BALTIMORE — One of the many slogans used by Delta Airlines over the years must sound like a taunt to the Yankees.
“Delta Gets You There.”
Well, some of the time, anyway.
For the third time in the last year, issues with their Delta charter disrupted the travel plans of the club.
The latest occurred Sunday night when mechanical issues with the aircraft, which was parked at LaGuardia, forced the team to take a bus to Baltimore. The Yankees departed from the Stadium on the bus and never went to LaGuardia, arriving at their hotel around 10:30 p.m. Sunday night, about 2 ½ hours after they were supposed to get there. Those on the bus actually beat some members of the staff who took the train down, including manager Aaron Boone.
In all, Boone said before the Yankees started a three-game series against the Orioles, no big deal.
“Not as bad as last year,” he said with a laugh.
Last May, twice during a three-city trip that started in Washington, the Yankees experienced similar inconveniences.
The first came on May 16 when their Delta flight was supposed to take off for Kansas City from Dulles International Airport around 10 p.m. after a game against the Nationals was postponed because of rain.
The team’s traveling party of about 60 got to the airport a little after 9 that night and what general manager Brian Cashman described as “a perfect storm” resulted in them staying there overnight.
There was an engine problem and subsequent difficulty locating parts. Then, the combination of storms in the area — which had caused the postponement — and aviation industry regulations that limit the hours a given airplane crew can work in a shift became an issue.
With area hotels at or near capacity that night, unable to fit a traveling party that size, everyone in it slept either on the plane or in an airport lounge area near the gate.
“It was a little bit different but there’s nothing you can do,” Aaron Judge said a day later. “You just have to roll with it. You can’t get mad about it or get angry because that doesn’t make the circumstances any better.”
On that same road trip the Yankees’ May 23 flight out of Dallas had to return to the airport because of engine trouble.
After a delay of nearly six hours, the club eventually took off on its Delta charter from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport around 5:30 a.m. Eastern time, landing some three hours later.
“I think the bus ride was another one of those bonding experiences that guys have as players,” Boone said of the Sunday night mishap. “It was fun talking to even some of the veteran guys today about how much fun they had just spending time with each other, hearkening back to some minor league days. And we all still got in at a decent hour, so it wasn’t something that crushed us where we were getting in in the middle of the night. To the guys’ credit, I think they had a little bit of fun with it.”
And if the trip had started in Kansas City, the next leg of this trip, instead of Baltimore?
“That would not have been a fun bus ride,” Boone said with a smile.