April 13th, 2011
By far, the least glamorous part of minor league baseball is the travel. Let’s just say it isn’t always fun or comfortable.
A few leagues are fairly condensed. For example, the longest trip within the Florida State League (Daytona to Fort Myers) is about four hours. In the Appalachian League, the longest trip is a little less than five hours (Danville, Virginia to Greeneville, Tennessee).
There are some brutal trips in other leagues, though. For example, imagine almost 11 hours from Vancouver, British Columbia to Boise, Idaho in the Northwest League. Or almost 11 hours from Grand Chute, Wisconsin to Bowling Green, Kentucky in the Midwest League. Or more than 10 hours from Youngstown, Ohio to Burlington, Vermont in the New York-Penn League.
The Texas League has a mammoth trip. It is about 15 hours from Springfield to Corpus Christi. Ugh.
Fortunately, the RoughRiders are fairly centrally located within this league. Here are the seven trips (all according to Google Maps):
- Arkansas: 5:20
- Corpus Christi: 7:30
- Midland: 6:00
- NW Arkansas: 5:30
- San Antonio: 5:10
- Springfield: 7:00
- Tulsa: 4:20
Nothing too long, but there isn’t a true “short” one, either. Anyways, here’s a quick version of the Facts to get you by on this off day.
- With Josh Hamilton’s injury, former ‘Rider Chris Davis was called up to the big leagues. That’s been all over the news. But, to fill Davis’ place, outfielder Joey Butler has been called up to Triple-A Round Rock. Butler was hitting .316 (6-for-19) with two homers and four runs batted in.
- To fill the spot on the Frisco roster, infielder Erik Morrison has been added from the disabled list. Morrison was with high-A Bakersfield all of last year (.242, 13 HR, 45 RBI). He played in two games here in Frisco back in ’09.
- The ‘Riders only have three outfielders on the roster because of Butler’s promotion. I don’t expect any shifting of Engel Beltre from center.
- The question is: where will David Paisano and Mike Bianucci be? Of Paisano’s 467 career games, he has played in right only 91 times. But 61 of those came last year. He has been in left field for all five of his starts thus far this season. Bianucci has started in left once this season; the other five starts have come at DH. But he has spent more time in right in his minor league career (111 games) than Paisano. The outfield alignment will be interesting to monitor.
- The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are off to their best start in franchise history: 5-1. They have won four of their games by one run.
- Only two minor league teams remain undefeated: the Hagerstown Suns (South Atlantic League, 5-0) and the Daytona Cubs (Florida State League, 6-0). The Suns, by the way, have the services of Baseball America’s top overall prospect–Washington’s Bryce Harper.
Enjoy a day away from the RoughRiders. We’ll be back tomorrow at 6:37 along the RRBN for the ‘Riders and the Cards. Take care.