Bill Bunterman, manager of the Shmoopington Ankle Sox, wakes up at 8:30 am. He wishes he could sleep longer since this road trip is causing him all kinds of insomnia. After losing to the Orioles in 11 innings last night, the Sox boarded a plane for Detroit and didn’t get dropped off at their hotel until 3:00 am. Between the funky schedule and radio interview Bill has at 10:00 with Detroit’s “Mad Marv in the Morning,” coffee is his best friend. Advil is his second best friend because 15 seasons as a bullpen catcher has turned his knees into joints of misery.
Bill showers, snags a bagel and some orange juice from the hotel restaurant, then hops in a car that drives him (well, okay, the driver does the driving) to the Hot Talk 1250 radio station for his interview with Mad Marv. Marv asks him questions about the Sox’s starting rotation, how he sees the series with Detroit going, and then tries to get the scoop on star third baseman, Alan Rodriguez’, new girlfriend. Bunterman expects this question and responds with, “As long as he hits .350, he can date whoever he wants.” Marv gets a chuckle, Bill gets out of the interview without having to answer any other drama related inquiries, and everyone is happy.
This kid is head over heels happy.
Bill hops in the car and goes back to the hotel, where he snags another bagel (he loves bagels), more coffee, a newspaper, and heads up to his room for a meeting with his coaching staff. The trainer lets them know that Hustles McGee, the rookie left fielder, sprained his wrist sliding into second base last night and won’t be able to play. They also just got word that Screwball Weber, left-handed pitcher, won’t be done with his rehab assignment in Scranton on time, so they are still missing a second lefty in their pitching rotation.
Once all of the updates are through, the staff vents about how frustrating last night’s loss was. They only allow five minutes of griping, because then it is time to prepare for tonight. The coaches look at the scouting report for Detriot. They decide to sit their shortstop tonight. He went 0-4 last night, and only has 2 hits this month. It’s up to Bill to let the kid down easy so he doesn’t go into a complete tailspin.
Next, team meeting in lovely Conference Room B of the Crowne Plaza Hotel Detroit. The meeting is short. Bill lets the guys know that last night was bummer, but they have to focus on what is ahead of them. He lets them know that McGee is out, Weber won’t be back anytime soon, and he cracks a joke about Rodriguez. Finally, he shows the team film of Detroit’s starting pitcher, Tait Widowmaker. He reminds the guys that he likes to use his curveball when he is behind in the count and that he loses his control if you get to him early. Then it’s a team lunch consisting of protein, kale, brown rice, avocado, and coconut water. Bunterman has a bagel.
After lunch, the team gets one hour to call their wives, kids, girlfriends, and girlfriends’ kids. Then, at 3:00 pm sharp, they get on the team bus. All are dressed in suits and ties because Bill’s policy is, “if you look good, you play good.” Once they get to the stadium, it’s:
3:30-4:00- change/stretch 4:00-4:30- defensive drills 4:30-5:30- batting practice 5:30- off the field and into the clubhouse because Detroit has to get their work in.
While all of this is happening, Bill writes up the lineup card, talks to his starting pitcher in the bullpen, and then pulls his shortstop, Eric Teter, aside to explain that he is giving him the night off. In three minutes, Teter goes through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Bill is sympathetic and reassures him that he will be back in the lineup the next night.
At 6:30, the players meet in the clubhouse where they eat protein bars, drink protein smoothies, get stretched by their personal trainers, meditate with their personal yogis, listen to music on the personal electronic devices, and get focused for game time. Bill gives his pregame talk that he gives every night, “You are professionals, you know how to play this game, and you know how to win. Do it or go be an accountant.”
Following a 5-4 win (It was a great game. It will be on ESPN Classic in October if you’re interested), the Sox shower up and head back to the hotel where they eat dinner at 11:00 pm. They feast on fish, quinoa, spinach, more avocado, pineapple, and Greek yogurt mixed with flax seeds. Bill has a bagel. After dinner, the team gathers in Conference Room B for a quick meeting. Wake up time is 9:00 am because the team has a charity meet & greet at the Detroit Children’s Hospital at 11 am tomorrow. Then it is back to the same routine as every other day during a road trip.
These zebras are taking a road trip of their own.
At 1:00 am Bill gets back to his room. He finally calls his wife to tell her about the game and to say, “I love you.” She replies, “Bill, I love you too. Remember to stick to your diet. Dr. Pum wants you to lay off the carbs, so NO bagels.”
Bill answers, “You got it dear. Goodnight. Talk to you tomorrow.” Bill has a bagel and goes to bed.