JUPITER, Fla. — The Braves were on the road yet again Saturday for another long bus ride. With the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals relocating from Central Florida to West Palm Beach, the Braves have only one opponent, the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, that is less than a 45-minute drive from Kissimmee.
Their 2 1/2-hour drive south to Jupiter on Saturday was their second in 10 days, with two even longer trips to come when they face the Astros and Nationals in West Palm Beach. Before they break camp, the Braves will have made 11 trips requiring a lengthy bus trip. The Cardinals have five trips of an hour or longer on their schedule.
“We come in the dark, and we get home in the dark,” manager Brian Snitker said. “It can wear you out, but it’s mainly about the work. The players get in a nice routine with their early work, and (the travel) is a disruption.”
Catcher Tyler Flowers, who made the trip Saturday, said it was different when he was with the White Sox and trained in Arizona. Because the teams are all located in the Phoenix area, players often would take batting practice at their home park, suit up and then drive themselves to road games. He remembers one such trip with A.J. Pierzynski when they were pulled over and Pierzynski was ordered out of the car, in full uniform.
“Sometimes I’d forget and be driving to a game in cleats,” Flowers said.
Snitker said the spring schedule works in the Braves’ favor one way because they will be finished with the lengthy trips by the final week of camp, when regulars typically play most days and won’t have to deal with a lot of time on bus rides.