Riding to Nebraska in Style

Blog Note – Although shortened by the winter storm, the Royals Caravan trip to Nebraska got off and running Tuesday morning, heading straight to York, Neb., for a visit at York Middle School. Community Relations Director Ben Aken offers these comments on the first day of activities. You can read about the Royals Caravan on the home page of royals.com. MLB.com writer **** Kaegel will also continue to report on caravan activities throughout the month.

Sometimes a four-and-a-half hour bus ride is nothing to write home about. However, when that four-and-a-half hour ride is spent on a bus like what we are riding on, it becomes a lot more fun.

White_caravan_busAfter the weather held us back a day, we had some time to make up on our Nebraska Caravan trip, which meant driving straight from Kauffman Stadium to York, Neb., Tuesday morning. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time on our bus. So, I thought I’d give you a peek inside our luxurious ride.

Stepping on the bus, we immediately are greeted by our bus driver, Cole, a guy who is earning his keep with some amazing maneuvering in and out of these small neighborhoods and communities we are making him take us to. Next to Cole is a passenger seat, which works well when it’s time to give directions. The bus then opens up into what I like to call our “living room,” equipped with leather couches that are perfect for lounging on to watch movies or a show on the bus’ satellite TV. Yesterday, we took in several episodes of “The Office” as well as the latest “King Kong” movie.

The kitchenette is next and includes a table area where we all gathered yesterday evening to listen to Royals Hall of Fame second baseman Frank White tell stories of the 1977 Royals, who finished first in the division with a 102-60 record. White, an eight-time Gold Glove winner, also joked about how he was robbed of winning Gold Glove No. 9 in 1988. (That year, White had only four errors – all throwing errors to four different first basemen – but still lost the Gold Glove to Harold Reynolds, who finished with 18 errors that season!)

Past the kitchenette is the bathroom – no comment there – and then six bunks, which have been heavily used throughout these caravans already. Royals broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre claimed one immediately and we’ve discovered that mascot Sluggerrr can often be found taking his catnaps in another.

More leather couches line back of the bus with another TV mounted in the corner.Braun_caravan_bus Players such as pitcher Ryan Braun watch TV, chat on their cell phones or relax with a handheld Nintendo DS game back there. It has become the unofficial “quiet area” on the bus.

All in all, I’d have to say this bus is definitely a home on the road and 2006 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Alex Gordon agreed when he popped on the bus for the first time Wednesday morning, adding, “And it’s a big improvement from last year!”

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