Mariners lead the league in travel miles

BASEBALL

August 07, 1994|By TOM KEEGAN

The Seattle Mariners are in the midst of a 32-day, 30-game road trip, the longest in the major leagues since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders made a journey of identical length.

If the strike somehow is avoided, the Mariners will travel a major-league-record 50,473 miles, including 14,228 during this trip.

At least they have two days off during the journey. Here is how they spent one of them:

They boarded a bus bound for Midway Airport at 7 a.m. in Chicago after playing the White Sox at Comiskey Park the day before. Their delayed flight to Utica, N.Y., did not arrive until 11:30.

After an hour-and-a-half bus ride to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame game, they changed into their uniforms at a local gymnasium and were on the field in time to play a 2 p.m. game.

The team's kangaroo court held an emergency session and ruled that any player who did not swing at the first pitch would be fined. Not many fines were handed out. The game lasted 1 hour, 45 minutes.

They left Cooperstown at 5 p.m. and departed Utica on a 6:30 flight. The plane had to stop in Cleveland at 7:45 and the trip resumed by 8:15. It landed at the Ontario, Calif., airport at 9:45 Pacific time and the team bus arrived at the hotel at 10:30.

One-day travel totals: 17 hours, 30 minutes; 3,530 miles; six cities; four states; three flights; four bus trips.

"Man, what a miserable day," said Mariners right fielder Jay Buhner. "That was the one opportunity we could have gone home and spent time with our families, take care of business, and they make us do that."

At least the Mariners, forced to play all road games because of the ceiling tile problems at the Kingdome, were able to play in a major-league park the day after their long travel day.

They arrived at Anaheim Stadium to find sewage seeping through the clubhouse floor. Outside, construction crews worked through the game, continuing the tedious effort of repairing the effects of last January's earthquake.

Travel tips

Montreal Expos media relations director Rich Griffin went through a similar all-road portion of a schedule in 1991 when the Olympic Stadium roof malfunctioned.

Griffin, generally regarded as the funniest front office official in baseball, offered the following traveling tips to the Mariners:

"Don't pack any linen suits. They wrinkle up as soon as you close your suitcase. Buy a stopwatch. And with good timing, you can see an entire Spectravision movie in a five-minute preview option. When calling home, always sound depressed. And remember, 56 bars of hotel soap are not an acceptable gift for your wife when you get home."

This Ballpark stinks

The Ballpark in Arlington -- a nice tie, slick slacks, a smart jacket, but none of the colors match -- didn't capture the magic of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Cleveland's Jacobs Field.

Like so much of the state of Texas, it's too big, too gaudy, too much, period. Not only that, it smells.

Fans seated in the front rows of the park have complained about an overpowering odor. Ballpark officials blame it on remnants of concessions that are rotting in storm drains.

Hot summer nights have turned into hot, smelly summer nights in Texas.

Trivia question

Name the one person who has been in uniform for the major leagues' past three perfect games.

Trade breezes

The threat of a strike made most clubs hesitant to even talk about trades, but a couple of deals were close to happening recently.

The California Angels could have acquired Minnesota Twins closer Rick Aguilera but found the Twins' asking price a little too steep. The Twins wanted J. T. Snow, Brian Anderson or Andrew Lorraine, both left-handers, and the Angels' top right-handed pitching prospect, Troy Percival.

The Angels wanted Aguilera because he signed through 1995 with a club option for 1996, but in the end they found the price too steep.

Throughout their history, the Angels have traded young players or spent huge dollars on big-name players only to see them quickly lose it and fail to bring owner Gene Autry a World Series appearance. For a change, they made the right call.

Elsewhere, the Cincinnati Reds came close to acquiring Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Danny Jackson, but Reds owner Marge Schott reportedly was against the deal. Jackson, who won 23 games for the Reds in 1988, never was one of Schott's favorites.

Hard-luck kid

Right-hander Anthony Young, 1-27 in his last two seasons with the New York Mets, didn't leave his hard luck in New York. He encountered better results with the Cubs, going 4-6 with a 3.92 ERA this season, but his career is in jeopardy.

Young is scheduled to undergo the Tommy John elbow surgery Aug. 15 and is expected to miss all of the 1995 season. It will be his third surgery in 11 months. He had a bone spur removed from his elbow Sept. 28, 12 days after he had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Opening Day fireworks

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