Of all the skills need to succeed in the minors, passing time may be the most important. Good hands, the ability to read the ball, a resilient body - most people would correctly guess these will help one rise to the top of a heap of struggling minor leaguers. But you can have all the talent in the world, but if your brain rots in your skull as a result of sheer boredom, those talents will never hit the field. Thus - a true minor league talent, will also learn to master the talent of killing time.
On a given "getaway day" (the day we leave a road trip city) the check-out time is 11AM, but the first bus to the field is not until 3. This may seem like an easy thing to do, just pass 4 hours. But much like Chinese Water Torture, even the most mundane of things can drive one throughly insane, and not like Johnny Depp insane where it's kinda cool and you move to France -- like Charlie Sheen insane.
This brings me to the solution - here is a quick list of things to do to avoid the "Getaway Day Crazies".
1. The Buddy System -
It's important to have a friend. The man who sits alone and plays on his iPad in the corner is not going to last long. Because on that day when the game just isn't fun anymore or heaven forbid, the battery dies on his computer - he is going to go postal. Having a friend grants you almost infinitely more possibilities. Plus it means you don't have to text "hey" to everyone you texted in the past week - trying to start a conversation.
2. Eat -
Eating is awesome. It kills time AND it is fun because (hopefully) you are eating things that taste good. Plus if you failed to listen to me on rule #1, you will be able to talk to your server. In the best case scenario of this situation, you and your buddy will be able to flirt-fight over the waitress that neither of you will never see again. *
*If you are unfamiliar with "flirt-fighting" its when two men, who are friends, are trying to flirt with the same girl and because they both think they are superior than the other, they begin to lay on the charm thicker and thicker until the woman becomes coated like a Cinnabun of compliments. There is no obvious hostility in flirt-fighting, its more a dance of backhanded compliments and not-so-sublte one-ups-manship. It's quite a thing to watch - especially if both parties involved have solid "game". Side note - this has never worked to pick any woman up, because both men look entirely idiotic.
3. Adventure -
This point kinda relies on numbers one & two, because you are usually adventuring with someone in the search of food - but it can be done by yourself if you have a bit of a "I Am Legend" mindset (which I do). Not all towns in the midwest league have the possibility of adventure. Clinton, IA for example has nothing within walking distance besides two restaurants and a farming store. Not to say that these are not worth adventuring, but there are towns where time can easily be passed by treating a small town like a coffee table photography book. Simply by putting one foot in front of the other and keeping your phone in your pocket, you will see things that belong to a life that is strange and new and can be quite interesting to experience.
4. Know Card Games -
This is a rule for any minor leaguer, waiting for the bus or not. Cards are an important part of our life, and the ability to sit down at a car game and know the rules is important. Furthermore, a card game includes other people, and there is no cure for killing time like good conversation, and believe me - if there's anyone who can conjure good conversation out of thin air - its a group of minor leaguers.
5. Have a Late Check Out Room -
Yes - this is a loophole and completely contrary to the whole point of this list - but its REAL. If you're the starting pitcher on getaway day, or just happen to be a lucky duck, you have a late checkout room. This means you can sleep in as long as you want, then lazily watch TV until you wanna eat and hop right on the bus. This is the best possible option, but if this isn't you - you gotta stick to rules 1-4. Trust me, it'll be all the difference in the world.
Side Note - the above picture is what I think I look like when I have a late check out room. The below picture is far more accurate.
I hope you liked my list and maybe you can implement some of these rules for passing time the next time you have hours to kill. Hope you are all having a good weekend, and as always - Go Tribe.
I have a few reader questions that I will get to in the next couple postings, I promise. If you have any questions or comments for the blog email me at email@example.com. And I hope all of you follow me on Twitter @C_M_Cook, and if you're not following me, I have no idea how you got this blog (or why you're still reading at this point). Be safe out there guys.
This is Cole Cook - urging you never to travel to Iowa.