It’s that time of the year again. It’s warming up, there are reports of baseball being played in some fashion in both Florida and Arizona. Football players are getting at-bats, for some reason. It’s time for baseball fans to wake up from their hibernation and look forward to the 2018 season, unless you’re an Orioles fan like me. Anyway, for the third year we’re looking at which MLB Team will travel the farthest. In 2016, it was the Seattle Mariners, in 2017 it was the Oakland A’s. Will an AL West team retain the throne this year? Let’s start with the assumptions, which everyone loves to nitpick.
- Everyone starts and ends at their home airport. I realize some teams may just go directly from spring training to their first opponent’s city but I’m not in the forecasting business.
- All miles given are statute miles on the great circle route between the two most likely airports used by teams playing games in that city
- Teams playing successive games in the same metro area will not fly between the two airports, but instead drive.
- When OAK plays SF, I do not count that as mileage flown, because it is highly unlikely that they are flying SFO-OAK.
- This counts for New York, Chicago, Los Angeles (excluding San Diego), the Bay Area, and Baltimore-Washington.
- Conversely, teams playing in close metro areas will still fly between them
- A team that plays in LA and then San Diego will fly between the two, even if teams in the past have used other forms of transport (bus, train, whatever).
- This includes Philly to Baltimore/Washington, Boston to New York, basically all the close cities within the east coast where historically teams have had numerous transport options besides airplanes.
Now, the reason I make these assumptions are 1) to preserve the integrity of the data to maintain an apples to apples comparison and 2) I ain’t got time to figure out what team is going to wear Cam Newton Vaudeville hats and take the train from NY-Philly. If you do have the time and want to figure it out for every team next year, I’d suggest you find another hobby1
This year, unlike previous years, only one team will fail to fly more than the circumference of the Earth (24,901 miles) and that’s the Detroit Tigers, the least traveled team of 2018. The Tigers will only log 24,273 miles this season, which only looks like this:
The Tigers being in that spot is a bit surprising, as that spot had been held by NL Central teams for the past two years given their geographic proximity to one another coupled with better geography for long road trips to each coast.
There are less surprises on the top end of the spectrum, as the AL West continues to dominate, largely hurt by the Rangers and Astros being within the division but halfway across the country. With the Mariners winning the distance competition in 2016 and the A’s in 2017, the title continued its way down I-5 into Anaheim, where the Los Angeles Angels will launch their 46,485 mile campaign this year. What does that involve? Well, it looks something like this:
The biggest changes in the past year? Well, winning the World Series did the Houston Astros no good, as they’re flying 7,177 more miles this year than they did last season. The Philadelphia Phillies, on the other hand, are getting a bit more rest with 6,295 fewer miles to fly this season.
Another big surprise is the Tampa Bay Rays, who are crossing the 40,000 mile mark this season. This is even with a double dip on the west coast, saving them extra mileage. However, once you see their map, you see how geographically isolated the Rays really are.
Have I bored you with enough maps? Here’s the raw data, including the 2016 and 2017 mileages for comparison purposes. Enjoy!
|Team||2018 Mileage||2017 Mileage||Difference||2016 mileage||2018 vs 2016|
|Los Angeles Angels||46485||46346||139||44847||1638|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||39436||37060||2376||40832||-1396|
|New York Yankees||28457||28359||98||39346||-10889|
|New York Mets||27966||32311||-4345||26997||969|
|Chicago White Sox||26787||28336||-1549||26891||-104|