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What do the players of pro sports teams do when on the road?
May 18, 2008 9:34 PM   Subscribe

What do the players of pro sports teams do when on the road?

I'm talking baseball, but any type of sports would do. I was thinking, as an A's fan, when the A's are in, say, Chicago, for 3-4 days, what can or can't the players do? I'm sure they have curfews, shuttles from the hotel to the field and back for those going early (and a team bus otherwise).

What if they have a day off while there? What do they do all day? Can they leave the hotel? Bars? Restaurants? I know a lot of guys have "women on the side", shall we say...does that stuff go down in the hotel?

I'd guess they all bring an Xbox and alot of them sit in their rooms playing that alot- probably surfing the web, the usual hotel stuff- but what kinds of freedoms and restrictions are there?
posted by Chuck Cheeze to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
They do normal things that we do. I've run into players out shopping and even running on the streets. I don't think they have many restrictions on what they can and can't do. A lot of their time is spent at the ball park anyways they get there usually 5 hours before game time to do team meetings, meet with the media, practice and other things to prepare for the game.
posted by lilkeith07 at 10:10 PM on May 18, 2008


Sometimes they take the subway into the city to explore.
posted by jamesonandwater at 10:15 PM on May 18, 2008


I know in the minors, they don't seem to keep too tight a leash on them. At a local sports bar I used to frequent, teams would come in all the time and most of them didn't leave until the lights came on at 5:00 in the morning. Most of them arrived by taxis and uh, found other transportation home. My old roommate took a pitcher home one night and they didn't crawl out of bed until noon and he had a game that day.
posted by Ugh at 10:24 PM on May 18, 2008


Yeah, they're not college athletes - as far as I know, they don't have curfews. They go shopping, play video games, read, watch game tapes. There was a piece in the paper recently about one of the SF Giants who went to a former teammate's house for dinner (the former teammate was now playing for the team the Giants were playing against in that city).

Baseball players tend to be older than, say, basketball players, and mostly lack the dubious "glamor" that superstar basketball players tend to attract. Not that they don't get into trouble, but when your season is 162 games long, and you may be playing five nights out of seven, it doesn't leave you much time (or energy) for fucking around.
posted by rtha at 10:25 PM on May 18, 2008


All great answers thanks. I was mainly curious as it seems like teams would want to keep their investments (property?) from getting into trouble (as much as possible). Although its obvious some sports guys just get into trouble no matter what.
posted by Chuck Cheeze at 10:37 PM on May 18, 2008


@jameson nice link that's cool.

On an unrelated note. I was at a wedding last night that Mike Martz and wife attended.
posted by Chuck Cheeze at 10:40 PM on May 18, 2008


From what I've seen, what they mostly do is fuck around on their wives. Lots.
posted by Justinian at 11:08 PM on May 18, 2008


Premier League footballers play cards. Or bet on horses. Smaller distances and charter planes mean that the five hour coach journey is dying out at the top level, but the card school lives on. And after the match, there may well be booze.

it seems like teams would want to keep their investments (property?) from getting into trouble (as much as possible).

But the coaching staff generally comes from the same sporting background. Where there is a difference, generally, is between 'domestic' and foreign players: Japanese baseball players and continental footballers have gone on record complaining about booze or gambling as part of the embedded team culture.
posted by holgate at 11:10 PM on May 18, 2008


I know that some baseball players spend time familiarizing themselves with the way the opposing team's players pitch, hit, what their weaknesses are, etc. While this has traditionally occurred in the club-house, the emergence of video ipods has allowed players to study when and where they like.

I'm also an A's fan (Go Oakland!), and last October I met members of the team (read: Swisher!!!) at the hotel they were staying at while playing the Angels in Anaheim. From the looks of it (via my position at the lobby bar, and later in a conversation with Swish): the players came back to the hotel via shuttle, went up to their room to shower, and either stayed in their rooms (like Haren, who was there with his pregnant fiancé) or emerged a while later to hit out on the town (Swish, Duchscherer and a few others were headed out to a bar either the Block at Orange or Downtown Disney - I've forgotten which one). So, when they lose, sometimes they go out afterwards and get soused. There didn't appear to be any restrictions as to what they were permitted to do, so as long as they were able to play the next day.

I will say one thing about witnessing players during their "off time": It's weird to see your sports heroes out of uniform, and instead wearing $200 distressed jeans, and a see-thru dress-shirt unbuttoned in down to their navel. :( It sort of takes the mystique away.
posted by numinous at 12:02 AM on May 19, 2008


On the Howard Stern show recently, a female comic named Lisa Lampanelli admitted to having a one-night stand with a pro football (American football) player. She said they had to go to a different hotel because the team had rules about having women on the hotel floor where they were staying. I guess this is a team by team basis, but it appears some of the teams have rules, curfews, etc. I wonder if this is a football specific phenomenon?
posted by sharkfu at 12:03 AM on May 19, 2008


Considering how many of them end up married to strippers, I can make a good guess.
posted by rokusan at 12:10 AM on May 19, 2008


I can offer a few anecdotes not covered above from my experience as a sportswriter.

