When the Dodgers took two out of four games from the St. Louis Cardinals on Sept. 14-16, Scott Akasaki’s life got a lot easier.
For the Dodgers’ director of team travel, it meant one less potential all-nighter during the last week of the regular season.
“Yesterday brought clarity,” Akasaki said Tuesday afternoon, a day after the Milwaukee Brewers were eliminated from wild-card contention. “You eliminate one of the options. Having done this before, I knew if it came down to it, I could stay up one night and just bang out everything.”
If the Cincinnati Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals, tonight’s the night.
Like the night before an big exam, count on Akasaki staring into a computer until the wee hours of the morning, e-mailing folks at United Airlines, a hotel in Atlanta (the Dodgers’ home during a potential wild-card game Friday), and a truck company to carry all the team’s equipment, to name just a few.
It’s not easy, but it’s not new for Akasaki, who has had to prepare for three different Dodgers postseasons since he took the job.
“The other three were good exercises,” he said. “I think the first year when we played the Mets (in 2006) we were the wild card. That was a little different. We weren’t exactly sure what we were going to do. I want to say it came down to the second to last day, so I had at least 24 hours to prepare to fly to New York and all of that.”
This year, Akasaki said he began e-mailing the necessary companies in each of six different cities in early September. That’s how many different cities were still possible hosts for a wild-card game at the time.
Now it’s down to one — Atlanta. Because the Dodgers clinched the season series against the Cardinals with a 6-5 head-to-head record, St. Louis would have to travel to Los Angeles for a potential play-in game on Thursday.
Akasaki said his job is easier because the Cardinals and Dodgers use the same hotel. “They know somebody’s coming” to Atlanta, he said.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the new wild-card format would have Akasaki, and every team’s travel director, at his wits’ end by now.
Actually, he likes it.
“You want to be in the playoffs,” he said. “You’re not in this to dodge work.”