CINCINNATI (AP) — A little extra money in the wallet? Check. Those earplugs for sleeping in the hotel? Got ‘em.
The Cincinnati Reds hit the road on Sunday night for an unusual seven-game trip, one that has them playing two teams in the same city back-to-back.
Yes, it’s going to be a New York, New York kind of week.
Cincinnati completed a brief homestand — three games against Washington — with a 9-6 win on Sunday, and hit the road for two games in Atlanta. Then, it’s off to New York for two games against the Mets followed by three interleague games at Yankee Stadium.
Won’t even have to change hotels.
“I’ve never done that,” manager Dusty Baker said.
Few have. It’ll be only the seventh time that a team played back-to-back series in the same market since interleague play started, according to STATS LLC. There are five shared major league markets — New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Baltimore/Washington. Interleague play made those long stays possible.
Next month, the Texas Rangers go to the Bay area for four games against the Athletics followed by three in San Francisco.
For Baker, a five-day stay in New York means preparing for lousy sleep and spending more than usual.
“You don’t sleep in New York,” Baker said Sunday. “Even when you’re in your room, there’s noise. Doors are slamming all the time, day and night. There’s people coming in at 4 and 5 o’clock in the morning. Am I right? They say the town never sleeps. Nobody in the town sleeps. You’ve got sirens and horns. You don’t sleep.
“The second thing is, you leave New York and you think somebody broke into your room and stole some money because you always come up light. You’ve got to cash an extra check when you go there. You’re paying $20 for a drink, know what I mean?”
Right-hander Homer Bailey will start the trip by pitching in Atlanta on Monday night. He’ll have some free time in New York, where he’ll meet up with his parents.
“New York isn’t as bad as people think,” Bailey said. “It’s easy to get around. The streets are easy to figure out. There are taxis and once you get the subway down, it’s not too bad.”
Pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who loves music and plays guitar, doesn’t particularly like the New York night life.
“I despise those places where people stand in line outside and wear glasses and think they’re the coolest (ones) on earth,” Arroyo said. “I’m more into the corner bar with the guy in the corner with an electric guitar. I actually don’t get out much in New York. It’s hard for me to find a niche.
“I’ve never really enjoyed New York City. It’s a country all unto itself. For me, it’s a little bit of a headache to be in that city.”
Playing two series in one city makes it a little easier for Gary Wahoff, in his 17th season as traveling secretary. There’s one less flight, one less hotel change.
“It’s almost like a two-city trip, basically,” he said.
The biggest adjustment will be remembering to go to a different ballpark for the third game of the stay. The itinerary reminds players of the change.
“Everybody gets in a routine, and then you’re out of your routine for the next three-game series,” Wahoff said. “So it’s going to be interesting in that aspect.”
It’ll give the Reds another little footnote to their history with New York teams.
The Reds swept Lou Piniella’s Yankees in the 1976 World Series to mark themselves as one of baseball’s best teams of all time.
There was a time not so long ago when Cincinnati and New York had plenty of ties. Former Reds owner Marge Schott and former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner often collaborated on hirings — she brought in general managers Bill Bergesch and Bob Quinn from New York, along with Piniella, who won the 1990 World Series in Cincinnati as manager.
Steinbrenner made a surprising decision to appoint Derek Jeter as team captain before the start of an interleague series in Cincinnati in 2003. The title had been vacant since Don Mattingly retired in 1995, so there was no urgency to fill the role. Rather than wait until the team returned to New York, Steinbrenner made a call to Cincinnati and said to do it.
And when the boss spoke …
There’s a few links with the Mets as well. Last Friday, the Mets clinched a milestone by playing their 8,000th game without a no-hitter, the longest ongoing streak in baseball. Hall of Famer Tom Seaver threw one of their 35 one-hitters, but his only no-hitter came after he moved to Cincinnati.
Reds shortstop Barry Larkin, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer, enjoyed playing at Shea Stadium so much that he named one of his daughters Brielle D’Shea.
They’ll have more to share this week.
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