MANCHESTER — Travel in the minor leagues can be a grind.
There are no private jets waiting to take teams from city to city; no five-star hotels at which to unwind; and no fancy restaurants to break bread with the group.
It’s a tough way to do things, but it’s all a part of the journey to the big leagues.
Nobody understands that better than the Fisher Cats, who just finished up the longest road trip in team history during which they played 11 games in 10 days, traveled over 900 miles and went 4-7.
“It’s honestly not too bad. We have two buses so we don’t have to share seats, so that makes it better,” Chad Spanberger said. “You can lay down. Some people sleep, some people stay up and watch Netflix. That’s really about it, though.”
You can only binge watch so much before you start to get restless, and while the buses are on the nicer end, it’s not all that easy to get proper rest on one of them. More often than not, you’re arriving at your destination early in the morning, too.
“We got to Trenton (N.J.) (from Portland, Maine) at 7 a.m.,” Spanberger said. “So if you fall asleep when you get there that really sets you back for the day and even part of the next day you’re still a bit tired.”
Add on the pressures of trying to perform while running on near-empty and things can get a little stressful. They took at least one game in each series, going 1-2 against the Portland Sea Dogs, 2-2 against the Trenton Thunder, and 1-2 against the Reading Fightin Phils.
“We had our opportunities to win some ball games, but didn’t always come up with a big hit when we needed to,” manager Mike Mordecai said. “Pitching-wise, we had a couple innings get away from us. But the guys played hard. We just came up a little short in a couple games.
“But it was a long road trip, longer than any we’ll play this year. We split every series, so I’ll take that. They played hard.”
The other positives the Fishers were able to take away from the trip came in the form of Nate Pearson and Patrick Murphy, who both returned from the injured list.
Murphy looked good in four innings against Reading on Monday, striking out four and surrendering three hits. Pearson’s first outing back didn’t go as smoothly, as he allowed three runs over 1 1/3 innings and struck out one.
When it comes to Pearson, the numbers are less important than the simple fact he was back on the mound. The 22 year old is the Toronto Blue Jays’ No. 2 prospect, and seeing him healthy is what matters.
Everyone is just happy to be back home now. On Friday, the Fishers will play the second game of a four-game series against the Portland Sea Dogs before the All-Star break affords them three days off.
“It’s awesome (to be back),” Spanberger said. “We’ll really get to catch up on some sleep and rest and get ready for the next 40 or whatever games left. Some people go home but I’ll probably just stay here and golf or something.”