The Mariners started the season in Japan and since the regular season began have played more road games than any other team. And — because they are so remote — they log more air miles than any other team in baseball, with even divisional games requiring all flights to be longer than two-hours.
Even though they get to fly first class and stay in nice places, it has to take its toll. Also, as Geoff Baker notes in today’s column, it takes its toll on beat writers:
The point is not to gripe. I love my life and this job. But I’m trying to tell you that the players experience the exact same thing and then have to perform physically on the field. It’s an exhausting experience. The Mariners have a very valid excuse right now. Should their record be better? I don’t know for sure. But if they want to complain about the travel, I won’t criticize them. For myself, I have spent a grand total of 3 1/2 weeks in Seattle the past four months.
That’s insane. For anyone with families, or children, it’s tough to keep up relationships or normal life. Players have their wives and kids travel with them for some of it — as do I — but not all of it. The Mariners have made a huge sacrifice since February in the name of a crazed MLB schedule. Only now, will they get a shot at a normal life.
Baker is a good guy who thinks about things, so don’t take this as an excuse to bash beat writers for complaining about a job you’d kill to have. Rather, read the column to get some good insight into some behind the scenes things you never get to see.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.
Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.
The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.
The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.
The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.