HOUSTON -- The annual rite of passage widely known as "Truck Day" was welcomed in by the World Series champion Astros on Tuesday, the first step toward a new Spring Training season that begins in earnest next week.Several staffers, led by equipment and clubhouse manager Carl Schneider, spent the morning
HOUSTON -- The annual rite of passage widely known as "Truck Day" was welcomed in by the World Series champion Astros on Tuesday, the first step toward a new Spring Training season that begins in earnest next week.
Several staffers, led by equipment and clubhouse manager Carl Schneider, spent the morning loading an 18-wheeler with a variety of gear that includes a wide gamut of Spring Training necessities, such as batting helmets, caps, balls, bats and uniforms.
The truck will arrive to the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Thursday after an approximate 1,117-mile trip.
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"The whole operation moves from here to there," Schneider said. "You can pretty much start from top to bottom -- hats, jerseys, pants, all the way down."
Among the items loaded on the trucks on Tuesday were treadmills/elliptical machines, 30 pounds of rosin, 150 batting helmets and belts, 200 cases of sunflower seeds, 250 jerseys, 300 caps, 1,000 pairs of baseball pants, 2,000 pounds of laundry detergent and 8,400 baseballs.
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Amid the hustle and bustle of Truck Day was Orbit, the Astros' lovable green space alien, who dropped by with a to-load list of his own. Items included moon pies, abnormally large floaties, silly string, the World Series trophy and Josh Reddick's infamous stars-and-stripes speedo that he wore during especially celebratory moments in 2017 (of which there were many).
Presumably, Astros players who live in Houston during the offseason are a little less high-maintenance than Orbit. In terms of personal items they load on the truck, they limit it to mostly just luggage, a luxury that enables them to not have to check bags when they fly to Florida to begin their Spring Training excursion.
The Astros will open this Spring Training season as first-time World Series champions, besting the Dodgers last year in a thrilling seven-game series. The first Grapefruit League game of '18 will take place on Feb. 23 against the Nationals, with whom they share a facility in West Palm.
The first Spring Training workout for Astros pitchers and catchers will be on Feb. 14, while the first full-squad workout will be on Feb. 19.
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.