How to Travel To and From the Big Club Like a Big Leaguer

Adam Stern's May yo-yo ride between Nashville and Milwaukee continued today, as the Brewers called up the 30-year-old Canadian for the third time in as many weeks.  If you find yourself wondering about who is paying for all his plane tickets while he's pulling down over two grand each day on the active roster, the Collective Bargaining Agreement has your answer.

The first three paragraphs of Article VII, Section A deal with such mundane things as travel from city to city (no buses over 200 miles one way!), travel home after the season, and travel to spring training (the club pays it all).   It should be obvious, but the trend continues when it comes to paying for the plane tickets of newly called up players.  However, as you can see, players like Stern who are sent to minor league affiliates get a nice little bonus.

ARTICLE VII—Expenses and Expense Allowances

A. Transportation and Travel Expenses

Each Club shall pay the following expenses of Players:

(4) In the case of assignment of a Player’s contract during the championship season or during spring training, all traveling expenses, including first-class jet air fare and meals en route, of the Player as may be necessary to enable him to report to the assignee Club. The Club shall also reimburse the Player for all travel expenses, including first-class jet air fare and meals en route, for the Player’s wife for one assignment during the championship season. Such expenses may not be claimed by the Player as part of his moving expenses under Article VIII(C), unless not paid under this provision. A Club may offset such expenses against any moving allowance provided pursuant to Article VIII(A).

So, while Stern has become familiar with General Mitchell International Airport and Nashville International Airport (aside: what is the largest American city without an international airport?), he has at least flown first class both ways.  Not only that, but his wife could come along one time on the company dime.  Alas, Stern is not yet married.  Personally, I find it charming that paying for your wife to travel can not be called a "moving expense."  Your mileage may vary.

But what if the worst case scenario happens and he is released by the club?  Even if he blows all his money drowning his sorrows, he's still in luck, because paragraph five of the same section says:

(5) In the case of termination by the Club of a Player’s contract during the championship season or during spring training, reasonable traveling expenses, including first-class jet air fare and meals en route, to the Player’s home city.

It must be comforting to know that no matter what happens, he's always got a way back to London.  If, while in Ontario, he joined the Canadian Army Reserve and had to attend training during the summer months, he would also be covered:

(6) In the event a Player is required to attend a regularly scheduled military encampment of the Reserve of the Armed Forces or of the National Guard during the championship season or during spring training, the Player’s air fare to and from the encampment.

I can't help but wonder how long it has been since that particular paragraph was applied to any player's travel.

I realize it is no surprise the club pays for all club-related travel by a player.  However, I am always surprised by just what is laid out in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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