Wednesday, March 9, 2011

MiLB LIFE: Packing for Spring Training

Joltin' Joe was known to pack a mean suitcase.

I hate packing. Hate it. To me, the whole process is far more strenuous than it should be. It ought to be simple, right? Bats, gloves, cleats, clothes- what else is there?

It’s that last question that drives me crazy. After more travel experiences than I can remember, I have never departed with a clear mind, focused solely on the excitement of the trip ahead. There is always that irritating worry in the back of my mind that I forgot something. Something essential, no doubt.

Then there’s the laundry list of questions that contribute to the anxiety of the packing experience. How many bags can I bring? Do I have a bag that can fit a bat inside of it? What about seven bats? What’s the weather going to be like? What do I want to wear for the next six months? It’s a draining process- it’s no wonder I always leave it for the last second.

Last year, I grossly over-packed. I went through every possible scenario that could have occurred during the summer months, and made sure to pack the appropriate attire. Whether it was poker with the boys or a last second invitation to an 80’s theme party, chances are I was equally prepared wardrobe-wise.

I vowed that this year would be different, however. Only the bare essentials. But it’s a delicate balance packing for a minor league season, especially when you’re arriving at your destination through the air. It’d be one thing to load up the car with anything that crosses your mind as a good luggage item, but we’re working within airport guidelines here: two bags of 50 lbs. or less. Say goodbye to my lucky dumbbells.

You essentially have to separate your packing into two segments. First, there’s the Spring Training portion, where you spend your time living in a hotel room. For this month-long stay, you really only need clothing and baseball equipment.

But be sure to make arrangements for early April, when you'll find yourself in a new city looking for an apartment and, better yet, stuff to put in that apartment. Microwave, pots, pans, Foreman Grills, TV’s- it’s the college move-in process all over again. But don’t pack too much, because you may only be given an hour’s notice when you have to pack up all of your belongings and head to your next destination.

But that’s next month’s problem. Right now, I’m packing for Arizona.

Even after scripting a thorough check list, I know there will be plenty of things I forgot, as well as items that will be lying in my suitcase come September, having never been touched. It’s inevitable- you just hope you remembered all the important stuff.

After stressing about what to bring, my goal quickly turns into simply fitting it all into two bags (the maximum number the organization will reimburse you for, of course).

It’s an odd feeling, packing up your life for the next half year- trying to predict what you’ll need, want, and find useful in the coming months, despite not even knowing where you’ll be living. This unpredictability is just a byproduct of minor league life, however.

Who are we playing tonight? What state are we in? What day of the week is it? It’s not uncommon to hear any of these questions in the clubhouse. You just have to be ready to play once those lights turn on- and hope you packed your glove.

I wouldn’t say I packed my entire life into those two suitcases, but for the next six months, my daily life will revolve around that luggage.


  1. did you ever go to an 80's themed party?

  2. Personally, I would probably bring clothing for 100 degree weather, 20 degree weather, going to a formal, going to the gym, and everything in between but yet I would probably forgot something like my toothpaste.

    Good luck!

  3. I'd consider packing a couple of boxes that can be shipped UPS to whatever the next destination is. Good luck!