Planning the perfect cross-country training-camp trip
Posted: Monday June 12, 2006 11:21AM; Updated: Monday June 12, 2006 2:24PM
Packers training camp is one of several places you can meet NFL players this summer.
Peter King will answer your questions each week in Monday Morning Quarterback: Tuesday Edition.
I've always thought that one of the few things baseball had over football was its 162-game schedule. Last week, a long-awaited King Brothers trip to Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, Fort Wayne (Midwest League game) and Cleveland proved it.
Four interesting points: 1) Food and drink in Detroit is, well, interesting. You can get sushi in premium seating at Comerica Park. You can also buy 25-ounce oil cans of Labatt's. 2) You simply have to take the architecture tour of Chicago by boat when you're in town. 3) Did you know it costs $77 to fill the tank of the land-yacht Ford Expedition? 4) You cannot meet nicer guys in sports than DaveRoberts and Lou Merloni. We met Roberts on the field in Milwaukee before Pads-Brewers and he spent 15 minutes regaling us with the story of the The Stolen Base (ALCS, 2004, Red Sox down three games to none and down one run in the ninth inning of Game 4 when Roberts steals a bag off Mariano Rivera, beginning the comeback).
A good time, of course, was had by all. Which led me to think: Why can't you take a similar summer trip in the NFL?
You can. And here it is. It would be nice a Father's Day gift for the old man in your life. A nine-day tour of NFL training camps, just when the football mood starts to stir. No charge, by the way, for my travel-planning services.
Because most teams have not set exact practice times and schedules, you'll have to check individual team Web sites for them as the trip approaches. And you'd better enjoy driving on this trip, or at least tolerate it. You've got 1,831 miles of American road ahead of you.
Saturday, July 29, transportation day.
Before the trip begins, you have one homework assignment: Go to a bookstore and buy these three books.
1. Paper Lion by George Plimpton. It'll get you in the training-camp mood. Great story of the late Plimpton's summer tour of duty in Lions camp 42 years ago.
2. Next Man Up: A Year Behind the Lines in Today's NFL by John Feinstein. Good insider information about how a football team really works. Feinstein followed the Ravens for a season and really got on the inside.
3. Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero by David Maraniss. Hey, I've got a thing for Pittsburgh and Roberto Clemente. I haven't finished this yet, but what I've read so far is really good.
Meet at the airport of convenience by late morning and fly to Newark or LaGuardia. Bond. Talk without the TV on. Read. It's fun. You'll see. Rent a car. (Get a good rate, definitely with unlimited mileage. You will be returning the car to Cleveland.) Drive 145 miles north and check in at the Peter King hotel of choice near the SUNY Albany campus: the TownePlace Suites by Marriott. Get some sleep. You've got a hot day in the sun ahead.