Vacations are a much needed reprieve from reality. Be it a cruise or a trip to several baseball stadiums, they all have something in common.
Everyone dreams of vacations filled with sun and fun. Maybe not everyone, and maybe not the fun and sun. But, I’m certain everyone dreams of at least escaping from reality for just a few short days. I’ll include myself in the category of taking vacations away from reality. My dream vacation wasn’t to the fun and sun (though I do enjoy a good Miami beach or Arizona golf course), rather it was an Alaskan cruise. What better time to celebrate an anniversary than a cruise to the great Alaskan Frontier.
Seven Days – Relax and Enjoy
Seven days of being catered to while on the ship; a few days of getting off the boat and exploring towns/cities in Alaska; all the food one could ever desire; show productions, comedians, gambling and trivia games for entertainment; anything and everything you could want in a vacation. All of it available to you 24 hours a day for the full 7 days. There was one thing missing from the glamor and enormity of the ship – watching baseball. Excess, fun, spending money and inevitable gluttony yet no baseball available at the sports bar. So, in the hopes of somehow connecting just a little, I had to get creative and draw some parallels between baseball and a cruise vacation.
Embarkation and Opening Day
Embarkation day finds the masses in a line awaiting their turn to board the ship. People from all walks of life from all over the world anxiously await their turn to present paperwork and board their boat. The scene is reminiscent of Opening Day. Cruisers look like the masses lining Blake Street behind home plate at Coors Field. Organized chaos the theme on both Opening Day and embarkation day, with excitement mounting until opening pitch/departing the dock.
The Wait Staff – It Takes a Team
Dinner in the main dining hall provides cruisers a 3-course meal every night. The team of servers greet diners by name, making them feel at home. Baseball and TV fans alike will feel as if you are at “Cheers” since everyone on your wait staff knows your name. Granted, they may not be Red Sox fans, or baseball fans at all. But it is the one place on the ship where everyone will know your name. The staff works together moving around to get you served, just like Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell turning a double play. They dance, sing and serve with a smile. Plus, the same staff serving you at night will usually be serving you at breakfast flexing their versatility just like Ben Zobrist did for the Rays in 2009. These fantastic people will help any lovelorn baseball fan feel right at home while on the open seas.
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) August 25, 2018
Seventh Inning Stretch All the Time
Entertainment reigns supreme on a ship. Every minute of the day has a planned event somewhere on the boat. Even on days in a port of call there is something to do on the ship. It may be a mid-afternoon music themed trivia game or a DJ entertaining folks around the ship’s pool, something is alway happening. For cruise directors, their job is coordinating all of these events. If there is a baseball equivalent to their job, it is that of the manager. They have a team spread about the ship performing their given duty of entertaining the masses. At times, they are the one providing the entertainment. Other times, they make a call to the bullpen and have another team member provide relief (something I saw them do a few times this past week). When events live up to expectations, they praise their team. Those rare moments when something doesn’t work, the cruise director takes full blame. The only differing trait – the cruise director can’t argue with an umpire like Billy Martin did, or they’d be arguing with themselves.
In 1974, Billy Martin became the first manager of the 70s to get ejected from two games in one day. He probably got ejected from a bar that night too. pic.twitter.com/EENCIcsk9A
— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) December 23, 2021
Every team feels the strain of travel during the season. Long trips from coast to coast are especially rough. Some trips are shorter than others but every trip takes players away from home. Sure, ship employees are usually on contract and call other countries home. But while on a ship, they call one port home for the life of that contract. Day 1 of the cruise they leave home and return in typically 3-7 days. Maybe they have an extended road trip of 14 days or more. But, they’ll always come “home.” There’s comfort in home. Despite a quick turnaround to head back out to sea, there’s still comfort knowing you are home. Just like the Los Angeles Dodgers dominant home record in 2021, the ship’s crew makes their homeport an unbeatable place for travelers to sail in and out of.
T-Mobile Stadium, Here I Come
There you have it – four random and imaginative ways of relating to baseball while traveling the Inside Passage of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean. Now that I’m back on solid ground it’s time to end vacation with some baseball. Having spent the better part of 25 years at or on the baseball field coaching or watching my son, I’ll be ending my time in the Pacific Northwest with a trip to T-Mobile Park. What better way to spend an anniversary celebration than spending it at my favorite MLB park watching my favorite MLB team? Hopefully you get an opportunity to get a cruise vacation in so you too can see some random baseball parallels. At the least, I hope you get a chance to visit your favorite MLB park soon.