So the Pelicans have arrived in Wilmington. No, not North Carolina. They’re in the Wilmington in Delaware. You know, just south of Philadelphia.
Myrtle Beach to Wilmington happens to be the longest bus trip in the Carolina League. Well good thing the Pelicans only had to drive from Winston-Salem, cutting the trip down to a measly seven hours, or about the amount of time it takes to watch Titanic (complete with Rose not make enough room on the floating board for Jack) two and a half times.
Anyway, the team rolled into its hotel just before 7am this morning, well past bedtime. Sure, most of the team hit the hay as soon as they got to their rooms, but everybody caught at least a little shuteye during the trip — each with his own method to the madness. There’s always the conventional “sleep sitting up” routine. If that’s not your style you can always use my technique, called the “curl up into a ball and lay across your two seats.”
But what if chair sleeping isn’t something you’re up for? Well, do I have the solution for you. It’s common practice on a baseball bus that players will lay down in the aisles in order to both A) sleep laying down and B) stretch out. This, however, can tend to be a little uncomfortable anyway (the ground is hard and sometimes hot) and dirty (it is the floor).
A few Pelicans had solutions to the aforementioned floor problems last night. Outfielder Josh Richmond stopped by the Family Dollar next to the Winston-Salem hotel and picked up a mattress pad. Not a bed at the Ritz, but it’s certainly better than the floor’s linoleum. Christian Villanueva went one step further and purchased a blanked, an idea only bested by strength coach Ryan McNeal’s use of a brand name Snuggie.
Side Note: Brett Nicholas had a queen size air mattress with him too. It was delivered to him with the rest of his stuff from his old teammates in Hickory, which is an hour or so from Winston-Salem. The idea of inflating the mattress and putting it on top of the bus seats was discussed, but discarded.
Now as ingenious at mattress pads and blankets may seem, that’s just too conventional for a handful of Pelicans. There was a trio that took traveling in comfort to a whole new level. Of course, by the way, they would be members of @CrawdadsBullpen.
Pelicans relievers Ben Henry, Joe Van Meter and Jimmy Reyes spent the night on the ground…on pool floaties. Yes…you know the things that you lay out on to tan or relax while at the pool. They used those.
“Mine actually popped,” Henry said. “I don’t know if it popped actually, but it just deflated. I still slept like a champ though.”
The idea actually dates back to last season in Low-A. While anticipating the long ride home from Lakewood (NJ) and Delmarva (MD), the pitchers and Luke Jackson (who’s still in Hickory) went to Dicks and sought out camping gear. Understandably, it wasn’t the cheapest stuff in the world — $40 for some comfort. But the $3 floatie on the next stand over….now that’s a bargain.
“For $3 if it provides any kind of comfort…” Henry said, comparing the ‘bed’ to an air mattress.
The move also opens up the chairs for one person to use four seats. With one guy on the ground and asleep on his floatie, the guy who sits across from him can lay out across the aisle for added comfort.
“Like a bunk bed,” Reyes said.
As to what happens if the guy on top falls…
“It’s a Pelicans sandwich,” Reyes replied.