Rays pack up for short trip south to spring training
It's only about 75 miles and about 90 minutes on a good traffic day from Tropicana Field to the Charlotte Sports Park, but shifting bases for the opening of spring training is still a major undertaking.
The Rays packed two 26-foot trucks on Monday, home clubhouse/equipment manager Jose Fernandez and staff loading everything from 150 jerseys to 65 dozen baseballs to 30 cases of gum to car seats for players' kids to boxes of shoelaces.
"To put the whole thing together is a challenge, and to make sure we're not forgetting anything and we have everything we're going to need for spring training,'' Fernandez said. "We have a lot of stuff. It's like moving a house, but multiply that like 100 times.''
The staff starts packing in early January, coordinating with the training staff, coaches and players what needs to be moved. For example, there are about 100 boxes belonging to the trainers. Also, crates of sports drinks.
Other equipment and supplies are shipped directly to Port Charlotte, and Fernandez's staff will spent the next two days unloading and setting up the facility there, as some players are already working out.
"Once you hit the truck day it hits you that spring training is starting, for us and I'm pretty sure for everybody else,'' Fernandez said. "It's exciting.''
The Rays have a Sunday report date, with a pre-spring media session on Monday and the first workout on Tuesday, Feb. 14.