30 in 30: A Chiefs Countdown to Opening Day – Day 25
We’re counting down until Opening Day with a new post on our Inside the Chiefs blog every day until Syracuse’s opener on April 3rd. Here’s what’s on tap today…
Less than a week away. And these next six days are going to be crazy. There are phone lines to test, media credentials to complete, interviews to moderate, interns to train, game notes to prepare…oh, and on top of all of that, there’s also the whole “broadcaster” part of the job to prepare for. How much do I know about the players on the 2014 Chiefs? And how much can I learn in the next six days?
For the rest of the office here at NBT Bank Stadium, the specific responsibilities are different, but the workload is the same. There are suites to prepare, tickets to sell and snow to shovel. And in some ways, this is the down time. Starting next Thursday, the Syracuse Chiefs will play 144 baseball games in 152 days. In other words, the Syracuse Chiefs will have eight scheduled days off in 152 days – an average of one day off every 19 days.
Here’s a block-by-block look at the Chiefs’ 2014 schedule:
April 3-29: 27 consecutive days with a game
April 30: Day off
May 1-20: 20 consecutive games. That’s 47 scheduled games in 48 days to begin the season.
May 21: Day off
May 22-June 10: 20 consecutive games
June 11: Day off
June 12-July 13: 30 consecutive games
July 14-16: The three greatest days on a baseball calendar: the All-Star break.
July 17-28: 12 consecutive games
July 29: Day off
July 30-August 5: 7 consecutive games
August 6: Day off
August 7-September 1: 26 consecutive games
It’s an absolute grind like no other sport, baseball. (The Washington Post‘s Barry Svrluga wrote an incredible piece on that very subject today, profiling the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman.) The glamour and glitz that seemingly come with playing a professional sport for a living don’t apply quite as much as the casual fan might think. Sure, playing in the major leagues means you’ll likely make millions of dollars and be financially set for the rest of your life by your 30s – but the vast majority of professional baseball players don’t get all that close to that level.
And that’s why baseball in Syracuse is so special. Most of the Chiefs players either have or will make the major leagues. A grand total of 35 players who appeared in at least one game for Syracuse last year have played in Major League Baseball at some point. 35! We’re talking about the best of the best players in the entire world here, and we’re privileged enough here in this city to see them practically every other night from April 1st to September 1st.
So, a quick thought, without trying to sound too holier-than-thou – the next time you’re at a game, and a player strikes out or makes an error, consider the fact that he might be playing in his 20th consecutive game without a game off. And maybe he didn’t get much sleep last night, because he didn’t get home from the ballpark until 11:30, and he returned to take extra batting practice for a noon game the next day. Does it beat plenty of other ways to make a living? Sure, it does. But that doesn’t mean baseball’s all flowers and roses and giant checks falling from the sky. Heck, they’re humans, too.
And the fact that we get to see it on a daily basis for a wildly affordable price? There’s no better deal on Earth.
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