It’s rare that you see an affiliated team spend an entire season on the road, but Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Class AAA; International League) players seem to be taking it in stride.
Though the SWB Yankees are marginally headquartered in the Rochester area — playing 17 games at Frontier Field and a handful more in nearby Batavia — the team is most definitely a road team this season, compiling some 16,334 travel miles and playing “home games” at six neutral sites. It’s not an ideal way to do business, but team ownership — the New York Yankees and Mandalay Baseball Properties — concluded the best approach was to suffer through a bad 2012 season to ensure renovations to PNC Field would be completed for the 2013 season.
The New York Daily News’ Kristie Ackert followed the team around for several days and reported on life on the road:
“The travel has been, um, different,” says infielder Brandon Laird, 24, who played 11 games with the big Yankees last season.
The older buses these Yankees travel in have broken TVs, finicky Internet connections and “a smell coming from the bathroom that no one has used for months,” according to Figueroa.
The trip to Syracuse was the final leg of the 3,579 miles they would travel on buses before the break. The 6,401 miles they have flown were not much easier.
It’s one thing to be a 19-year-old rookie and spending large amounts of time in the bus leagues; it’s another to be 38-year-old Nelson Figueroa, a MLB veteran.
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