Mehring Monday 8/31: Get on the Bus

A bus doesn't get any more real than the movies.

By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | August 31, 2009 12:45 PM ET

Time is winding down on the 2009 season and so is the time that I will be spending on the bus

Time is winding down on the 2009 season and so is the time that I will be spending on the bus.  After tonight's trip home from Kane County , there is just a short three-day trip to Beloit and that's it until 2010 - unless, I feel like buying a ticket on Greyhound and seeing the USA that way.  Odds are very slim on that.

I know that I've already written about the glories of bus travel last season.  How about bus travel by sports teams in the movies and how real those depictions are?

Here are the three sports movies I immediately think of with bus travel as a key component.  My thoughts on the relative believability on each follow:

Bull Durham .  I'll just point out that I have been on a bus where someone pulls out a guitar and begins to play it.  You can't have Brad Holman as a pitching coach for four years and not have that happen.  Crash pulling the guitar out of Nuke's hands to show him how to play and to pontificate on what life in "The Show" is like is something that many of us dream of doing.  That or smashing the guitar on the floor of the bus well back from the driver.  Either one works.

It has early morning leave times for road trips and early morning arrivals back home.  It also has the bus stopping at a diner, but the players don't get off the bus.  Instead, sack lunches are thrown through open windows to the players by diner employees.

If a bus stops for five minutes 20 minutes into a trip, every player, coach, and staff member will find away to get off the bus to stretch the legs a little bit.  Plus, we have never pulled in to a hotel at the same time as the " Holiday on Ice" bus.

Believability factor: 79%


Major League.  After the evil owner takes away their propeller-driven, death-trap of an airplane, the Cleveland Indians travel by bus.  The fact that the player's union let her get away with this stretches credulity.  So, too, does the dramatic license of manager Lou Brown having a seat at the back of the bus.  These alone put this reality into the same world as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

But, it has traveling through the night and a catcher stretched out over the seats icing an injury.  Back in 2001, Mark Carroll was an All-Star catcher for the Timber Rattlers and he was in the seat behind me.  His foot was out in the aisle with an ice pack on it to try to take the swelling of a sprained ankle down.

Also, on just about every team I've been with, the manager or head coach has had a conversation with a player regarding decisions during a bus ride.  Just like when Lou has the discussion with Ricky Vaughn about why Harris is getting the start in the playoff game against the Yankees.  It's just that the player is asked to come up to the manager's the front of the bus!  (Side note: This bugs me.  Can you tell? Why does this bug me?  I really don't know!)

Believability factor: 22%


Slap Shot.  The bus driver at the beginning of the movie is just this quiet guy.  By the time the Charleston Chiefs are in full-blown goon mode, he is wearing a German Army helmet from World War II and hitting the cargo doors of the bus with a sledgehammer.  The reason, "I'm making it look mean!"

Then, there is the scene when the Chiefs pull into the arena and the opposing fans are there with there "GO HOME CHIEFS!" signs.

That doesn't happen.  Neither does the way in which the Chiefs respond.

But, it has card playing, book reading, and betting on the arrival time to the next city.  That isn't so prominent with the baseball buses on which I've traveled.  But, the hockey buses, you bet.  It must be something to do with ice.

Believability factor: 45%


Need More Mehring? Try the Rattler Radio Blog

Previous Mehring Mondays:

5/11: Bucket List

5/26: It's A Fantasy

6/1: Sweep

6/8: Painful

6/15: Walk Off

7/6: Ryan Franklin, All Star

7/27: Appleton's Other Hall of Famers

8/3: First Impressions

8/10: Toasty

8/17: It Hasn't Happened...Yet!

8/24: True Story

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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