Sarah Langs, Intern & Special Contributor
When the Mets played a two-game series with the Oakland Athletics earlier this week, they were 2,921 miles away from Citi Field. And this weekend, when the Mets play the Los Angeles Dodgers, they’ll be 2,805 miles from their home ballpark.
Travel has always been part of the Major League Baseball reality. Ever since the league expanded West, sending the Giants and Dodgers to California and later opening up expansion teams on the West Coast, the distances have gotten longer…
According to baseballsavant.com, in 2014, the shortest total distance any team will travel, over the course of the season, is 22,969 miles. That number belongs to the Cubs, which makes sense, since they’re pretty centrally located in the country. Instead of an almost-3,000 mile trip to play the California teams, the Cubs are just about 2,000 miles away from those ballparks. Plus, the teams in their division — to whom they make multiple trips in a season — are close by. The furthest distance between the Cubs and any team in the NL Central is 466, to PNC Park. The Brewers’ home is a mere 90.2 miles from Wrigley.
The largest total distance any team will travel is the 51,540 that the Mariners will rack up this year. Again, this one follows basic logic, as their home in the Pacific Northwest is pretty far away from any other baseball clubs. The team closest to the Mariners by car is the Giants, who are 806 miles away. Division rival Oakland is 807 miles away. Compare that to the Cubs’ furthest rival being 466 miles away, and it’s clear why the Mariners travel the most miles.
The Mets’ total travel distance this year will be the second-most in the NL East, at 35,781 miles which is just slightly behind the Marlins’ 36,134 miles. Seems like a good time to note that the Mets played in Seattle this year.
This is the Mets’ highest season total over the last six seasons. Last year, they notched 30,099 travel miles. In 2012, it was 29,667, which was their smallest total in that time span. The East Coast does pose a disadvantage when compared with the Midwest, but it isn’t as far as the distances faced by the West Coast teams.
In football, college football especially, distances and time differences are often cited when a team puts on an atypical or poor performance. But every baseball team travels at least 22,000 miles in a season, so it’s not the same as having just eight trips. It probably doesn’t play too big of a role in baseball, since travel is a part of the sport at every level — though minor leaguers don’t do air travel. But the numbers are worth thinking about, especially with the team currently on a West Coast roadtrip.