Travelling Men

Friday, January 17 2020 @ 04:56 AM EST

Contributed by: Magpie

This is one of those dumb things I took an inexplicable interest in and had to dig into.

I'm going to blame it on this piece in The Athletic, on the trials and tribulations of being a New York Knick. There are, of course, many trials and tribulations involved with being a Knick and here's one of them. As you probably know, the Knicks play their 41 home games in Madison Square Garden, smack in the heart of Manhattan. Their practise facility, however, is located in Westchester County. It's about 35 km due north which means it's roughly a 45 minute drive from the Garden. That's if there's no traffic. When is there no traffic in Manhattan? Apparently the commute is much more likely to take closer to 90 minutes. The dilemma for the players is whether to set up their digs in Manhattan, where they play, or in Westchester where they practise (the team also flies in and out of Westchester City Airport.)

So I was thinking about travel, and I wondered how many road trips the Blue Jays actually make in the course of a season? How does it compare with what the Leafs and the Raptors do?

Basketball and hockey teams don't play extended series against one another. The Raptors made 24 road trips to 41 different cities last season, and 14 of them were for a single game - fly somewhere, play, fly home. The Leafs made at least 22 road trips last season to 41 different cities, and at least 12 of those trips were for a single game. (I'm not sure what to make of a stretch in October 2018 when they had four consecutive road games - Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Washington - with an off-day between each. Do you play in Chicago on Sunday, fly home to Toronto, fly to Dallas and play on Tuesday, fly home, fly to Detroit and play on Thursday, fly home, fly to DC and play on Saturday? Would they really do that? Going through Customs every time? Well, I have no idea what they actually did, but they did win all four games, so whatever they did worked. They had another extended stretch of road games - six in a row - in February 2019 that may have been anything from one to three road trips out of Toronto to foreign parts. Who knows?)

I was slightly surprised to see that neither the Leafs nor the Raptors took much advantage of the fact that both have multiple opponents in the same city. The Raptors didn't face the Lakers and Clippers, or the Nets and Knicks on the same road trip last season. Nor did the Leafs manage to play the Rangers and Islanders on the same trip. And when the Leafs went to California, they played in Los Angeles, flew up to San Jose for another game, and flew back to Anaheim for the third game of that trip.

That's not how it works in baseball, of course. The Blue Jays don't make nearly as many road trips - just 12 of them last year - but when a baseball team goes on the road, they stay on the road. Their 12 road trips took them to 26 different locales. Every 2019 road trip lasted at least six days and took them to at least two different cities. Twice they set out on 10 day excursions, visiting three different cities.

Without actually crunching some numbers and figuring out the air miles involved (I'm interested, just not that interested!) I have to suspect that the baseball travel grind is somewhat easier - they don't make as many trips, they don't visit the airport as often, they don't go to as many cities. They're mainly dealing with the constant irritation of being away from home for a week at a time, repeated every two weeks.