who are with the team on a daily basis have 18 days off in 180 days. Let’s hope that our team had a good off day and that we follow up with some wins here in Cincinnati.”
UPDATE: Today’s lineup:
As many of you have been reading, one of the regular contributors to this blog is Scott Akasaki, our manager of team travel. Some of you know about him, but now the whole world does, as he was featured in recent article of Forbes magazine.
His latest post is below…
For a couple of years, our team would not stay at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee because of rumored ghost visitations to our players’ rooms. I recall hearing a story about a former third baseman on our team who left the hotel in the middle of the night because he woke up after all the lights in his room were turned on. Problem was he distinctly remembers turning all the lights off before falling asleep.
On our most recent trip to Milwaukee, we checked in to The Pfister Hotel once again simply because hotel is probably the best hotel in Milwaukee. At the end of our brief stay there, I did not hear of any visitations from the supernatural but there might have been a few player pranks in the works. One player who did not make the trip told me yesterday that if we stayed there again next year, he already wants a room in a different hotel.
There are actually enough ghost stories in baseball that there is a book titled “Haunted Baseball” and a website that shares the same name. Some of our players have stories themselves from their minor league days to urban legends that they have heard over the years.
Today’s lineup is the same as yesterday’s, but since I never got around to posting that one, here it is…