Amtrak To Carry Baseball's Cardinals To Next Game

The St. Louis Cardinals will do something Thursday night they haven't done in 40 years — travel to an away game by train. The team will board an Amtrak train in Washington and travel to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies in a three-game series. Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak offers reasons for the train trip.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

For Major League Baseball players, long commutes are very common. Every season, teams log tens of thousands of travel miles shuttling from one-away game to the next and back home. They mainly stick to charter flights or the occasional bus. But tomorrow, to go to Philadelphia to play the Phillies, from Washington, D.C., where they're playing the Nationals, The St. Louis Cardinals will catch a train.

And joining us by phone from St. Louis is Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak. How unusual is it for the Cardinals to travel by train?

Mr. JOHN MOZELIAK (General Manager, St. Louis Cardinals): Well, it's the first time in, I believe, probably over 40 years, so it's very unusual for us. But it was something that we looked into, and it seemed to make a lot of sense. Plus, it ends up shaving a significant amount of time off our travel.

SIEGEL: Do you have your own special car, or might an ordinary Amtrak passenger rub shoulders with Albert Pujols on the…

Mr. MOZELIAK: I would think that they will give us three privatized cars. I doubt there'll be any intermingling, but there's surely going to be other cars on the train.

SIEGEL: You know, for the Northeast Corridor, for Amtrak, this is - since Joe Biden stopped commuting from Delaware to the Senate, this is, I think, the biggest event they've had in terms of passengers on the train.

Mr. MOZELIAK: Well, I think some other teams have used it. So we're definitely looking forward to see it, and hopefully it all go smoothly.

SIEGEL: Have you heard any reaction from the players about taking the train from Washington to Philadelphia?

Mr. MOZELIAK: Well, a lot of guys were hoping we would do it. You know, after I looked at the financials, I decided to sign off on it.

SIEGEL: Forty years ago - I mean, where were they on the train 40 years ago, by the way?

Mr. MOZELIAK: '50s, I think they used trains. And then '60s was probably when they went almost exclusively to planes, but it still wouldn't have surprised me if they were doing, you know, a train between Philly and New York or something.

SIEGEL: Yeah, my historical marker is that, I think, Jackie Jensen of the Boston Red Sox was afraid of flying, and he could still play. He could go by train all over the country. It was going to the West Coast that really ruined train travel for baseball.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. MOZELIAK: Well, I sit with Red Schoendienst. This is a hall-of-famer, and he tells me many stories when there was only train travel.

SIEGEL: Red Schoendienst, great St. Louis infielder. A lot of card playing on the train, I should think?

Mr. MOZELIAK: I would imagine, yes. And he even referenced that the food was great if you could afford it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: This was also in the days when baseball players sometimes couldn't afford everything.

Mr. MOZELIAK: Exactly.

SIEGEL: Well, good luck to you on the train. It should be quite an event at Union Station in Washington, D.C., when the Cardinals arrive, and I hope they enjoy the trip.

Mr. MOZELIAK: Well, thank you.

SIEGEL: That's John Mozeliak who is the general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals who tomorrow will be traveling, for the first time in decades, by train.

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