All-Star Glitz, Glamor, & Grittiness
Going to the All-Star game on the team plane is as cool as it sounds, but it’s not all glitz and glamor. It’s actually kind of gritty at times.
Before I went on the All-Star trip with the team, I thought their travel and lifestyle seemed cool. Fun and glamorous at times. Chartered flights. Sleek and stylish hotels.
While it’s some of that, but it’s also very late nights, tired days, and not enough time to do anything really fun in the city.
Here’s how the last two days went
After a 45 minute delay and extra innings on Sunday night (July 8), the team buses left the stadium an hour after the last out. You go through security check on the runway before loading the plane. Once in the air, the short flight is broken up by dinner and an inflight show. If I recall after all the excitement of the last couple of days it was reruns of The Office and 30 Rock.
We landed in Kansas City at a small municipal airport and each person had to claim their bag as it was coming off the plane before getting on the bus to the hotel. The bus drops you off at the hotel around 3:00 a.m. CT and there are already autograph hounds waiting near the door of the hotel. Seriously.
The best part of the ride to the hotel was someone going over the next day’s schedule with Elvis Andrus. He was told he needed to be on the player’s bus to the stadium at noon. He had to be told a few times before it finally sunk-in in his tired mind. The person going over the schedule finally asked him:
“Do you want me to call you at 10?”
“No, how about 11:30?” said Elvis.
“Okay, 11:30 it is.”
For the record, he was on-time for the media event the next day.
Rundown of Events for Day One: Home Run Derby
- Media Event at Arrowhead Stadium (Home of the NFL Kansas City Chiefs) – Large room with all the players from the American League team with tons of media running round from table to table. All of the Rangers were on one row at the back of the media room. We jokingly called it “Rangers Row” but it’s really what it was.
- Clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium – Getting settled in for the next two events
- American League Batting Practice
- Team Meeting
- Home Run Derby
- Post-Game event for the players and their families
- Catch the bus back to the hotel
Not all of the guys stuck around for the derby. If they had been through the All-Star festivities before, they took this valuable time to spend time with their family. (Most of the guys had family with them – wifes/fiancés/girlfriends/moms & dads/siblings/friends) When I asked Ian Kinsler where he and his wife, Tess, went he told me they ate at a low-key hibachi grill and went to a second place for a few after dinner drinks. I asked him if he was recognized out at dinner and he said no… which is nice compared to home.
Rundown of Events for Day Two: 83rd All-Star Game
- Red Carpet Show/Parade – The players caught their ride at the hotel and were set to ride the red carpet with family/friends down through the plaza in Kansas City. Some of the guys were interviewed by MLB Network. Fans lined the blocks and cheered and waved at all the players as they drove by. Some threw gifts to the crowd from the back of the truck.
- Head to Kauffman Stadium to prepare for the game right after the parade
- Media Availability in the clubhouse
- Batting Practice
- All-Star Game
- Catch the bus for the airport
The buses rolled away from the stadium an hour after the last out. We returned to the small municipal airport where our plane was loaded and ready to take off. We went through security check and were in the air pretty quickly. An hour and half later, we were landing at DFW around 1:30 a.m. CT. Catch the bus back to the stadium and drive home.
I didn’t expect the two late nights or that it would affect me the way it did, but the tradeoff of late nights and going on the trip to the All-Star game are worth it. Every tired second.
Now I can truly say I appreciate what these guys do every three to four days; catching planes, staying in hotels, suffering through late nights while continuing to play baseball like the professionals they are.
The team has tonight and tomorrow off with the next game in Seattle on Friday. I hope our eight All-Stars can catch up on some well-deserved sleep and additional time with their family.