The ‘Riders Driver
We all know there’s lots of travel involved in minor league baseball. Yet you probably don’t know anything about the man who makes all that travel possible. Meet Carlos Coleman, the RoughRiders’ bus driver for the last five seasons. The only member of the ‘Riders who every year should be named a Texas League All-Star.
A short while back I chatted with the man we all call “Los” and found out that we’re not the only team that he pilots to and fro. During the off-season he drives each visiting team that plays the Dallas Cowboys. And here’s where it gets really cool. Los was the lead driver for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the Super Bowl this past year.
Suddenly, we’re not that big of a deal anymore.
The Steelers used four busses and Carlos was the top driver selected by the NFL responsible for overseeing Pittsburgh’s travel throughout DFW. Coach, the bus company in charge of both the Packers and Steelers transportation, had other drivers in mind who they were planning on brining in from out of state. Drivers who had Super Bowl experience. However, the Super Bowl Committee consisting of representatives from the four final teams (Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York), liked working with Los so much that they requested he be assigned to the Super Bowl.
Our bus driver is cooler than your bus driver.
A devote Washington Redskins fan, Carlos chose to drive for the Steelers. Why? “I thought they would win,” he said with a grin. Officially 0-1 in his Super Bowl predictions, Los had a front row seat for what must have been a painful experience. “After the game was over and Green Bay won, I watched the lead driver for the Packers hold the [Vince Lombardi] trophy. I was a little mad, but it was still a great experience.”
Although he’s all smiles now, Carlos was genuinely bummed the Steelers lost. “I think I was more upset then they were,” Carlos told me. ”Coach Tomlin, who was an awesome, straight up guy, just said to me, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be back.’”
Think the bus driver for Tulsa or Corpus Christi has ever talked with the head coach of the Steelers? Me neither.
Even though his team lost, Carlos at least got a free ticket to the big game. “I got to go inside Cowboy Stadium during the game and mostly hung out in the tunnel,” he said. “I stood near the end zone and could see right down the length of the field.”
Needless to say, Los can get into any Texas League ballpark he wants when we’re on the road, but I don’t think Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium here in San Antonio measures up well to Cowboys Stadium.
The work that Carlos does for the ‘Riders goes unheralded – mostly because we’re all asleep when he’s working his hardest. How does he stay awake during those late night rides through the middle of nowhere?
“I think its a mental thing,” Carlos told me. ”I pump myself up mentally to get ready, plus I’m used to driving at night.” When Carlos’ kids where young, he would take them on road trips and do the bulk of the driving at night. “That way they would be asleep and I wouldn’t have to stop,” he said.
So not much has changed for Carlos. Instead of driving his kids at night, he’s now driving around some of the Texas Rangers’ future stars. We couldn’t do it without Los and all the long hours he puts in for us. There’s no debate, he’s the best driver in the Texas League.
Even if he’s to blame for taking us to Midland.