* They perform press interviews.
* They take part in PR activities of various kinds.
* They take meetings with business partners, their agents/management and reps from endorsement partners.
* They work out at the park/stadium. This can take up to several hours per day, depending on the sport and position (e.g. on their off days, pitchers have to do something to stay sharp).
* They receive physical therapy and specialized rehab. Nearly all high-level athletes play hurt to some degree, constantly, especially American football players and elite soccer players.
* They socialize with players on the opposite team, many of whom they know from previous stints around the league (happens more than you think, and it's especially true with baseball players).
* They socialize with their immediate families, especially if the player is sufficiently veteran enough to bring their families with them.
* They socialize with their extended families and friends. Wanna know how many cousins you have? Become a major league baseball player. All of your distant relatives around the country will want to see you when you come to town and provide free tickets for them and their friends.

You'd be surprised how much time gets swallowed up by the above, when it appears they only "work" 3-4 hours per day during the game and game prep.

Finally...

* They sleep a lot. Elite athletes don't sleep 6-7 hours per night like the rest of us schmucks. More like 9-10 on average. And they they take a lot of midday naps. Especially basketball / hockey players, who don't play day games very often.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:41 AM on May 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


From what I've seen, what they mostly do is fuck around on their wives. Lots.

Indeed. Long-time, standard NBA player joke:

What is the hardest move to pull off in the NBA?

Trying not to giggle when you kiss your wife goodbye before heading out on a road trip.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:44 AM on May 19, 2008


I was mainly curious as it seems like teams would want to keep their investments (property?) from getting into trouble (as much as possible). Although its obvious some sports guys just get into trouble no matter what.

Oh, let me add to this ...

All teams have a traveling secretary. He (it's always a he) has many duties to perform, but is basically a concierge / gopher for the players and staff.

The traveling secretary is armed with armfuls of cash and the phone numbers of a) the team's lawyers, b) the team doctors and c) the team's PR guys -- all of whom also travel with the team (the lawyers sending the junior guys on the road). The traveling secretary may also be an attorney himself.

If you're in trouble on the road, your first call will be to the traveling secretary. If not, you'll call your agent and he will call the traveling secretary.

Did you guys see the film Michael Clayton? Every team has its version of Michael Clayton, in one form or several others.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:51 AM on May 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


My brother is an attorney for an NFL team and travels with the team much of the time. He has had his share of calls from strip clubs, etc. I think, as people mentioned upthread, it differs sport to sport both in terms of player age and in terms of travel patterns (one game vs multiple games in a row, for example). Teams definitely want to protect their players from situations that would cause injury or legal difficulty.
posted by judith at 1:09 AM on May 19, 2008


If they're in DC they can go on a Segway tour. (This is one of my favorite hockey things ever.)
posted by cmyk at 6:55 AM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you're in trouble on the road, your first call will be to the traveling secretary.

Are you telling me this was the guy bailing all the Yankees out of sticky situations during the 90's?
posted by any major dude at 7:08 AM on May 19, 2008


Are you telling me this was the guy bailing all the Yankees out of sticky situations during the 90's?

Actually, the Yankees traveling secretary was popped for tax evasion because he was failing to report player tips as income. Some of his tips were upward of $10K at a time. So why would a player tip a team employee 10 grand? Hmm...

Then again, this guy says it's the hardest job in sports.

Another fun fact -- in baseball at least, the traveling secretary is responsible for handing out the players' per diems. Yes, even $20 million A-Rod gets a per diem when he's on the road. You know, for walking around money. It differs from sport to sport, but for baseball, I think at this point it's about $150 per day.

The per diem is handed out in cash before the start of each road trip in envelopes. The secretary keeps a briefcase with cash on him, because the amounts can get fairly large with large teams/staffs and long road trips.

You'd laugh your ass off to see baseball players, some of whom are pulling in enormous salaries, just falling over themselves to get those envelopes (it's their poker money), and getting pissed off when there's a delay or something. Unreal.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:38 AM on May 19, 2008


I think Costanza was the assistant to the traveling secretary.
Remember that photo of A-Rod with a stripper in Toronto? I think the lesson there is don't piss off a Daily News photographer. In fact, give him a wink and a few signed baseballs.
posted by mattbucher at 10:08 AM on May 19, 2008


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