Traveling team

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In professional team sports, a traveling team (also called a road team) is a member of a professional league that never competes in its home arena or stadium. This differs from a barnstorming team as a barnstorming team competes in exhibition games and not within a league or association framework as a traveling team does. While leagues may designate a traveling team prior to the start of competition, some teams become road teams by simply not scheduling any home games.

While the use of traveling teams has been sparing on the upper levels of professional sports in recent times, the National Football League had such road teams (such as the Hammond Pros, Oorang Indians, and Columbus Panhandles) in the formative years of the league. Recently, such teams have been almost invariably associated with minor leagues.

Traveling teams in major professional American football[edit]

Below is a list of the traveling teams that were members of the National Football League, the first American Football League, or the second American Football League. No other major professional league of American football had such road teams, the last of which was the 1952 Dallas Texans of the National Football League. To qualify for the list, the team must have played a complete season of at least four games on the road. Teams that had the traveling team status imposed upon them in midseason are noted.[1]

There have been no NFL traveling teams since 1952, owing to the increased stability of the league. Even in cases when an NFL team's home stadium has been rendered unusable due to damages or renovations, the teams have arranged and designated temporary home stadiums in each case and no NFL team has had to play more than two designated home games (out of eight in a season) outside their home stadium.

In the Canadian Football League, the Las Vegas Posse were converted to a road team near the end of the 1994 season, their sole season in the league because of low attendance.[8]

Traveling teams in baseball[edit]

Traveling teams have existed at many times in baseball history, even into the 21st century. Traveling teams are periodically used by independent baseball leagues to maintain an even number of teams for scheduling purposes. Examples include the Road Warriors of the Atlantic League, the Frontier Greys of the Frontier League, and The Grays of the Can-Am League.

In 1994, after a roof collapse occurred at the Kingdome, Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners were forced to play the remainder of the season on the road after the players' union rejected a number of proposed temporary homes. However, the season was cut short due to a player's strike, which resulted in the Mariners playing only 20 games as a road team.

How home-field advantage is administered to a traveling team in baseball varies by league. In the case of the Atlantic League, the Road Warriors never received home-field advantage in any game. In Major League Baseball, a team is guaranteed "designated home team" status for half of its scheduled games. Home-field advantage is particularly important in baseball, as the designated home team always bats second.

References[edit]

  1. ^ David S. Neft, Richard S. Cohen, and Rick Korch, The Football Encyclopedia: The Complete Year-By-Year History of Professional Football From 1892 to the Present (St. Martin's Press 1994) ISBN 0-312-11435-4
  2. ^ Race and Sport: The Struggle for Equality on and off the Field ISBN 1-57806-897-5
  3. ^ Last Team Standing: How the Steelers and the Eagles – "The Steagles" – Saved Pro Football During World War II ISBN 0-306-81472-2
  4. ^ Los Angeles Football Story from nfl.com
  5. ^ Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football ISBN 0-19-511913-4
  6. ^ Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League ISBN 0-06-039232-0
  7. ^ The Landry Legend: Grace Under Pressure ISBN 0-8499-0728-4
  8. ^ Las Vegas loses CFL team. New York Times. October 22, 1994.