Unpacking at the Park

So that whole part about turning in for the night? Don’t tell that to Wally. His night has only just begun. We last saw him unloading equipment at the airport in Atlanta, but we just traded text messages with him and he’s headed over to Turner Field to start setting up for Monday.

We meet up with him as the Cardinals are departing after their late game. It looks like they have a similar bus-side security procedure as we did in Washington. Once their two buses pull out, our moving truck backs in and it’s time to unload.

John Holland, Atlanta’s Visiting Clubhouse Manager, and his staff help unload bags, boxes and crates of various sizes. Wally already has a handful of washers going in the laundry room, and has placed temporary name placards above each of the lockers in the clubhouse. Our first reaction upon entering the clubhouse? We sure miss the comforts of home.

But Wally and the Braves do a great job of getting everything ready. They unpack each player’s individual bag, hanging caps, socks, belts, pants and warm-up tops in each locker. They unpack all of their shoes, give them a quick shine, and neatly align them in the locker. It quickly becomes very clear why everyone puts a name, number, or both, on every piece of equipment, especially the shoes.

In the visitor’s clubhouse, the coaching staff has its own separate “wing” away from the players, while the manager has his own office as well. There’s a kitchen fully stocked with snacks and candy, and even a freezer full of ice cream. There’s a larger training room with soaking tubs and padded tables for taping ankles.

In a little over an hour, the clubhouse is fully set-up, ready for the guys to come in on Monday and take on the Braves. One of the Braves clubhouse guys kindly gives us a lift back to the team hotel, and as it approaches 2 a.m., our bed is sounding mighty appealing.

 Tomorrow we switch gears and follow one of the voices of the Nationals, radio play-by-play man Dave Jageler. We’re told he’s a gym rat when he’s on the road, and a morning work-out is a must, especially given the facilities at our hotel in Atlanta. So wish us luck, and check back on Monday for more Notes from NatsTown (from Atlanta).

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