While it may have been a past ambition of yours to be a professional athlete, have comfort in knowing that their lifestyle is not always what it's cracked up to be. Professional athletes spend a significant amount of time away from their friends and families on the road, in and out of airports and hotels. And apparently, many athletes don't always enjoy the city they're playing in either. So what are some of the least favorite road trips for professional athletes?
National Hockey League
For hockey players, there were five cities that were pretty much unanimous league wide as the least favorite city to play in. Hint: they're all cold, most of them are in Canada and have historically had less than stellar teams. Not only did players not enjoy visiting these cities but many have expressed no interest in signing for these teams as a free agent. Many may be surprised that Toronto, Ontario made the list but NHL players hate the media circus that comes with playing a road game in Toronto. Toronto is the largest hockey market in North America.
5. Toronto, Ontario. Home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
4. Ottawa, Ontario. Home of the Ottawa Senators.
3. Buffalo, New York. Home of the Buffalo Sabres.
2. Winnipeg, Manitoba. Home of the Winnipeg Jets.
1. Edmonton, Alberta. Home of the Edmonton Oilers.
Similar to the NHL players who share a similar season and game schedule as NBA players, NBA players don't seem to enjoy cold weather cities too much. Memphis isn't exactly a cold weather city but it's not exactly a popular tourist destination either (for obvious reasons). NBA players also seem to be more zealous about nightlife in other cities than players of other leagues. These five cities aren't exactly known for their thriving nightlife, either. And who could blame Lebron James for leaving Cleveland for Miami several years ago?
5. Memphis, Tennessee. Home of the Memphis Grizzlies.
4. Salt Lake City, Utah. Home of the Utah Jazz.
3. Indianapolis, Indiana. Home of the Indiana Pacers.
2. Cleveland, Ohio. Home of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
1. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Home of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Major League Baseball
I found it interesting that Major League Baseball players considered New York one of their least favorite destinations for a game when playing the New York Mets (according to a Sports Illustrated poll) but one of their favorite destinations when playing the New York Yankees. Maybe they don't enjoy driving through the neighborhoods of "mob-owned" junkyards and auto body shops outside of Citi Field? Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs apparently hates playing in Cincinnati but Cincinnati didn't make the list.
The cities that Major League Baseball players love playing in the most was overwhelmingly Chicago followed by San Diego and Seattle.
5. Flushing, Queens (New York City). Home of the New York Mets.
4. Cleveland, Ohio. Home of the Cleveland Indians.
3. Washington, DC. Home of the Washington Nationals.
2. Detroit, Michigan. Home of the Detroit Tigers.
1. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Home of the Milwaukee Brewers.
National Football League
NFL players don't get time to enjoy road trips the way players of other professional leagues do. NFL players will typically arrive to a new city on Saturday and will have film, a team dinner and other meetings virtually up until bed time. So their least favorite NFL cities translates to the NFL cities that they would least likely to play in. As one would expect, Green Bay, Wisconsin appeared on the list with it's sleepy nightlife and freezing weather. Of course, Buffalo would make the list; do you remember what Willis McGahee said when he left the Buffalo Bills? Contract amount, franchise success, state taxes and local weather are the biggest factors when free agents decide to sign with a new NFL team.
5. Green Bay, Wisconsin. Home of the Green Bay Packers.
4. Jacksonville, Florida. Home of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
3. Buffalo, New York. Home of the Buffalo Bills.
2. Cleveland, Ohio. Home of the Cleveland Browns.
1. Oakland, California. Home of the Oakland Raiders.
In summary, Cleveland is by far the most dreaded city for visiting professional athletes as it appeared on three of our four lists by each league. Who knows? Maybe NHL players would dread Cleveland if the city still had an NHL team? Many readers probably anticipated Detroit as a dreaded destination for professional athletes but it only appeared on the MLB list. As an avid traveler of stadiums and arenas around the country, let me tell you that every city with a professional sports franchise has something worth seeing in person; and you only need a day or two to see it all.
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